Pope Francis was “saddened” to hear of two lesbian nuns leaving religious life and getting “married” in Italy, according to Vatican Undersecretary of State Archbishop Angelo Becciu on Twitter.

The former nuns went only by their first names, Federica and Isabel, in an article featuring their relationship in the Italian news outlet La Repubblica.

@AngeloBecciu, Twitter
@AngeloBecciu, Twitter

The former nuns told La Repubblica that their love was a “gift from God” that “no one can prevent,” and that they wanted to “leave the religious life and begin a path of freedom and faith lived with serenity, without scandal, beneath the merciful gaze of God.”

They also said they were inspired by Pope Francis’ seemingly more open approach to the issue.

Pope Francis, however, has repeatedly upheld the Church’s teaching that marriage can only be between one man and one woman, most recently in his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. The pontiff has also attacked “gender theory,” calling it a “sin of trying to replace the Creator.”

[See also: What Does Pope Francis Think of “Gender Theory”?]

[See also: 13 Powerful Pope Francis Quotes Defending Marriage and the Family]

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