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Pope praises LGBT kids book banned by Venice Mayor

By Will Stroude

Back in June, Venice’s newly-elected mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, sparked outrage after banning over 50 after children’s books with LGBT themes from the city’s nurseries and public schools, including Piccolo Uovo (‘Little Egg’), which recounts the adventures of an egg who encounters families including a pair of male penguins raising a family and a single parent hippo.

Now the book has seemingly found an unlikely ally in Pope Francis, whose staff have written to its author, Francesca Pardi, praising her work after she sent them a copy accompanied by a letter outlining the attacks she has come under since the mayor’s ban was imposed.


In a letter dated July 9 and verified by the Guardian, a senior official at the Vatican secretariat of state wrote: “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.”

The letter was a response to a parcel of children’s books sent by Pardi to the pontiff in June, which included “seven or eight” titles dealing with LGBT issues.

Pardi said she had not expected a reply and was surprised to receive the letter. “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.


Some have credited Pope Francis for taking a less hostile stance towards the issue of homosexuality since he took over the post two years ago. In 2013 he told reporters: “If someone is gay and is looking for the Lord, who am I to judge him?” and earlier this year held the first ever official meeting between an LGBT charity leader and a pontiff.

However, the Pope remains ideologically opposed to same-sex marriage, and only in January was quoted as saying: “The family is threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage”.

The Mayor of Venice’s book ban following his election in June incurred the wrath of another notable figure, Sir Elton John, who slammed the decision and denounced the mayor as “boorishly bigoted” on Instagram last week.

The controversial politician hit the headlines yet again yesterday after saying Venice will “never” have a gay pride parade again so long as he holds office – click here to find out more.

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