Pope Francis Tells Parents Not to 'Condemn' Gay Children in Unexpected Remarks

During his weekly Wednesday general audience address, Pope Francis told parents of gay children not to condemn them but to support them.

"Never condemn a child," the pope said in off-the-cuff remarks during his weekly general audience on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press, which reported that the move was the latest outreach gesture from the Catholic church to the LGBTQ community.

"Parents who see that their children have different sexual orientations, how they manage that and accompany their children and not hide behind a condemning attitude," Pope Francis was quoted by the AP.

The official teaching from the Catholic church calls for gay people to be respected and loved; however, it considers homosexual activity "intrinsically disordered," according to the AP.

Francis has made moves during his papacy to welcome members of the LGBTQ community to the church. Recently, he congratulated an American nun, Sister Jeannine Gramick, on 50 years of her LGBTQ ministry, which was previously condemned by the Vatican, the AP added.

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"Never condemn a child," Pope Francis said in off-the-cuff remarks aimed at parents of children with different sexual orientations during his weekly general audience on Wednesday. Above, Pope Francis holds his homily during his weekly audience at the Paul VI Hall on January 26 in the Vatican City. Franco Origlia/Getty Images

In 2021, the Vatican's doctrinal office issued a document saying Catholic priests were not allowed to bless same-sex marriage unions; however, Francis said it can support civil union laws to give gay partners joint rights in terms of health care, inheritance issues and pensions, according to New Delhi Television (NDTV).

Conservatives in the Catholic church, which counts 1.3 billion members in total, believe the pope is giving mixed messages on homosexuality and is confusing those who are faithful, NDTV added.

In 2021, Pope Francis allowed publication of a Vatican document stating that the church would not bless same-sex unions because God "cannot bless sin," according to the AP. The Vatican official believed to have written the document was later transferred by Francis.