BOSTON (CBS/AP) – A day after Pope Francis endorsed same-sex civil unions, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley issued a statement, saying it is not a groundbreaking shift in church teaching. O’Malley said it is more in line with Pope Francis’s longtime views.

“Pope Francis strongly and consistently teaches that marriage is between a man and woman for a lifetime and that this is God’s plan for having and raising children,” O’Malley said in a statement released by the Archdiocese of Boston. “The Pope’s endorsement of civil unions is not an endorsement of homosexual activity.”

READ MORE: Qinxuan Pan, MIT Grad Student Wanted In Yale Murder, Arrested In Alabama

The pope’s comments came midway through a feature-length documentary, “Francesco,” that premiered Wednesday at the Rome Film Festival.

“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God,” Francis says in 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.”

READ MORE: Mayor Janey To Announce Decision On Boston Police Commissioner Dennis White's Future Friday

READ: Local Families Hopeful After Pope Francis Endorses Civil Unions

The Archdiocese of Boston is the fourth largest archdiocese in the U.S. with more than 1.8 million Catholics, according to its website.

MORE NEWS: Amherst, NH Lake House Destroyed By Reported Explosion

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)