In a live video Q&A on June 20 organized by Loyola University’s Building Bridges Initiative, Pope Francis engaged with university students from the Asia-Pacific region.

During the event, a psychology student from the Philippines asked that the pope stop using “offensive language” towards the LGBT community.

He shared that he is “outcasted and bullied due to my bisexuality, my gayness, my identity, and being the son of a single parent.” Wearing a rainbow sash, he also asked the pope to allow divorce in the Philippines, because his mother “cannot divorce my father.”

His plea followed reports that Pope Francis had used an Italian slur for gay men in recent private meetings. The Vatican later apologized, explaining that the pope did not intend to offend.

Another student voiced concerns about inadequate faith formation in Catholic schools. She said that some preach “their own agendas of abortion, contraception, and gender theory,” and proposed that all religion teachers be trained catechists.

Responding to the students, Pope Francis condemned all forms of discrimination, including those based on gender identity.

He emphasized the importance of “proximity, closeness” as a means to foster love and resolve issues of discrimination. The pope also brought up the problem of discrimination against women, saying that “women are the best leaders” and possess a great ability to create community.

Photo credit: xbrchx / | Video source
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