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Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church, has now called on parents to refrain from condemning their children for being gay.

Pope Francis asked parents not to condemn their children if they are gay on Wednesday. The LGBTQ population has long been ostracized by the Catholic hierarchy.

Francis made an impromptu remark during his weekly Wednesday general audience, which was dedicated to the figure of St. Joseph, Jesus’ father. Francis stated that he was particularly thinking of parents who are dealing with “sad” conditions in their children’s life.

Citing parents who have to cope with children who are sick, imprisoned or who get killed in car accidents, Francis added: “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.”

Never condemn a child,” he said.

Official church teaching calls for gay men and lesbians to be respected and loved, but considers homosexual activity “intrinsically disordered.” Francis, though, has sought to make the church more welcoming to gays, most famously with his 2013 comment “Who am I to judge?”

The Argentine Jesuit also has spoken of his own ministry to gay and transgender people, insisting they are children of God, loved by God and deserving of accompaniment by the church.Francis has also made a number of outreach gestures to the homosexual Catholic community and its advocates, including a recent letter honoring Sister Jeannine Gramick, an American nun who was formerly sanctioned by the Vatican, on her 50 years of LGBTQ ministry.

Francis did, however, authorise the publication of a Vatican declaration in 2021 saying that the Catholic Church will not bless same-sex partnerships because God “cannot bless sin.” The Vatican official widely suspected of being behind the document was recently reassigned by Pope Francis.

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