An LGBT homeless shelter has written an open letter to the Pope in the New York Times, to invite him to come ‘see for himself’ the impact of his church’s teachings on homosexuality.

The letter is signed by Carl Siciliano, the executive director of New York’s Ali Forney Center.

It reads: “Your Holiness, I write to you as a Roman Catholic, a former Benedictine monk and as a gay man who has spent over 30 years serving the homeless.

“I write on behalf of the homeless LGBT youths I serve. I ask you to take urgent action to protect them from the devastating consequences of religious rejection, which is the most common reason LGBT youths are driven from their homes.

“Over the past decade thousands of LGBT youths have come to the Ali Forney Center seeking safe shelter, bearing witness to having been driven from their homes by religious parents who believed they were evil and sinful.

“The Roman Catholic Church is the largest and most influential Christian organization in the world.

“By teaching that homosexual conduct is a sin, and that the homosexual orientation is disordered, it influences countless parents and families in societies across the globe to reject their children.

“In the name of these children, and in light of the love and compassion at the heart of the message of Jesus, I ask that you end this teaching.

“I invite you to the Ali Forney Center, to meet our abandoned youths and see for yourself how their lives have been devastated and made destitute by religious rejection.

“We share a belief in a God of love. I know in my heart that what my kids have suffered is ultimately a violation against love.

“How tragic it is that the church, through its teaching, would contribute to such a violation. Surely God loves his children more than teachings.

“I hope that we can find common ground in seeking that they be protected and loved.”

The Pope is yet to respond to the letter.

The letter can be read in full here.