Many people opposed to the LGBTQ+ community will use Christianity as a reason for their opposition. But Pope Francis recently told a group of parents to LGBTQ+ youth that “God loves your children as they are” and “the church loves your children as they are because they are children of God,” according to American Magazine.
The group of parents, who are a part of a Christian group called Tenda di Gionata (or “Jonathan’s Tent”), met the pope in the courtyard of San Damaso at the Vatican. They are a support group for Christians who identify as LGBTQ+, offering up education and information for families and people who work in parishes.
As the group met the pope, they presented him with a pamphlet from their group with the title, “Fortunate Parents” on it. In the pamphlet, members of the group, parents specifically, discuss hardships they faced being seen as “undesirable” by people in church communities.
“We consider ourselves fortunate because we had to change the way that we had always looked at our children,” Mara Grassi told a local Italian newspaper, “We found a new way of looking that enabled us to see in them the beauty and love of God.”
Recounting the conversation she had with the pope, she told the newspaper that she told Pope Francis, “We wish to create a bridge to the church so that the church too can change its way of looking at our children, no longer excluding them but fully welcoming them.”
He reassured her, saying, “The church does not exclude them because she loves them deeply.”
Then Grassi explained to the pope that she is the mother of a son who left the church because he didn’t feel accepted. But because of him, she was able to view the community in a different light. She explained that the pope further comforted here and told her “God loves our children because they are all children of God.”
“The church loves our children as they are,” Pope Francis said.