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Pope Francis on Wednesday called on parents around the world to not condemn children if they are gay.
Francis made the comments while speaking about the biblical figure Joseph during his weekly general audience. He addressed parents facing difficult situations in the lives of their children, such as kids who are sick, imprisoned or killed in car accidents.
But he also addressed parents "who see that their children have different sexual orientations, how they manage that and accompany their children and not hide behind a condemning attitude.”
“Never condemn a child,” he said.
Church teachings consider homosexual activity “intrinsically disordered,” though it calls for gay and lesbian people to be respected.
In 2013, Francis said he would not "judge" gay priests, telling reporters, “If someone is gay, and he searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?”
He has also called gay and transgender people children of God and endorsed civil unions.
"Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God," Francis said in an interview for the 2020 documentary “Francesco.” "You can't kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered."
But the Vatican said last year that the Catholic Church and its priests cannot bless same-sex unions because God “cannot bless sin.”
"There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family,” the Vatican’s orthodoxy office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said in a two-page statement that was approved by Francis.
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Pope Francis: Parents should 'never condemn' their gay children