Pope Francis on Wednesday called on parents to accept their children if they are gay, not condemn them.
The Pope delivered the message during his general audience address, during which he said, "Never condemn a child."
He referenced "parents who see different sexual orientations in their children," calling on them "to deal with this and accompany their children and not hide in an attitude of condemnation."
"And to these parents I say: don't be scared. Yes, there is pain. A lot," Francis said. "But think of the Lord, think about how Joseph solved the problems, and ask Joseph to help you. Never condemn a child."
Official church teachings call for gay men and lesbians to be respected and loved, but the church considers LGBTQ sex and activity to be “intrinsically disordered.”
The Pope has sought to make the church more welcoming to LGBTQ people. In 2013, he said he would not judge gay priests, telling reporters, "If someone is gay, and he searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?"
He has also called gay and transgender people children of God and endorsed civil unions.
"Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God," the Pope said in an interview for the 2020 documentary "Francesco."
"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."
The Pope has weighed in on families in the past — in 2015 he chided couples who choose not to have children, saying the decision is a “selfish” act.
"A society with a greedy generation, that doesn’t want to surround itself with children, that considers them above all worrisome, a weight, a risk, is a depressed society," the Pope said. "The choice to not have children is selfish. Life rejuvenates and acquires energy when it multiplies: It is enriched, not impoverished."
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