A bishop in Malta told local media that Pope Francis was “shocked” about a proposal to allow gay couples to adopt children there.
Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna, an opponent of the proposal, told the Sunday Times of Malta that he discussed his concerns with the Pope on Dec. 12, and Scicluna said the Pontiff “encouraged me to speak out.”
Pope Francis, who ascended to the Papacy in March, has drawn attention for a reformist platform that includes a softer tone on issues like homosexuality. He was was named TIME’s Person of the Year this month and was on the cover of leading LGBT magazine The Advocate.
But the Pope still opposes same-sex marriage and gay adoption, saying this year only that, “If a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge.”
In fact, in 2010 he said that gay adoption is a form of discrimination against children, according to a profile by the National Catholic Reporter.
“Francis signals great change while giving the same answers to the uncomfortable questions,” TIME wrote in naming Pope Francis the Person of the Year.