Pope Francis said Wednesday that the parents of queer children should support them instead of rejecting them.
"Never condemn them," he said.
The leader of the Roman Catholic Church made the remarks at his weekly audience. It was in reference to challenges parents often face when raising their children, Reuters reports.
Those difficulties included "parents who see different sexual orientations in their children and how to handle this, how to accompany their children, and not hide behind an attitude of condemnation," Francis said.
In 2020, the pope said that LGB people have the right to be accepted by their families.
And while Francis has been more progressive in his stances on LGBTQ+ rights, last year, the Vatican issued a statement barring Catholic priests from blessing same-sex unions, something that has disappointed queer Catholics. Some clergy members have started blessing unions instead of marriage.
The Catholic Church is home to more than 1.3 billion members around the world. Its conservative members have said the pope continues to give mixed messages on homosexuality.
"By reaffirming parental support and love are essential for the well-being of LGBTQ youth, Pope Francis is sending a direct message to parents that will hopefully protect LGBTQ young people whose families are forced to turn them away or hide who they are," GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. "This is another step towards the Catholic Church reaffirming the dignity of LGBTQ people and standing against those who seek to harm LGBTQ Catholics around the world."
In December, a Vatican department apologized for "causing pain to the entire LGBTQ community" when it removed a link to a Catholic LGBTQ+ rights advocacy group in preparation for a Vatican meeting scheduled for 2023 on the church's future direction.
Earlier this month, Francis celebrated U.S. nun Jeannine Gramick thanking her for her five decades of advocacy and ministry to LGBTQ+ Catholics. "Thank you, Sister Jeannine, for all your closeness, compassion, and tenderness," he wrote.
Gramick told The Washington Post the letter "felt like a turning point in the church, because for so long, this ministry has been maligned and in the shadows."