Pope Francis recalled that he gave as an example the case of “three elderly retired women who need to share health services, inheritance, housing, etc. I wanted to say that it seemed like an interesting formula to me.”

The Holy Father related that after these words “some went to tell Benedict that I was saying heresies and what do I know. He listened to them and with great high-mindedness, helped them distinguish things... he told them: ‘This is not a heresy.’ How he defended me!... He always defended me.”

What did Pope Francis say about marriage in 2021?
On Sept. 15, 2021, during the press conference on the flight back to Rome from Hungary and Slovakia, the Holy Father was asked about the European Parliament resolution asking member countries to recognize same-sex marriage.

“I have spoken clearly about this: Marriage is a sacrament. Marriage is a sacrament and the Church does not have the power to change the sacraments, as the Lord has instituted it,” Pope Francis replied.

“These are laws that try to help the situation of many people with different sexual orientations, and it is important that these people be helped but without imposing things that, by their nature, are not appropriate in the Church,” he added.

“But if they want to lead a life together as a homosexual couple, the states have the possibility of supporting them civilly, of giving them inheritance and health security. The French have a law on this matter not only for homosexuals but for all people who must associate,” the pontiff added.

Benedict XVI and homosexual unions
In June 2003, when he was prefect of the Congregation — today the Dicastery — for the Doctrine of the Faith, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, published the document “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons.”

In its conclusion, the text states: “The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions.”

“Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behavior, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself,” the document explains.

As pope, Benedict XVI defended on more than one occasion the importance of the family based on marriage between a man and a woman.

In a January 2007 address to the Roman Rota, Benedict XVI said: “Every marriage is, of course, the result of the free consent of the man and the woman, but in practice, their freedom expresses the natural capacity inherent in their masculinity and femininity.”

“The union takes place by virtue of the very plan of God who created them male and female and gives them the power to unite for ever those natural and complementary dimensions of their persons,” the pontiff explained.--CNA