March 20th, 2013
06:04 PM ET
By Rafael Romo, Jose Manuel Rodriguez and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
Buenos Aires (CNN) - Less than an hour after he sent Catholic Church leaders in Argentina a letter in 2010 criticizing the way they were handling the debate over same-sex marriage, Marcelo Marquez says his phone rang.
He was surprised to hear the voice on the other end of the line. It was Jorge Mario Bergoglio, then the archbishop of Buenos Aires, and now the pope.
What Bergoglio said at a meeting they scheduled soon afterward was even more surprising, after months of public criticisms from church officials of a push to legalize same-sex marriage in the South American country.
"He told me. ... 'I'm in favor of gay rights and in any case, I also favor civil unions for homosexuals, but I believe that Argentina is not yet ready for a gay marriage law,'" said Marquez, a gay rights activist, a self-described devout Catholic and a former theology professor at a Catholic seminary.
As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio was one of the leaders of the Catholic Church's public charge against legalizing same-sex marriage in Argentina. He engaged in a notorious war of words with the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, which supported the measure.FULL STORY
March 15th, 2013
11:50 AM ET
(CNN) - Pope Francis is being painted as a humble and simple man, but his past is tinged with controversy surrounding topics as sensitive as gay marriage and political atrocities.
Questions linger about Francis' actions during the nation's dark days: the so-called Dirty War, when Argentina was ruled by dictators. The gay marriage issue came to the forefront during Francis' political fight with Argentina's president.
The conservative pontiff may hold firm on some issues, experts say, but he may be flexible on others.
"If you think that (Francis) isn't going to change anything, you're wrong," said Gustavo Girard, a retired doctor who knew Francis during his early years in the priesthood. "But is he going to approve of gay marriage tomorrow? No."FULL STORY
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.