Following the audience, the vice-president of the association Mara Grassi and her husband Agostino Usai, the eldest of whom is gay, gave the pontiff a booklet entitled “Lucky parents”.
It describes their experiences and includes letters making demands, but also communities protesting against the historic treatment of LGBTQ + communities.
Many parents who are members of Tenda di Gionata, – which translates to Jonathan’s tent, have said that their children have disguised their true identities or turned their backs on faith as a result.
In response, the Pope said: “The Church does not exclude them because she loves them deeply.
“God loves our children because they are all children of God. The Church loves our children as they are. ”
He also received a rainbow t-shirt with the slogan “In love, there is no fear”.
“He looked and smiled. It was a moment of deep harmony that we will not forget, ”Mara told the Milan daily Avvenire.
She added: “Our association wants to engage the Church and families with LGBT children.
“I explained that we consider ourselves lucky because we have been forced to change the way we always look at our children. What we have now is a new look that has allowed us to see in them with the beauty and love of God.
“We want to create a bridge with the church so that the church too can change its outlook towards our children, no longer excluding them but welcoming them fully.
“After learning that my son was gay, I suffered a lot because the church rules made me think he was excluded from God’s love. ”
The meeting marked a turning point for the group and showed the Pope’s willingness to act on a number of recent reports that make recommendations on how to make the Church more inclusive.
A member, Filippo M. di Spoleto, said: “In the painful journey that, as LGBT believers, each of us made a confession, I would not have imagined that we would have come to this point.
“Meeting the Holy Father means a lot. It is the recognition of pastoral activity that the ecclesial realities scattered over the territory have been carrying out for many years now. A church on the way that welcomes us and meets its pastor. ”
The meeting followed a public hearing in the Renaissance courtyard of San Damaso in the Vatican.