In a joint statement, Pope Franciscus and Patriarch Kirill have strongly spoken out against ‘alternative cohabitation,’ which, according to the church leaders, is wrongly treated as equal to a marriage between a man and a woman.
This statement by the Pope and the Patriarch was signed on Cuba, during the first ever meeting of the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church and Russian Orthodox Church.
In the statement, the church leaders speak about the undermining of the family and marriage between a man and a woman in the Western world. According to Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, this is caused by the ideology of an aggressive kind of secularism, which also brings about adverse effects on the Freedom of Religion, eventually leading to the discrimination of Christians.
The church leaders regret that ‘alternative cohabitation’ is increasingly on equal footing with the marriage of a man and a women – a Biblical commitment and expression of the calling of men and women to have children and raise them, and the solidarity between generations.
The joint statement also mentions the historic meaning of the meeting in Havana, and the commitment of Rome's Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow to help break down the Great Schism (1054) between the catholic and orthodox world. They also mention the many refugees, increasing inequality, and the famine-stricken in the world, juxtaposed to the growth of consumerism in the Western World.
Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill argue for a Europe that is loyal to its Christian roots, and to have an eye for the prosecution of Christians in the Middle-East, as well as the war in Syria. The church leaders also address their fears concerning abortion and euthanasia, and regret the hostilities in the Ukraine. The fact that they do not mention the role the Russian Federation plays in this is understandable, but it has led to immediate criticism from the Orthodox Church in the Ukraine.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow is known for being a homophobic hard-liner. He openly supported the implementation of the Russian law against ‘gay propaganda,’ and praised the ban of the Moscow Pride, as, according to the Patriarch, the Pride displays ‘sexual offences in an intrusive way’. He calls same-sex marriage an ‘apocalyptic symptom’ and a ‘legal justification of sin’ that shows that ‘people have chosen the path of self-destruction’.