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Pope Francis says parents should support gay children, not condemn them

Pope Francis’ Christmas blessing
Pope Francis delivers Christmas Day message of unity 02:01

Pope Francis had a progressive message Wednesday for parents: Support gay children.

In speaking about how parents should always stand by their children during difficult times, including illness or accidents, the pope said parents should also accompany "children with different sexual orientations." 

"Never condemn your children," he said.

The pope shared this message during his general audience address, during which he said "God does not promise us we will never have fear. But with his help, it will not be the criteria of our decisions." Prayer, he said, will bring light and peace, and he gave that advice to parents going through "sorrow."

While the LGBTQ community has long been marginalized in many religions, including Catholicism, Pope Francis has had more progressive views on same-sex relationships.

In 2020, he endorsed civil unions for the first time as pontiff while being interviewed for the documentary "Francesco." 

"Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God," Francis said in the film. "You can't kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered."

He also endorsed civil unions for gay couples as an alternative to same-sex marriages before he became pope, while serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires.

Earlier this month, he also showed support for Sister Jeannine Gramick, S.L, a nun who has advocated for LGBTQ people. In a letter first published in Christian publication, American Magazine, Pope Francis congratulated Gramick for "50 years of closeness, of compassion and of tenderness."

Gramick was met with resistance from the church for starting New Ways Ministry, which "educates and advocates for justice and equality" for LGBTQ Catholics. But the pope praised her "closeness, compassion and tenderness." 

The letter is one of several he has recently written to gay Catholics and advocates, according to American Magazine.

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