- Pope Francis has urged the Catholic Church to welcome and embrace homosexual and transsexual people
- "When a person arrives before Jesus, Jesus certainly will not say, 'Go away because you are homosexual'," the pope said
Pope Francis has recently called for transsexual and homosexual people to be accepted and respected by the Catholic Church.
However, he stressed that he doesn't support schools teaching youngsters sex changes and described gender theory as part of a "global war" against marriage.
The Pope made the remarks aboard his papal plane while returning to Rome from a three-day visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan.
He said: "When a person arrives before Jesus, Jesus certainly will not say, 'Go away because you are homosexual'. Each case must be welcomed, accompanied, studied, discerned and integrated. This is what Jesus would do today."
He also recounted a story of a woman from Spain who had a sex change to become a man and subsequently married a woman.
The couple were invited to the Vatican after the transgender man wrote the Pope a letter, where he told about his transition and hateful attitude of a local priest.
The Pope said: "Life is life, and things should be taken as they come. Sin is sin, but tendencies or hormonal imbalances ... can cause many problems and we have to be careful.
But each case must be welcomed, accompanied, studied, discerned and integrated. When a person (who is gay) arrives before Jesus, Jesus certainly will not say, 'Go away because you are homosexual.'"
He then joked with the reporters: "Please don't write that the Pope will bless transsexuals. I can see the front pages of newspapers now."
He also reiteriated his position on gender theory when speaking with bishops in Poland last week:
"What I was talking about was the nastiness that is present today in indoctrinating people in gender theory," he said. "It is one thing for a person to have this tendency, this option, and even change sex," he said.
"But it is another thing to teach it, gender theory, in schools along these lines in order to change mentality. I call this ideological colonisation."