Pope Francis has asked parents this Wednesday not to condemn a child who has “a different sexual orientation”, but to accompany and support him. In a catechesis on Saint Joseph and fatherhood during the general audience that is held every week, the Pontiff reflected on “parents facing their children’s problems” and, among other assumptions, mentioned parents “who see different sexual orientations in children” and encouraged them to “accompany them and not hide in a condemnatory attitude.”
Francisco has always condemned the rejection of homosexual children in families and has addressed the issue on several occasions. In 2018, on the way back from Ireland, where he attended the World Meeting of Families, journalists asked him what he would say to the parents of a gay son, and he replied: “Ignoring the son or daughter with homosexual tendencies would be a lack of motherhood and fatherhood. You are my son or my daughter as you are”.
Catholic doctrine does not accept same-sex marriage and the Pope has reaffirmed it on numerous occasions, although he has been in favor of civil unions that can guarantee homosexual couples rights in terms of pensions and health care, or in inheritance issues. “They are brothers and sisters and we have to accompany them,” he declared on one occasion, but again ruled out any opening of the Church regarding marriage. Bergoglio has also sent thank-you notes to priests and nuns who serve gay Catholics, drawing reluctance from the more conservative wing of Catholicism.
Last year, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which deals with doctrinal questions, when asked by some bishops, reaffirmed that priests cannot bless same-sex unions. “It is not lawful to impart a blessing to relationships, or even stable couples, that imply sexual praxis outside of marriage (that is, outside of the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open, by itself, to the transmission of life ), as is the case of unions between people of the same sex. The presence in such relationships of positive elements, which in themselves are to be appreciated and valued, is still not capable of justifying them and making them a lawful object of an ecclesial blessing,” the congregation document read. This decision greatly disappointed gay Catholics.
In some parishes in countries like the United States and Germany, priests have rebelled and begun to bless same-sex unions instead of marriage, and have also called on bishops to institutionalize them. de facto.
Instead, the most conservative sector of the Church attacks the Pope alleging that he is giving contradictory signals about homosexuality and confusing some of the faithful.
Last month, the Vatican apologized to the LGBTI community for having removed, without explanation, from one of its web pages, dedicated to the preparation of the upcoming 2023 Synod on the future direction of the Church, the reference to an American association that calls for greater acceptance of homosexuals in the Catholic institution. Initial suspicions about the removal of the information from the website fell on the United States bishops’ conference, which is led by conservatives who have often railed against Pope Francis.
Bergoglio also spoke in his catechesis this Wednesday about parents who lose their children due to illness or traffic accidents and about those who suffer from their offspring’s school problems. “Let’s think about how to help them. And to these parents I say: ‘Don’t be scared. Yes, there is pain. Much. But think about how José solved the problems and ask José to help you. Never condemn a child”, the Pontiff pointed out.
And he also remembered when in Buenos Aires he passed in front of the prisons and saw the queues of people waiting to enter to visit the prisoners. “There were mothers there who gave me a lot of tenderness: faced with the problem of a son who has made a mistake, is in prison, they did not leave him alone, they showed their faces and accompanied him. This bravery; the courage of a father and a mother who accompany their children always, always”, commented the Pope.