Pope Francis has today instructed Catholics to have respect for LGBT people, but reaffirmed that same-sex marriage is not in “God’s plan”.
In a major new document released today, titled The Joy Of Love, the Pope expressed his views on family life, marriage, contraception, and bringing up children.
The religious guidelines, which come in at over 200 pages, also detail the Catholic Church’s stance on same-sex marriage and the treatment of LGBT people.
It reads: “We would like before all else to reaffirm that every person, regardless of sexual orientation, ought to be respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration.
“We need to acknowledge the great variety of family situations that can offer a certain stability, but de facto or same-sex unions, for example, may not simply be equated with marriage. No union that is temporary or closed to the transmission of life can ensure the future of society.”
The document claims that those who “manifest a homosexual orientation” should be given assistance and guidance by the Church so they can “fully carry out God’s will in their lives”.
It continues: “As for proposals to place unions between homosexual persons on the same level as marriage, 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.
“It is unacceptable that local Churches should be subjected to pressure in this matter and that international bodies should make financial aid to poor countries dependent on the introduction of laws to establish ‘marriage’ between persons of the same sex.”
Despite often being lauded as a more liberal religious leader, it’s not the first time the Pope has spoken out against LGBT rights.
He previously referred to same-sex marriage as a “passing fad” and stated that the Catholic Church would not be “swayed” by it.