The Pope’s thoughts on teaching children about trans issues have been revealed after a transcript of a private meeting was released by the Vatican, according to the New York Times.

Commenting on the idea that gender is self-identified, the Pope, who recently suggested that the Catholic church should apologise for its treatment of lesbians and gays, reiterating his opposition, saying: “Today, in schools they are teaching this to children — to children! — that everyone can choose their gender.”

“This is terrible,” he added.

The pontiff also described the rise in this view of gender being taught in schools as “ideological colonising” by “persons and institutions who donate money”.

The Vatican has historically used it’s considerable power to influence views around the world – including anti-condom teachings which are regarded as one of the reasons for the spread of HIV in certain parts of the world.

It has also been claimed that the Catholic Church’s historic disapproval of divorce has led to vulnerable women staying in abusive marriages, while in 2012 in Ireland, Savita Halappanavar died from pregnancy complications after being refused an abortion – Irish abortion laws are largely influenced by the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Quoting his Predecessor Benedict XVI, Francis said “God created man and woman, God created the world this way, this way, this way, and we are doing the opposite”

“We must think about what Pope Benedict said – ‘It’s the epoch of sin against God the Creator.’”

Two years ago, the Pope had said that the Church should avoid “hostile rigidity” to new ideas.

Earlier this year Pope Francis released a document calling for a more understanding approach to gays and lesbians, but failed to mention offer similar support to the trans community.

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