The Vatican has referred to queer people with the acronym ‘LGBT’ for the first time.
The Catholic institution has previously only referred to LGBT people as “homosexuals” or “persons with homosexual tendencies” in official documents.
The news comes just days after Pope Francis condemned same-sex parents and abortion in a series of scathing comments.
In a new paper aimed at convincing more young people to stay in Catholicism, the Vatican notes that “some LGBT youth … wish to ‘benefit from greater closeness’ and experience greater care from the Church,” according to the National Catholic Reporter.
The document was created for the Synod of Bishops in Rome in October.
Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general in the Vatican’s synod office, said at a press conference: “We are open. We don’t want to be closed in on ourselves,” LGBTQNation has reported.
The Cardinal added: “The Synod’s primary aim is to make the whole Church aware of her important and not at all optional task of accompanying every young person, without exclusion, towards the joy of love.”
This inclusive language is encouraging, but has emerged less than a week after the Pope closed the door on the idea of same-sex couples forming a family within the Church.
It had been hoped that the Pope was in the process of softening the Catholic Church’s position on LGBT rights, particularly as it was just last month that he told Juan Carlos Cruz, a gay survivor of sexual abuse by a prominent Chilean priest: “God made you like this and loves you like this and I don’t care.”
But during unscripted remarks at Forum delle Famiglie, an Italian group for Catholic families, the head of the Church told attendees: “It is painful to say this today: People speak of varied families, of various kinds of family,” but “the family [as] man and woman in the image of God is the only one.”
The Pope also compared abortion of seriously ill foetuses to the Holocaust, saying: “In the last century, the entire world was scandalised by what the Nazis did to ensure the purity of the race.
“Today we do the same, but with white gloves.”
The Pope also praised spouses who stay with unfaithful partners, hoping for them to stop cheating on them instead of asking for a divorce.
“Many women – but even men sometimes do it [with wives] – wait in silence, looking the other way, waiting for their husband to become faithful again,” he said.
This, he added, was “the sanctity that forgives all out of love.”
Conspiracy theorist and alt-right host Alex Jones, whose InfoWars YouTube channel has 2.3 million subscribers, went on an alarming rant after the Pope’s more accepting comments last month, in which he said that the pontiff was a “piranha,” “paedophile” and “creepazoid.”
Jones then told his followers that the pontiff was “as close as you’re gonna get to Satan in the flesh.”
But the Pope gave notice that he wasn’t upturning thousands of years of Church doctrine just days after speaking to Cruz, when he reportedly used a private meeting to warn bishops in Italy that they should reject any applicants to the priesthood who they suspect might be gay.
This was unsurprising to those following closely, seeing as in 2016, the Vatican reaffirmed its ban on gay priests that has been in place since 2005, stating that if you “practice homosexuality” you will not be welcome as a priest.