Pope Francis to Parents: Accept Your Gay Kids

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday January 26, 2022

Pope Francis arrives to attend his weekly general audience in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022
Pope Francis arrives to attend his weekly general audience in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022  (Source:AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Pope Francis offered some advice to parents with gay children: Show them support; not condemnation.

The papal advice was part of a larger commentary in which Francis "told parents in attendance at his weekly Wednesday audience that they should have patience when it comes to dealing with their kids, telling them, 'Never condemn your children,'" the Daily Beast reported.

His words regarding LGBTQ+ children were couched among examples of difficult parenting situations, such as when illness or injury affect children.

But when it came to LGBTQ+ youth in particular, Francis "offered special prayers of support," the Daily Beast article said, with regard to "parents who see different sexual orientations in their children and how to handle this, how to accompany their children, and not hide behind an attitude of condemnation."

The comments fall in line with remarks Francis has made before, noted Reuters, recalling that the Pope has "previously said that gays have a right to be accepted by their families as children and siblings."

Last September, Francis told a group of Italian parents with LGBTQ+ children that "God loves your children as they are," the Jesuit publication America Magazine reported at the time.

The parents belonged to an Italian support group for LGBTQ+ Christians called Jonathan's Tent. Francis assured them that the Catholic church, too, "loves your children as they are because they are children of God."

The remarks virtually repeated similar comments Francis made in August, 2018, when he told members of the press that "parents of gay children shouldn't condemn them, ignore their orientation or throw them out of the house. Rather, he said they should pray, talk and try to understand," according to Bloomberg.

More broadly, the Pope's words have both given hope to, and disappointed, LGBTQ+ Catholics over the years. Not long after he assumed the papacy in March of 2013, he uttered what might be his most famous words on the subject of sexual and gender minorities: "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?"

Though Francis has upheld the church's view that marriage should be a special right reserved for mixed-gender couples, he has also said that civil unions should be provided to gay and lesbian families, Reuters noted, so that same-sex couples have "joint rights in areas of pensions and health care and inheritance issues."

Francis has also specifically said that LGBTQ+ people, like everyone else, "have a right to a family."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.