Pope Francis waded into the topic of transgender rights over the weekend, indicating that he believed “gender theory” was detrimental to marriage, but that members of that community should not be isolated.

“These people must be accompanied as Jesus accompanied them,” Francis said, while speaking to reporters on board the papal plane. “When someone who has this condition comes before Jesus, Jesus would surely never say ‘go away because you’re gay.’”

Francis cautioned, however, “Please don’t write ‘The pope blesses trans.’ Please.”

On Saturday, however, Francis indicated he firmly disagreed with teaching children they can change their biological identity.

“You mentioned a great enemy of marriage: gender theory,” Francis replied, when asked by a woman in the audience about childhood education.

“Today, there is a global war out to destroy marriage… not with weapons but with ideas,” the 79-year-old pontiff continued, while meeting with Catholics in the nation of Georgia.

“We have to defend ourselves from ideological colonization,” Francis said.

The pope also recalled how he has ministered to members of the transgender community throughout his career, and that while he disagreed with what he called “gender theory,” he believed transgendered persons should not be isolated.

Francis also commented on the U.S. election while traveling with the reporters, urging voters to vote their “conscience,” but said he would never get directly involved in the election for one side because “the people are sovereign.”

“I’ll just say this: Study the proposals well, pray, and choose in conscience,” Francis said.

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