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Pope: God loves homosexuals "as they are"

Pope Francis is considered to be relatively liberal, but is very volatile when it comes to dealing with homosexuals (Image: Long Thiên / Flickr)

Pope Francis is said to have made positive comments about gays and lesbians in an audience with parents of homosexual children on Wednesday. According to Mara Grassi from the parents' organization "La Tenda di Gionata", at the end of the audience with fathers and mothers, the 83-year-old said that God and the Catholic Church love homosexual children "as they are". The reason is that homosexuals are also "children of God". There are no sound recordings of this conversation.

Grassi presented the Pope with a rainbow-colored T-shirt on which the Bible quote "In love there is no fear" was printed. She told the newspaper "Avvenire", which is controlled by the Italian Bishops' Conference: "I told the Pope that we are lucky because we were forced to look at our children differently." She now see "the beauty and love of God" in her homosexual offspring. She wants to build a bridge to the church so that it no longer excludes non-heterosexual believers.

Since taking office in the spring of 2013, the pontiff has expressed different opinions about his attitudes towards sexual and gender minorities. When it came to fundamental questions, he was often generous - once he even said that homosexuality is not a sin. But when specific things like church or state marriages of gays and lesbians were addressed, he often gave the uncompromising hardliner.

It was only at the beginning of this year that Francis is said to have affirmed before American bishops that homosexuals should in principle have no right to marry. He also warned of the "danger of gender ideology" (queer.de reported). He had previously dismissed homosexuality as a fad or stated that homosexuals cannot form families in principle. (dk)