There are reports that Pope Francis has broken new ground by apparently blessing a group of Italian gay Catholics.
According to a number of translations of an article published by Italian newspaper La Repubblica, members of the Kairos group were shocked when they received a response from the Vatican to one of their letters calling for open dialogue about homosexuality.
The group said that it had sent letters to church officials before but had never received a response, until now.
According to the America website’s translation, La Repubblica reported that the gay Catholics received a personal letter from Francis
“The Kairos group said they also received a letter from the Vatican Secretariat of State, which informed them that Pope Francis ‘really enjoyed’ their letter to him and the way it was written, calling it an act of ‘spontaneous confidence.’
“One Kairos leader said Pope Francis had also assured the group of his blessing, something they could not before have imagined happening.”
The members of Kairos have reportedly decided to keep the rest of the contents of both letters private.
The latest report, although unconfirmed, bolsters the image of Francis as being a Pontiff who is far more welcoming of gays and lesbians than his predecessors.
In July, Francis said that he is not in a position to judge gay people. Last month he stated that the church should not be obsessed by minor “dogmatic and moral teachings” on issues such as gay marriage.
Despite these positive moves, the Catholic Church remains opposed to same-sex marriage. It also officially condemns gay sex as “acts of grave depravity,” describing them as “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to the natural law”.