Pope Francis has sent a letter of “gratitude” containing his official apostolic blessing to controversial Italian author Francesca Pardi for a children’s book in which an egg encounters all sorts of different families, including those headed by gay penguins and lesbian rabbits.
In the book, the egg encounters a pair of gay penguins, lesbian rabbits successfully bringing up a family, as well as other family models, including a single parent hippo, a mixed race dog couple, and kangaroos that have adopted polar bear cubs.
The author, Pardi, is herself in a same-sex relationship with her business partner, Maria Silvia Fiengo, but the pair had to travel to Spain to be legally married since gay marriage is not legal in Italy.
The Vatican Responds with a Letter Signed by the Pope
Pardi was reported by The Guardian Newspaper (www.theguardian.com) to have submitted a parcel of children’s books promoting the acceptance of homosexuality and gender theory to Pope Francis in June after Venice’s mayor Luigi Brugnaro publicly banned the author’s newest book, Piccolo Uovo (Little Egg), from children’s schools. The book was criticized by pro-family leaders for promoting non-natural family structures of two men and two women.
The letter from the Vatican, dated July 9, was a response to a parcel of children’s books sent by Pardi to the pontiff in June. The collection from her publisher, Lo Stampatello, including seven or eight books which deal with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues (LGBT), was accompanied by a letter from the author describing the attacks she has come under in recent months.
Pardi wrote: “Many parishes across the country are in this period sullying our name and telling falsehoods about our work which deeply offends us. We have respect for Catholics. … A lot of Catholics give back the same respect, why can’t we have the whole hierarchy of the church behind us?”
The Guardian is reporting that Pardi has now “found an unlikely supporter in Pope Francis,” who through his staff has responded to the author and is presented as “praising her work.”
The Guardian quotes the following from the Vatican letter sent to Pardi: “His Holiness is grateful for the thoughtful gesture and for the feelings which it
evoked, hoping for an always more fruitful activity in the service of young generations and the spread of genuine human and Christian values,” wrote Peter B. Wells, a senior official at the Vatican Secretariat of State, in a letter.
Pardi said she had not expected a reply and was surprised to receive the letter at her Milan home. “It’s not that I think that he’s for gay families, because there’s the Catholic doctrine, but we mustn’t think that we don’t have rights,” she said.
Vatican Damage Control
As the mainstream media screamed their headlines around the world (“Pope sends letter praising gay children’s book”, etc), the Vatican quickly responded to do damage control. In a press release that Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi sent to LifeSiteNews, the vice speaker of the Vatican, Ciro Benedettini, made clear that the friendly reply letter to the author in no way approves of attitudes or positions that are contrary to Catholic teaching and the Gospels. The Church deems homosexual relationships “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to natural law”, preaching that gay people must live a life of chastity in order to be good Catholics.
The Vatican’s statement also says that in the original letter from the secretariat of state, Wells merely “acknowledged receipt” of the materials sent by Pardi, and also made clear that the letter was private and not meant for publication.
“In no way does a letter from the Secretary of State intend to endorse behaviors and teachings not in keeping with the Gospel,” says the statement. Benedettini said the blessing of the pope at the end of the letter was meant to be for the author herself, and not to affirm positions concerning gender theory that are contrary to the Church’s teaching. Using the letter to this end is erroneous, he said.
The Facts Remain
Despite the Vatican denial, the undeniable facts from this whole controversy remain:
The Italian children’s author Francesca Pardi, who herself is living in a state of grave sin by being “married” to a same-sex partner, has written a book that introduces homosexuality and same-sex “marriages” specifically targeting children
The book gained widespread controversy in Italy, with the mayor of Venice publicly banning it from children’s schools
Amid the ban and “persecution” the author said she was facing, she wrote a letter to the pope and sent her books, calling for the Church hierarchy to back her. She wrote in her letter: “Why can’t we have the whole hierarchy of the church behind us?”
Despite the widespread public knowledge of the fact the the author was living in a same-sex relationship, and that the book in question promoted same-sex relationships to children, an official of the Vatican Secretariat has sent a letter of thanks on behalf of the pope in response to the author’s letter asking for Church support for her books, saying: “His Holiness is grateful for the thoughtful gesture and for the feelings which it evoked, hoping for an always more fruitful activity in the service of young generations…”. The letter ended with the official apostolic blessing of the pope. ∎