Pope Francis has spoken out against the validity of rainbow families, saying the only real families in God’s eyes are those including a man and a woman.

His comments come as a disappointment to gay Catholics, who may have believed the pope was softening his attitude towards gay people after he was recently reported to have told a gay man that God made him and loved him as he was.

Appearing at an Italian group for Catholic families, the pope made a series of unscripted comments about LGBTI families, abortion and divorce, Pink News has reported.

“It is painful to say this today: People speak of varied families, of various kinds of family… [but] the family [as] man and woman in the image of God is the only one,” Francis said.

The pope spoke in praise of spouses who tolerate cheating from their partners rather than seek divorce.

“Many women—but even men sometimes do it [with wives]—wait in silence, looking the other way, waiting for their husband to become faithful again,” he said.

He compared people having abortion for medical reasons to the Holocaust.

“In the last century, the entire world was scandalised by what the Nazis did to ensure the purity of the race,” said Francis.

“Today we do the same, but with white gloves.”

While the pope had previously made comments suggesting a more liberal attitude towards gay people, he has consistently spoken against the trans community.

Last year he criticised schools that teach gender diversity and acceptance, calling the idea “terrible”.

He has also specifically attacked non-binary people and the “utopia of the neutral”, suggesting that questioning binary gender roles would lead to a breakdown of relationships and even fertility between men and women.

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