Pope Francis: God 'Does Not Disown' LGBTQ+ People

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday May 10, 2022

Pope Francis
Pope Francis  (Source:AP/Alessandra Tarantino)

Pope Francis sounded a note of love and compassion in a letter to Fr. James Martin, a Catholic priest who advocates for ministry to LGBTQ+ people, writing that God "does not disown any of his children," according to the National Catholic Reporter.

"Francis' letter, dated May 8, answered three questions posed to the pope by Martin," the NCR detailed. His comment that "God is Father and he does not disown any of his children" was in answer to one of those queries: "What would you say is the most important thing for LGBT people to know about God?"

"On 5 May Father Martin had written to the Pope in Spanish asking him to answer some questions that he is most commonly asked by LGBT Catholics and their families," Vatican News detailed.

"He received a hand-written response a couple of days afterward, that was published in the form of a short interview on Father Martin's website 'Outreach.'"

Fr. Martin also asked Pope Francis, "What would you like LGBT people to know about the church?"

Pope Francis answered: "I would like for them to read the book of the Acts of the Apostles. There they will find the image of the living church."

In his third question, Fr. Martin asked, "What do you say to an LGBT Catholic who has experienced rejection from the church?"

To that, Francis replied: "I would have them recognize it not as 'the rejection of the church,' but instead of 'people in the church.'"

"A 'selective' church," Francis went on to write, "is not Holy Mother Church, but rather a sect."

Francis' depiction of God as a Father "who does not disown his children" echos comments he made earlier this year, in which he urged parents with LGBTQ+ children to "Never condemn your children," and instead asking them to support their offspring rather than retreating from them "behind an attitude of condemnation."

Vatican News noted that Francis' written comments to Fr. Martin also follow a missive to the priest last July when the pope, commenting on Fr. Martin's ministry to LGBTQ+ people, wrote to him. "Thinking about your pastoral work, I see that you continually try to imitate this style of God. You are a priest for everyone, as God is Father of everyone," he said.

"I pray for you that you may continue in this way, being close, compassionate and full tenderness," Francis added.

Fr. Martin, his work, and the criticisms that conservative Catholics have leveled at him are the subjects of a documentary titled "Building a Bridge."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.