Pope Francis has reportedly praised a gay children’s book that was recently banned in schools by the mayor of Venice.
Francesca Pardi’s Piccolo Uovo (Little Egg) features gay and lesbian animals and families. The book was among 49 titles to be banned in schools by Mayor Luigi Brugnaro, prompting a backlash from residents, Italian authors and even Sir Elton John, who told his Instagram followers that "beautiful Venice is indeed sinking, but not as fast as the boorishly bigoted Brugnaro”.
The backlash led to the list of 49 banned backs being reduced to just two; Pardi's Piccolo Uovo and Ophélie Texier’s Jean a deux mamans (Jean Has Two Mummies).
Its author had sent Francis a collection of books from her publisher, a number of which contained gay themes, along with a letter describing the criticism she had received from parish leaders over the books. "We have respect for Catholics," she wrote. "A lot of Catholics give back the same respect, why can’t we have the whole hierarchy of the church behind us?”
In pictures: 'The many popes of Pope Francis'
In pictures: 'The many popes of Pope Francis'
1/12 The Pro-Gay Pope
In just a year, Pope Francis has managed to change the public perception of the Catholic Church, and the stance it takes on civil issues, like gay rights. Despite originally protesting the legalisation of gay marriage in his native Argentina some years ago, he told reporters this year: “If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?”
2/12 The Rebel Pope
No other Pope has urged a shake-up of the Catholic Church quite like Pope Francis, a true rebel of the dioceses. Who, incidentally, used to be a night club bouncer.
3/12 The Graffiti Pope
Pope Francis become... SUPER POPE in this Vatican-approved street art. But was he happy with the reference to the fictional DC comic character?"To depict the pope as a sort of superman, a sort of star, seems offensive to me. The pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps tranquilly and has friends like everyone else, a normal person," he said. So, that's a no, then.
4/12 The Biker Pope
Yes, the Pope used to own a Harley Davidson. And yes, he auctioned it off this year and donated the proceeds to a charity that feeds the hungry in Rome. Very Papal.
5/12 The ‘Blue’ Pope
Dropping the 'F' bomb during Sunday service? Classic Pope Francis. Sadly, down to a Spanish-speaking slip of the Italian language rather than pure bad-assery.
6/12 The ‘Because I’m Worth It’ Pope
That awkward moment when your Papal hat blows off, forcing your barnet into Sesame Street-like spikes. Pope Francis has been there.
7/12 The Chocolate Pope
Imagine the Pope's delight (horror?) when he was presented with a giant chocolate replica of himself outside the Vatican by by students on a chocolatier course at the Accademia of Maestri Cioccolatieri, near Venice.
8/12 The Rock Star pope
The one and only religious leader ever to grace the cover of Rolling Stone magazine? Introducing... Pope Francis.
9/12 The People’s Pope
His U-turn attitude towards sexuality won him Time magazine's coveted Person of the Year accolade, and the cover of gay rights magazine The Advocate.
10/12 The Merchandise Pope
Thongs, mugs, onesies, earrings and even a baby mobile adorned with decapitated Pope heads, the 'Francis Effect' has seen sales of Papal merchandise soar by 200% over the last year.
11/12 The Fashion Pope
The only Pope, as far as we're aware, to be compared to fashion royalty (Karl Lagerfeld. Yes way.) and win Esquire's Most Stylish Man of 2013 award, too.
12/12 The Modern Pope
Let it be said, Pope Francis knows a thing or two about social media. He might be a way off 'doing a Dalai' and opting for Instagram, but he's not above posing for the odd 'Selfie' on Twitter.
Peter B Wells, a senior official at the Vatican secretariat of state, responded: “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."
Pope Francis has notably taken a more liberal stance on homosexuality, divorce and other issues that have been staunchly condemned by his predecessors. While Pope Benedict XVI had suggested being gay was to destroy the "essence of the human creature", Francis famously told the world shortly after he was elected as the head of the Catholic Church: “If someone is gay and searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
The letter is not a signal of his outright support of homosexuality or the book however, and the Pontiff has yet to speak against doctrine condemning same-sex relationships.Reuse content