(CHRISTIAN HEADLINES) – Pope Francis met one on one with American Jesuit priest James Martin at the Vatican on Monday (Sept. 30) to discuss LGBTQ Catholics, a move some advocates say is a signal of support for a priest who has come under fire for calling on Catholics to be more compassionate to LGBTQ people.
"It was amazing and very consoling," Martin said of the meeting in an interview with Religion News Service. "The conversation went very easily and focused mainly on ministry to LGBT Catholics, which (Francis) was happy to talk about. … I spent 30 minutes with a warm and compassionate pastor."
Martin would not discuss details of his conversation with the pontiff, which took place at the pope's private library, where Francis often meets heads of state. But Martin insisted that he lifted up the concerns of LGBTQ Catholics during the 30-minute discussion.
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"I brought into that room the joys and the hopes and the struggles and the challenges of LGBT Catholics and LGBT people worldwide," Martin said of the meeting, which was his first private audience with any pope.