Pope Francis sent a blessing to the author of a children's book that has been censored in Italy due to its same-sex themes.
Francesca Pardi, author of Piccolo Uovo or Little Egg, received a letter dated July 9 from the Vatican's secretariat of state. A blessing from Pope Francis was enclosed in the letter, according to Father Manuel Dorantes, assistant to the director of the Press Office of the Holy See.
“His holiness is grateful for the thoughtful gesture and for the feelings which it evoked, hoping for an always more fruitful activity in the service of young generations and the spread of genuine human and Christian values,” wrote Rev. Msgr. Peter B. Wells, according to The Guardian.
Piccolo Uovo traces the journey of an unhatched egg in search of a family. Along the way, it encounters different family structures, including two lesbian rabbits raising a family, a pair of gay penguins, a hippo who is a single parent and two kangaroos who have adopted polar bear cubs.
Pardi told the Guardian she was surprised to receive the letter, which came in response to a package of children’s books and a letter she sent to the pontiff in June. “It’s not that I think that he’s for gay families, because there’s the Catholic doctrine, but we mustn’t think that we don’t have rights," Pardi said.
Dorantes warned against reading too much into the pope's blessing, which he said was directed at Pardi and not at the same-sex themes included in her book.
"In no way does the reply letter from the Secretary of State intends to endorse behaviors and teachings not in keeping with the Gospel," Dorantes said in an email to The Huffington Post. "The blessing of the Pope in the enclosed letter was directed towards the person and not to any teachings not in keeping with the Church's teaching on gender theory, which is not in the least changed."
Catholic catechism, or teaching, states that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered" and that "homosexual persons are called to chastity." The pontiff has demonstrated a willingness to engage with LGBT individuals, however, and at last year's synod of bishops supported the church's adoption of a more welcoming attitude toward the LGBT community.
As a cardinal in 2010, he descried same-sex marriage, saying: "At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God."
Pope Francis reiterated this sentiment in an address in June when he said, “Children mature seeing their father and mother [happy]. Their identity matures being confronted with the love their father and mother have."
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