Parental advice for the childless Holy Father

Dear Pope Francis,

Pope Francis (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Pope Francis (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

It is reported that you said gay and lesbian parents can’t love their children like heterosexuals. My own son is being raised Catholic and, as such, I know that your words would both hurt and confuse him. With the greatest respect, might I ask you on what evidence you make this bald assertion? Have you or your staff actually conducted any studies to this effect? Or are you simply basing your argument on your own claim to papal infallibility?

Since I know that you have no personal experience of parenting and must therefore rely on second-hand information, permit me as a father, to share what my love for my son means.

It means that I watched over my miracle of a child while he slept in the incubator and alerted the sleeping night nurses when the machine started “cooking” him!

It means that I survived on 3 hours of sleep for months until he finally slept through the night.

It means that I happily changed diapers that were nothing short of toxic, because I was always thrilled how much my fussy eater consumed.

It means that I juggled 3 jobs and single-parenting while his mom took a much-needed break after our failed marriage.

It means that, no matter how tired I was, I read with my son every night until he started yanking the book away to read it himself because I wasn’t doing the voices “quite right.”

It means that I staunchly defended his right to write with his left hand when his teachers at his Catholic prep school tried to “correct” him. It also means that I bought him the BIGGEST easel that could fit in a house so he could practice PROUDLY writing with his left-hand. You will recall that the Catholic church once called left-handers demon-possessed.

It means that I was devastated when his mom decided that she wanted him back permanently, but I decided that it would be best for him to have a stable family life instead of a nasty custody battle.

It means that I worry about his schooling, and the pressures of having a very public father who is FIGHTING to show him that living authentically while harming NO ONE is the most important human trait.

It means that my 14-year-old son’s acknowledgement on Father’s Day that he accepts me UNCONDITIONALLY signifies that no vile, mean or evil slur thrown at me for my LGBTI human rights activism can EVER again dull my spirits.

Dear Holy Father, you have a powerful voice that can, and should, be used for good. Please do not use this voice to EVER denigrate the love that any parent has for their child.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor / publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]


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