Bishop David Zubik points out the pope's comments do not depart from the teachings of the Catholic Church.By Meghan Schiller

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pope Francis is now calling for a civil union law to protect same-sex couples.

His comments on Wednesday filled the headlines and sent shockwaves throughout the Catholic Church. KDKA’s Meghan Schiller talked with Bishop David Zubik about why he believes Pope Francis’ comments are being misinterpreted.

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“I think what some of the media is reporting is that somehow the pope is in favor of same-sex marriages, and that’s not at all what he’s saying,” Zubik said.

Bishop Zubik pointed out that the pope’s comments do not depart from the teachings of the Catholic Church.

“When he speaks about sex-same unions or civil unions, he’s speaking about it from the perspective of the medical benefits that people could be receiving,” said Bishop Zubik.

The pope made the headline-making comments in a full-length documentary that premiered Wednesday at the Rome Film Festival. He said “Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God.”

He continued saying “You can’t kick somebody out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.”

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Bishop Zubik told KDKA that there’s a difference between offering support to same-sex civil unions and endorsing same-sex marriage. Still, the pope’s comments excited LGBTQ+ organizations across the globe.

Photo Credit: KDKA

“He has the option and he has the opportunity to change the conversation and to move the church in a much more positive direction,” said Chris Pett of DignityUSA.

Pett said his organization is cautiously optimistic about the pope’s comments.

“We haven’t seen the full documentary, which we would like to see so we could see the context,” said Pett. “We haven’t heard if the Vatican has made its own statement to kind of rollback – sometimes he’ll say things and the Vatican will try to roll it back.”

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At this time, no comment yet from the Vatican. The full-length documentary with the pope’s full comments will be released in North America this Sunday.

Meghan Schiller