Vatican City: Children should grow up in a family with a father and a mother, Pope Francis said Monday.
"Children have the right to grow up in a family, with a father and a mother capable of creating a suitable environment for their development and emotional maturity," the pope said on Radio Vatican at the opening of an inter-religious conference in Rome.
He said the meeting with Muslim, Jewish and other religious leaders was called to stress "the beauty of the natural union of man and woman in marriage".
Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which polices Catholic dogma, told the Vatican`s newspaper Osservatore Romano Sunday that the "the first place where we discover the differences between the sexes is... in the family".
Last month cardinals and bishops gathered in Rome for a major synod on the family, with tensions high on the sensitive issues of homosexuality and single parent families.