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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis tells parents not to reject children because of sexual orientation

Pope Francis continued his series of catechesis on St. Joseph, reflecting on how Jesus' foster-father approached decision-making.

He said that St. Joseph was not driven by fear, but tried to recognize the voice of God in every situation to confront problems.

"God does not promise us that we will never be afraid but that, with his help, fear will not make our decisions for us. Joseph is afraid, but God guides him through fear."

The Pope advised parents who are experiencing difficulties, like St. Joseph, to not let themselves be lead by fear, especially when caring for children with serious illnesses or if a child shows a different sexual orientation.

"Parents can see different sexual orientations in their children and know how to handle this, to accompany their children and not hide behind condemnations."

At the end of the audience, the Pope recalled that International Holocaust Remembrance Day is observed this week.

He also asked for prayers for the situation in Ukraine. Just days before, he asked Catholics worldwide to pray for peace in the region.

"Let us ask the Lord with insistence that this land may see fraternity flourish, overcome wounds, fears and divisions."

Pope Francis then explained that he would not be able to personally greet some pilgrims because of a knee problem. 

"And I would like to tell you that today I won't be able to pass among you all to greet you, because I have a problem with my right leg. I have an inflamed ligament in my knee. But I will come down and greet you. And you will come up and say hello. It's something that passes. They say this only happens to old people, so I don't know why it's happening to me but...I don't know."

That's why the Pope ended the General Audience by leaving the Paul VI Audience Hall rather than coming down the stairs, so that pilgrims could line up to come and greet the Pope.