Pope Francis recently spoke to parents of LGBT children—and the message he shared signals positive change on the horizon.

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High view of Pope Francis
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There's a certain stereotype associated with religious groups and figures in relation to the LGBTQ community. As a society, we've long held on to the idea that most organized religions—and, by virtue of that, their most ardent followers—do not support LGBTQ individuals and causes. But Pope Francis just came out with a message that proves that these stereotypes don't always hold up, and his gesture will mean the world to LGBTQ kids and the parents who raise them.

The message came when the pope met with around 40 parents of LGBTQ children. According to America, the parents are members of an Italian association called Tenda di Gionata, an organization that welcomes and informs Christian LGBTQ members, their families, and pastoral workers

Pope Francis' message? "God loves your children as they are [and] the church loves your children as they are because they are children of God," the pope reportedly told the group.

But while the pope was addressing a small group, his message has the power to reach and touch so many families all around the world. Kids need reassurances like this—things that confirm they are loved and accepted and not alone. It's heartbreaking to think about a child who identifies as LGBTQ wondering whether or not this is the case, and the pope's message just may be what they need in order to feel that love.

According to America, Tenda di Gionata's vice president, Mara Grassi, and the pope spoke as well, and her record of the conversation is equally touching.

Grassi reportedly told the pope: "We wish to create a bridge to the church so that the church too can change its way of looking at our children, no longer excluding them but fully welcoming them."

Pope Francis' response was, quite simply, perfect. "The church does not exclude them," he reportedly replied, "because she loves them deeply."