LOS ANGELES - Pope Francis' endorsement of same-sex civil unions breaks away from the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, and it's sparking reaction across the globe.
The endorsement came in a new feature-length documentary called "Francesco." It premiered Wednesday at the Rome Film Festival.
“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God,” Francis said in one of his sit-down interviews for the film. “You can't kick someone 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.”
FOX 11 spoke with people who identify as Catholic and non-Catholic.
"I think it's actually pretty rad. It's nice to see that something as staunch as Catholicism can take a step forward. I'm not sure not everybody agrees with it but I would think if you're pretty forward-thinking as far as all people having their own agency then there's nothing wrong with it," said Jesse in Studio City.
"I think it's great. I think this Pope has actually demonstrated that he's a very forward-thinking individual and I think the bottom line is it's all about families and celebrating the diversity that the world has to offer," said Activate Arroyo, who was raised Catholic.
"I think it's great. It's about time because to me, it's about people. It's not about same-sex marriage to me. If two people are in love in this crazy world and they can make it work, I wish them well," said Linda Vanoff, who was raised Catholic.
Father Tom Rausch, a Catholic Theologian from Loyola Marymount University also spoke about the Pope's comments.
"He's already argued in the past that we should have recognition of civil unions as a way of recognizing the rights of gay people. I think Pope Francis is doing his best to both support the teaching of the church and also to reach out to gay people, especially those who have been abused by Clergy and I think we can talk about his own understanding growing and deepening," said Rausch.
Rausch said he believes the Pope is trying to "rethink" the principals of the Church.
"That sometimes has given a lot of people hope, certainly a lot more progressive people in the Church hope so I think he is trying to move the Church forward," he said.
Chris Cappiello from Dignity San Fernando Valley, an organization for LGBTQ Catholics and allies, believes it's a positive move.
"It's a sign of possible change. The Vatican works at a glacial pace on these issues and Francis is working against entrenched forces and interests within the Institutional Church. This to me is like Pope Francis has cracked open a window and let in some fresh air and it's always nice to breathe fresh air. We'll just have to see if that window gets opened wider which is our hope," said Cappiello.
While serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis endorsed civil unions for gay couples as an alternative to same-sex marriages. However, he had never come out publicly in favor of civil unions as pope.
The Pope's endorsement does not change Catholic Doctrine in any way that still contends marriage is between a man and a woman.
Catholic Church teaching holds that gays must be treated with dignity and respect but that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.” A 2003 document from the Vatican’s doctrine office stated that the church’s respect for gays “cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions.” That document was signed by the then prefect of the office, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI and Francis’ predecessor.