Pope Francis to parents with LGBTQ children: “The Church loves your children just as they are”
Article by Luciano Moia published in Avvenire, newspaper of the Italian Episcopal Conference, on 17 September 2020, p.19
“The Pope loves your children just as they are because they are children of God”. This is what Pope Francis said yesterday while welcoming a group of parents with LGBT children from the Italian association, Tenda di Gionata, at the end of his weekly audience. There were about forty fathers and mothers present at the Papal Audience.
The vice president of the association, Mara Grassi, together with her husband, Agostino Usai, presented the Pope with the booklet Genitori Fortunati which summarizes the often challenging ecclesial experiences of families with LGBTQ children as well as some letters containing petitions, hopes and remonstrations of persons who were considered undesirable by ecclesial communities for long enough.
“Our association – Mara Grassi told the Pope – wants to create and encourage dialogue between the Church and families with LGBT children.
Taking my cue from the title of the booklet we presented to the Pope, I explained how lucky we consider ourselves to be because we have been compelled to change the way we have always seen our children. We have adopted a fresh look that has enabled us to see in them the beauty and love of God.
The vice president of the Italian association and member of the Italian LGBTQ parent groups Regina Pacis Parish Group in Reggio Emilia and Davide Group in Parma continued by saying, “We want to create a bridge with the Church so that it too may change its way of looking at our children by no longer excluding them but becoming more welcoming to them”.
Pope Francis’ response was both cordial and reassuring: “The Church does not exclude them because she loves them deeply”. The Pope was also given a rainbow-colored T-shirt with the biblical verse “There is no fear in love” (1 Jn, 4:18).
“He looked and smiled. A moment of profound harmony that we will never forget”, Mara Grassi, mother of four children including a gay son, concluded.
La Tenda di Gionata is an association founded at the request of Fr. David Esposito, a priest from the Italian region of Le Marche who died prematurely.