Last week, Pope Francis, while in a meeting with over 40 parents of LGBTQ+ children, announced a heartwarming sentiment.
“God loves your children as they are” and “the church loves your children as they are because they are children of God.”
The parents are members of Tenda di Gionata (“Jonathan’s Tent”), a Christian organization that advocates for LGBTQ+ people.
According to the Tenda di Gionata vice president, Mara Grassi, “Our association aims to foster dialogue between the church and the families of L.G.B.T. [people].” Grassi is also a parent of an openly-gay son.
According to her account, Tenda di Gionata is a very important organization because it provides parents and families of LGBTQ+ individuals a platform to connect. She states that “for many years I was like a blind person.
“After I came to know that my son was homosexual, I suffered a lot because the rules of the church made me think that he was excluded from the love of God. Nobody helped me.”
Grassi changed her views when she met other devout Christians with LGBTQ+ children. One reverend, Paolo Cugini, told her that ‘faith and homosexuality’ are not mutually exclusive.
Speaking to an Italian newspaper, she reported that “We consider ourselves fortunate because we had to change the way that we had always looked at our children. We found a new way of looking that enabled us to see in them the beauty and love of God.”
In her exchange with Pope Francis, she talked about creating a bridge between the church and LGBTQ+ people. In this way, “the church too can change its way of looking at our children, no longer excluding them but fully welcoming them.”
According to Grassi, Pope Francis replied, “The church does not exclude them because she loves them deeply.”
However, Pope Francis’ past views on the LGBTQ+ community are a bit up and down. Today, he is completely for the inclusion of LGBTQ+ individuals in the church. In 2013, though, he asserted the right way ‘to treat homosexuals’ is through ‘mercy, not condemnation’.
Last year, he asked parents to get their children checked by ‘a professional’ if they show signs of homosexuality. On both counts, he seems to suggest homosexuality is a condition, not an identity.