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The United States’ diplomatic mission to the Holy See celebrated the beginning of Pride Month by hanging the pride flag on the facade of its headquarters in Rome.
The U.S. Embassy to the Holy See is the country’s body of diplomatic representatives to the pope and Roman Curia, the governing college of the Catholic Church.
“During the month of June, the [United States] celebrates Pride Month,” the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See wrote in a social media post Thursday. [The embassy] stands with the LBGTQI+ community against discrimination and other forms of persecution because of who they are and whom they love.”
The embassy included with the message a photo of the flag hung outside its building in Rome, Italy, just blocks from Vatican City.
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A pride flag is hung outside the United States’ embassy to the Holy See in Rome. (U.S. Embassy to the Vatican)
According to the teachings of the Catholic Church, the same-sex attraction itself is not a sin, and all human beings deserve dignity regardless of race, creed, gender or sexual orientation.
However, sodomy and other homosexual acts are considered a “grave depravity,” and the church maintains that “under no circumstances can they be approved.”
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A view of St. Peter’s Square during the 10th World Meeting of Families closing Mass in Vatican City, Vatican. (Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Fox News Digital reached out to the State Department to ask whether the beliefs of the Catholic Church regarding sexuality were considered before deciding to fly the Pride flag.
“America’s strength is found in its diversity. America is stronger, at home and around the world, when it is inclusive,” a State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital Friday.
“Recognizing that each country context is different, U.S. embassies and consulates develop individual plans to raise awareness of violence, human rights abuses and discrimination targeting LGBTQI+ persons, including appropriate exterior displays.”
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St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. (Fox News Photo/Joshua Comins)
The State Department spokesperson did not elaborate on whether representatives of the Holy See were consulted on the decision to fly the flag.
“Homosexual persons are called to chastity,” the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) states. “By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.”
The CCC is the universal summary and explanation of Catholic teaching. It is meant to be an authoritative reference point for established Catholic doctrine.
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Pope Francis leads his traditional Wednesday General Audience at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. (Stefano Costantino/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
The Holy See is the ecclesiastical and legal term for the jurisdiction of the pope as the supreme authority of the Catholic Church. It is tied to — but distinct from — the papacy itself and the Catholic Church as a whole.
The governance of the Holy See is overseen by both the pope and the Roman Curia.
By contrast, Vatican City is the name of the sovereign territorial state located inside Rome where the pope lives and from which the Holy See is based.
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It is the smallest internationally recognized country in the world.
Vatican City as a country does not maintain diplomatic missions, but the Holy See has diplomatic relations with over 180 countries around the world. It is also a permanent observer of the United Nations.
The U.S. has maintained diplomatic relations with the Holy See since the presidency of George Washington.
Timothy Nerozzi is a writer for Fox News Digital. You can follow him on Twitter @timothynerozzi and can email him at [email protected]