Pope Francis To Parents Of LGBTQ Kids: "God Loves Your Children As They Are"

Ever since he took on the responsibilities of the papacy, Pope Francis has sought to make the Roman Catholic Church more welcoming. And as early as 2013, this has involved attempts to smooth over judgments that some of his predecessors have made with regards to LGBTQ+ individuals.

For example, the BBC reported that Pope Benedict XVI signed a document declaring that men with "deep-rooted homosexual tendencies" should not be priests. By contrast, Pope Francis' stated position was, "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?"

And while addressing an advocacy group at the Vatican, the pontiff reaffirmed this position as it pertains to LGBTQ+ children.

On September 16, Pope Francis welcomed a group called Tenda di Gionata to the Vatican.

As People reported, this is a Christian association based in Italy that were represented by a group of LGBTQ+ children and their parents.

During their visit, the group's vice president, Mara Grassi, gave Pope Francis a book and a rainbow T-shirt that said, "In love there is no fear."

According to People, this book detailed the difficult experiences that parents of LGBTQ+ children face within the church and Grassi said that her mission was to create a "bridge" to circumstances where they feel fully welcomed.

To this, Pope Francis replied, "The church does not exclude them because she loves them deeply."

As People reported, he then addressed the group at large, saying, "God loves your children as they are. The church loves your children as they are because they are children of God."

Five days after this event, Pope Francis met with another group from an Austrian center known as Sonnenschein, or "sunshine."

As AP News reported, this is a clinic that offers therapy to children with autism.

As was the case for Tenda di Gionata, Sonnenschein was represented by a group of children as well as their parents and caregivers.

As Pope Francis told this group, the name reminded him of a sun-kissed field filled with flowers, which led him to say, "and the flowers of this house are you!"

According to AP News, he went on to say, "God created the world with a great variety of flowers of all different colors. Each flower has its unique beauty. And each one of us is beautiful in the eyes of God, who loves us."

h/t: People, AP News

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