Pope Francis leaves Assisi at the end of Francis’ Economy, an international movement of young economists. (Getty)
Pope Francis is said to have encouraged a Catholic LGBTQ+ group to build a church “that excludes no one”.
According The Avvenire, The Pope met with Italian Catholic LGBTQ+ group The Tent of Jonathon at a conference on Wednesday, September 21 to discuss the organization’s plan to build a hospitable church that would welcome LGBTQ+ people.
The group, founded in 2018, works with various religious organizations to provide “welcoming and supportive sanctuaries for LGBT people and anyone who experiences discrimination.”
In an effort to convince Pope Francis, members of the organization handed him a collection of letters from parents of LGBTQ+ children who have faced “isolation and distrust within the Christian community“.
After urging religious parents to “never condemn your children” in a Jan. 26 speech, adding that parents should “not hide behind an attitude of condemnation,” the lectures seemed to win him over as he said the organization to continue the construction of the church.
Despite upholding traditional church teachings that claim homosexuality is “inherently disordered,” the pontiff has been surprisingly open about bringing LGBTQ+ members into Catholic proceedings.
In 2013 he said, “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?
But there is still a long way to go for LGBTQ+ acceptance in the Vatican. During the same address, he condemned what was cryptically described as lobbying of the LGBTQ+ community.
“The problem is not having this orientation,” he said. “We must be brothers. The problem is lobbying by this orientation, or greedy lobbies, political lobbies, Masonic lobbies, so many lobbies. This is the worst problem.
Pope Francis has also repeatedly shut down any hope of same-sex marriage in the Catholic Church, most recently in 2021 when he said he “does not have the power to change the sacraments.”
“I spoke about it clearly, didn’t I? Marriage is a sacrament. Marriage is a sacrament. The church does not have the power to change the sacraments. It is as our Lord has established.
Excommunications for LGBTQ+ positive paraphernalia are still incredibly common in local Catholic communities. In June, a college was kicked out of the Catholic fold after authorities refused to remove Pride and Black Lives Matter flags from school grounds.
In a statement, Massachusetts Bishop Robert J. McManus, who chose to excommunicate the Worcester School of the Nativity, said, “I have publicly stated in an open letter…that ‘these symbols (flags ) embody specific agendas or ideologies (that) contradict Catholic society”. and moral teaching
“I believe the ‘Gay Pride’ flag represents support for gay marriage and actively living an LGBTQ+ lifestyle.”
In response, school president Thomas McKenney said the flags “represent inclusion and respect for all” and simply state “that all are welcome at the Nativity and that this value of inclusion is rooted in Catholic teaching”.