Pope Francis recently met with groups of LGBTQ children and children with autism, and offered words of encouragement and acceptance to two marginalized communities within the Catholic Church.
The pope told both groups that God was accepting of them just as they are, statements that have drawn praise from many on social media.
“God created the world with a great variety of flowers of all different colors,” he told children with the Austrian group Sonnenschein at the Vatican on Monday, according to the Associated Press. “Each flower has its unique beauty. And each one of us is beautiful in the eyes of God, who loves us.”
Sonnenschein, which translates to Sunshine, is a clinic where children with autism can undergo therapy, Vatican News reported.
Days earlier, on Wednesday, Pope Francis met with a group of LGBTQ children and their parents and offered similar words of acceptance — a stance he has been known for since assuming his position in 2013.
“God loves your children as they are,” he told the group, which was part of an Italian LGBTQ Christian association called Tenda di Gionata, according to the Jesuit weekly America magazine.
He added: “The church loves your children as they are because they are children of God.”
He was also reportedly given a rainbow T-shirt that read, “In love there is no fear.”
His comments were praised on social media by many who appreciated his inclusiveness and willingness to speak out on such topics.
“2020 – I’m more into what the Pope is doing than political figures,” author Chris Brogan wrote on Twitter. “These must be the end times.”