Despite a recent move toward embracing non-traditional families, Pope Francis said yesterday that "children have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother." He made the remark during the Complementarity of Man and Woman conference, a "gathering of global religious conservatives" attended by high-profile religious leaders including US megachurch pastor Rick Warren, the Washington Post reports. The comment also came the same day he announced he'll travel to the US as pope for the first time, for a conference on families.
The comments were heavily scrutinized, but not everyone took them to mean that the pope is backtracking on previous, more inclusive comments. "It’s high politics," says a nun who advocates for social justice issues. "I think he’s doing what he talks about: building peace. To build peace you can’t protect your space, your turf. You have to enter into a process of dialogue. He is boldly taking this to [conservatives] and engaging them in his very engaging way in conversation." (Read more Pope Francis stories.)