Pope Tells Parents 'God Loves' LGBTQ Kids 'as They Are' and Describes Children With Autism as 'Flowers' | 22 Words

There's no denying it, Pope Francis has been doing his best to make the Catholic Church a more welcoming place since he was appointed back in 2013 and recently, he told parents some things that others have described as very "controversial."

Catholicism is a very popular religion worldwide.

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It is estimated that around 1.2 billion people follow the religion all around the world.

And who is in charge of the Catholic Church?

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The Pope, of course!

He is the worldwide leader of the religion...

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The Pope is also known as the supreme pontiff, and he is the official Bishop of Rome.

The Pope is a very important figure.

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The earliest record of a Pope figure dates back to the 11th Century.

There has been a total of 266 popes...

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So being elected as the Pope is a pretty big deal.

Pope Francis is the current standing Pope...

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And he is the first-ever Jesuit Pope - a member of the Society of Jesus.

Francis has been in power for many years now...

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He began working as a Catholic Priest in 1969, when he became the archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998 and was made a cardinal in 2001 by Pope John Paul II, but it wasn't until 2013 that he was elected as the Pope.

He is also a very well respected man...

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Throughout his public life, Pope Francis has been celebrated for his humility, emphasis on God's mercy, international visibility as pope, concern for the poor, and commitment to interfaith dialogue.

This means that members of the Catholic Church are often left starstruck when they meet Pope Francis.

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He regularly interacts with the public and members of the church and many of his followers are able to talk to him and receive words of wisdom and advice.

But recently, he's given some advice that has been deemed as "controversial" by the masses.

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This week, the Pope has been meeting with 2 marginalized groups within Catholicism; the LGBTQ+ community and children with autism to offer them some words of encouragement.

But his advice gained a very mixed reaction...

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On Monday, Pope Francis told autistic children that they were "flowers" when they came to visit him.

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The Austrian group, Sonnenschein, brought some children to the Vatican and they had the pleasure of meeting the great man himself and he offered them some kind words so they could be comfortable with who they were.

He said this:

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“God created the world with a great variety of flowers of all different colors," he told them. "Each flower has its unique beauty. And each one of us is beautiful in the eyes of God, who loves us."

And just days earlier, he had also met a group of children from the LGBTQ+ community.

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He understood that their Catholic parents that also attended might be having a difficult time accepting who their children are so he reiterated the stance he's always had since he was appointed in the prestigious role back in 2013.

He told them this:

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"God loves your children as they are. The church loves your children as they are because they are children of God." He said he wanted to create a "bridge" between the church and the community.

“The church does not exclude them because she loves them deeply."

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He was also reportedly given a rainbow T-shirt that read, "In love, there is no fear." Can we love this man any more than we already do?

Religion should be first and foremost about love, compassion, and acceptance.

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It's a community where people can feel like they belong without being fearful of ridicule for who they are. Keep scrolling for more heartwarming stories...