Angelo Carconi / EPA
Onlookers applaud as Pope Francis emerges from the door of the Jesus church in Rome, Jan. 3, 2014.
Pope Francis called for a reassessment of the way the Catholic Church deals with the children of gay couples and divorced parents, saying that an effort should be made to not push them away from the church.
"On an educational level, gay unions raise challenges for us today, which for us are sometimes difficult to understand," Francis said in an address to the Catholic Union of Superiors General in November, according to Agence France-Presse.
Fragments of his speech were published on Italian websites Saturday.
Francis acknowledged that a growing number of kids today have divorced parents, while others are part of non-traditional families.
"I remember a case in which a sad little girl confessed to her teacher: 'my mother's girlfriend doesn't love me'," he was quoted as saying, according to AFP.
Due to the Church's opposition to homosexuality, same-sex marriage and divorce, these children may feel unwelcome, the pontiff -- who has garnered a reputation for his efforts toward greater inclusion -- indicated.
"We must be careful not to administer a vaccine against faith to them," Francis added.