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Mark Segal: The LGBT welcome mat

Pope Francis, thank you for your kind words about LGBT families and LGBT children.

Last week, His Holiness said, "The Catholic Church must help parents stand by their gay children."

The pontiff's comments came a day after he urged church officials to pay attention to the "signs of the times." This is groundbreaking, especially since he was speaking in regard to a meeting of American bishops, who, to say the least, have not been so kind to LGBT Catholics. And sadly enough, while other bishops see a church attempting to join the 21st century, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput now seems to be leading a campaign of opposition.

While the pope noted it is important to welcome gay Catholics, he still is opposed to same-sex marriage. But he said his views on LGBT youth were in part formed from personal experiences.

"We come across this reality all the time in the confessional: a father and a mother whose son or daughter is in that situation. This happened to me several times in Buenos Aires…. We have to find a way to help that father or that mother to stand by their son or daughter," he said in an interview with Argentina's La Nación.

So with this in mind, we need to help U.S. bishops learn more about our community. Chaput will be among the hosts of the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia next fall, which Pope Francis will attend. Chaput has stated that thousands of Catholic households should offer to house some of the visitors who will be coming from around the globe. With that in mind, I'd like to suggest that LGBT Catholic families meet that calling and call the Archdiocese to offer their homes. Let us help His Holiness with his mission.

On a personal note, Your Holiness, my offer to take you for a cheesesteak is still on the table.

Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation's most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. You can follow him on Facebook at or Twitter at