On Wednesday, January 26, Pope Francis sent a message to parents urging them to support their queer children. The statement came during his weekly general audience address as he spoke about the importance of standing by children during difficult times, whether it be because of illness, accidents, or even those struggling with “different sexual orientations”.
The message from the Pope was clear – “Never condemn your children”, and he also gave guidance on how to “not hide behind an attitude of condemnation”.
The head of the Catholic church continued by saying: “God does not promise us we will never have fear. But with his help, it will not be the criteria of our decision.”
LGBTQ+ folk have long been marginalised by religious groups, but Pope Francis has been seen to take a more progressive stance compared to others who previously occupied his position. In 2020, he endorsed civil unions saying: “Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God. You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this.”
In addition, he declared, “What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.”
The Vatican later backtracked on these statements, saying they were taken out of context. Further hurt was inflicted on the LGBTQ+ community in 2021 after the Vatican and Pope declared that the Catholic Church could not bless the “sin” that is same-sex unions.
Wednesday’s comments from the Pope surrounding queer children come just days after 125 Catholic employees, including priests, nuns, academics, musicians and more, collectively came out as LGBTQ+ in a defiant move against discrimination. The group, named ‘Out In Church’, want to be able to live and work openly within the church without prohibition from any fields of activity or occupation due to their sexual orientation.
While the Church teaches that queer people should be respected, it still emphasises that same-sex acts are sinful.
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