Pope Francis - Photo from presidencia.gov.ar

The Catholic Church must help parents stand by their gay children, Pope Francis said in a new interview about his papal ministry. The pontiff’s comments come a day after Francis urged top church officials to pay attention to the “signs of the times” and listen to ordinary Catholics, according to The Independent.

“We come across this reality all the time in the confessional: a father and a mother whose son or daughter is in that situation. This happened to me several times in Buenos Aires…. We have to find a way to help that father or that mother to stand by their son or daughter,” he said in a wide-ranging interview with the Argentine daily La Nación. While it is important to find ways to welcome gay Catholics, gay marriage is still not on the church’s agenda, Francis said.

The pontiff’s remarks were made as part of a larger reflection on the church’s recent Synod of Bishops, which discussed some of the most controversial issues around family life for Catholics. The October gathering revealed fractures in church opinion about adapting traditional teaching to accommodate modern attitudes, according to the BBC. While Francis made a powerful appeal to traditionalists, conservative cardinals prevailed and rejected proposals for wider acceptance of gay people.

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