Pope Francis meets with 40 parents of LGBT+ children

In a historic meeting, parents presented Pope Francis with letters detailing how the Church's anti-LGBT+ teachings deeply impacted their families.


Pope Francis has met with 40 parents of LGBT+ children as they voiced their concerns to the Church’s discriminatory stance on the LGBT+ community. 

Members of the Italian Tenda di Gionata (Jonathan’s Tent), an outreach ministry for LGBT+ Christians and their families, met with Pope Francis on Wednesday, September 16. The vice president of the association and her husband presented the pontiff with a booklet called Lucky Parents, a collection of stories from the LGBT+ community and Catholic Church, which was translated into Spanish.

As reported in Avvenire, Vice President Mara Grassi shared, “Taking a cue from the title of the book we presented to him, I explained that we consider ourselves lucky because we have been forced to change the way we have always looked at our children. What we now have is a new gaze that has allowed us to see in them the beauty and love of God. We want to create a bridge with the Church.”

The group presented Pope Francis with letters from parents speaking about the challenging journey for their children to find self-acceptance under the Church’s anti-LGBT+ teachings. In one letter, Anna B. stated, “‘My son was wrong’, he could continue to be loved only if he suffocated his being himself and lived his cross in the silence of the whole family. It was kindly imposed. I could not accept it.”

Gianna L. wrote in another letter, “Caged in a faith marked by the fear of judgment, too often unable to open themselves to the embrace of mercy, many fathers and mothers, as emerged from their stories, have not been able for years to see in homosexual children the light of a diversity that also in the Church.”

“It must find full citizenship because it is a sign of the mystery and love of God,” Gianna further expressed. 

At the end of the meeting, the pontiff told the parents, “The Pope loves your children as they are, because they are children of God.”

While the Catholic Church’s longstanding anti-LGBT+ stance has deeply affected LGBT+ people of faith, the Pope’s meeting with Tenda di Gionata presents the beginning of a more open dialogue moving forward. Filippo M. said, “In the painful journey that, as LGBT+ believers, each of us has made a confession, I would not have imagined that we would have reached this stage.”

Fillippo continues, “Meeting the Holy Father in audience as “Jonathan’s Tent” means a lot. It is the recognition of the pastoral activity that the ecclesial realities scattered throughout the territory have been carrying out for many years now. A church on the way that welcomes us and meets its pastor.”

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