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Pope Francis has shot down any possibility of same-sex marriage in Catholic churches during his latest public appearance.

According to a report from AP News, the pope told reporters that gay marriage will not be accepted in the church this past Wednesday (17 September).

“I have spoken clearly about this, no? Marriage is a sacrament. The church doesn’t have the power to change sacraments. It’s as our Lord established,” he said.

“[There are] laws that try to help the situation for many people of different sexual orientations. It is important that this helps people but without imposing things that by nature do not function in the church.”

He went on to say that even though the church doesn’t support same-sex marriage, that does not give people the right to condemn the LGBTQ+ community.

“Marriage is marriage, but this does not mean condemning (homosexual people )… no, please, these are our brothers and sisters and we need to be close to them but marriage as a sacrament is clear,” he continued.

Although the pontiff has recently expressed solidarity with the queer community, his acceptance has constantly fluctuated over the years.

In 2018, Francis came under fire after shooting down the idea of LGBTQ+ people within the clergy, stating: “The issue of homosexuality is a very serious issue that must be adequately discerned from the beginning with the candidates.”

However, the following year the pontiff requested to meet with Rev. James Martin to have an open discussion about LGBTQ+ Catholics. Martin described the meeting as “consoling, inspiring and encouraging.”

The religious figure also made headlines in 2020, when he told parents that their LGBTQ+ children were loved by God and the church.

“God loves your children as they are,” he reportedly said. “The church loves your children as they are because they are the children of God.”

Even though the pope has shown acceptance towards queer people, the Vatican as a whole has steadily pushed back against the LGBTQ+ community.

Back in March, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declared that the Catholic Church would not bless same-sex unions.

The Vatican ruled that Catholic priests couldn’t bless same-sex unions due to homosexual partnerships not being “ordered to the Creator’s plan.”

Since the declaration was released, activists and some religious officials have expressed disappointment in the decision.