He’s shown himself to be a forward-thinking leader and Pope Francis recently expressed his encouragement and acceptance of two more marginalised groups in society.
Addressing a group of parents with LGBTQ children, the head of the Catholic Church assured them that God loves them “just as they are”.
“God loves your children as they are because they are children of God,” he told the group which was part of an Italian LGBTQ Christian organisation called Tenda di Gionata, according to the Jesuit weekly America magazine.
Mara Grassi, the group’s vice president, said she gave the pope a book about the often difficult experiences parents of LGBTQ children face within the church, saying she hoped to build a “bridge” to make them feel fully welcome.
He was also reportedly given a rainbow T-shirt that read, “In love there is no fear”.
In another visit with a group of children living with autism, he told them they were like “unique flowers” God loves wholeheartedly.
Many on social media were quick to praise his actions.
“2020 – I’m more into what the Pope is doing than political figures,” author Chris Brogan Tweeted. “These must be the end times.”
becoming the head of the church in 2013, Pope Francis has worked at making it
more welcoming and has said sexual orientation means nothing when it comes to
being a good Catholic.
“If a person is gay and seeks God and has goodwill, who am I to judge?” he said, according to the BBC. “We must be brothers.”
At the time the Gay Catholic Voice Ireland group said his comments marked the first time gay people had been accepted as a recognisable part of the Catholic Church community.
“This is a significant development from previous papal announcements, which have usually referred to a ‘homosexual condition’ rather than a group of people within the church who are gay,” the group reportedly said, according to The Irish Times.
Sources: bbc, people.com, Irish Times