BUENOS AIRES, March 21, 2013 ( – Miguel Woites, a confidant of Pope Francis while he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, is denying a widely publicized claim that the then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio suggested the endorsement of gay civil unions as an alternative to “homosexual marriage” during a private meeting with fellow bishops in 2010.

In an interview granted to the Catholic news agency ACI Prensa, Woites said that the story “isn't true. It's a complete error.”

The principle source of the claim, Bergoglio biographer Sergio Rubín, “never said who told him, when they told him,” said Woites. “It's not correct to write something like that out of thin air. That (New York Times) article was very criticized by the bishops. He certainly would have referred to unions of convenience but not that anything be legalized.”


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Woites, who is the director of the Argentinean Catholic Information Agency (ACIA), has regularly conferred with the bishops of Argentina, including Bergoglio while he was still archbishop, ACI Prensa reports.

Woites's statements contradict a New York Times article published yesterday stating, “Faced with the near certain passage of the gay marriage bill, Cardinal Bergoglio offered the civil union compromise as the 'lesser of two evils,' said Sergio Rubin, his authorized biographer. 'He wagered on a position of greater dialogue with society.'”

Rubin's words carry some weight, because he is the one of the two individuals who co-authored the only authorized biography of the current pope, entitled The Jesuit, published by Ediciones B in 2010. The biography was based on conversations with Bergoglio.

The claim has been seconded by homosexual activist Marcelo Marquez, who told the Times that Bergoglio “told me that homosexuals need to have recognized rights and that he supported civil unions, but not same-sex marriage.”