Pope continues Lenten retreat away from Vatican business
Cardinal says pontiff has asked for investigation of gay unions10 March, 15:07
That meant the pope was also away as reports arrived from an interview Sunday by American Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who said Francis wants the Catholic Church to study same-sex unions.
The pope wants Church leaders to look into these unions "and see the reasons that have driven them," Dolan said on NBC television program Meet The Press broadcast on Sunday.
Dolan suggested that some may have misinterpreted the pope's words in an interview last week with Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera as Francis expressing outright support from gay unions.
"(Pope Francis) didn't come right out and say he was for them. Once again, in an extraordinarily sincere, open, nuanced way, he said, 'I know that some people in some states have chosen this. We need to think about that and look into it and see the reasons that have driven them'," said Dolan.
Since his election one year ago, Francis has ruffled the feathers of some conservative Catholics by refusing to condemn members of certain groups the Church has long considered sinful - including homosexuals.
For example, last year Francis said of gay people: "If a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge".
But in 2010, before he became pope, he described a government-supported law to legalize marriage and adoption by same-sex couples in Argentina as "a war against God" and "a maneuver by the devil".