VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis has met privately with an American Jesuit who has been attacked by conservative U.S. Catholics for reaching out to gays.
The Vatican listed the audience with the Rev. James Martin among the pope's activities Monday, in a clear sign that Francis wanted it publicized. The implicit message was a vote of confidence in Martin's ministry.
Martin, author of "Building a Bridge," a book about how the Catholic Church should reach out more to the LGBT community, has had several talks canceled in the United States because of pressure from conservative groups who oppose his advocacy.
In a tweet Monday, Martin said that during the 30-minute audience, he shared with Francis "the joys and hopes, and the griefs and anxieties, of LGBT Catholics and LGBT people worldwide."