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Gay couples are church's new educational challenge: Pope

Jorge Mario BergoglioVatican City, Jan 5 - Pope Francis considers that the different realities in today's society, like children living with gay couples, represent a new educational challenge for the Catholic Church, above all when preaching the gospel.

That was one of the Argentine pontiff's messages in the Vatican last November at the closure of the 82nd General Assembly of the Union of Superiors General of men's religious institutions, cited by La Civilita Cattolica magazine, which published more of his observations Saturday.

"I remember the case of a very sad little girl who finally confessed to her teacher the reason she felt that way: 'my mom's girlfriend doesn't like me,'" Francis told the superiors general of religious institutions.

"The percentage of schoolchildren whose parents are separated is very high," he said. "The situations we experience today therefore present us with new challenges, which are sometimes hard to grasp. How do we talk about Christ to these boys and girls? How do we talk about Christ to a generation that is changing?"

"The educator has to be on a level with the people he is educating, we must ask ourselves how Jesus Christ fits in with a generation that is changing. The work of education is a mission that is key, key, key," the Argentine pontiff said.

The subject of the family will also be a central theme at the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to be held next October in the Vatican, and in preparation the Holy See sent a questionnaire to the Episcopal Conferences around the world with questions about gay marriages and divorce.

"What is the attitude of local churches toward the state as promoter of civil unions between persons of the same sex and toward those involved in them" What pastoral attention can we give to those who have chosen to live in unions of that kind?" the document asks.

In the case of adoptions by same-sex couples, "what can we do as pastors to transmit the faith?" the questionnaire continues, and went on to speak of "irregular marriages" and the way that these parents can approach the church. (IANS)