Pope Francis said it's 'terrible' children can 'choose their gender'

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Pope Francis Criticized for Not Accepting Transgender Community

Pope Francis is known as one of the most progressive popes, but he apparently has his limits.

The Vatican published some closed-door remarks from the pope where he touched on gender identity. Francis said he was dismayed by the growing acceptance of transgender people, calling it "terrible."

He said, in part, "Today, in schools they are teaching this to children — to children! — that everyone can choose their gender."

Francis railed against what he called "ideological colonizing" in "very influential countries." He blamed textbooks financed by wealthy people and institutions for the societal changes, though he declined to specifically name any countries, people or institutions.

Francis said his predecessor, Pope Benedict, said a society that accepts transgender people is "the epoch of sin against God the Creator. He's intelligent! God created man and woman, God created the world this way, this way, this way, and we are doing the opposite."

RELATED: See images of Pope Francis on his recent trip to Poland

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Pope Francis visits Poland
Prelates wait for the arrival of Pope Francis on the occasion of a mass at conclusion of the World Youth Day inKrakow, Poland, Sunday, July 31, 2016. The Mass was the final part of the World Youth Day, a global celebration of young Catholics, on the fifth day of the Pope's visit to Poland. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
FILE - In this July 28, 2016 file photo, Pope Francis is helped by Vatican Master of Ceremonies, Mons. Guido Marini as he stumbles on the altar during a mass in Czestochowa, Poland. Francis says the July 28 tumble happened this way: "I was watching (an image of) the Madonna, and I forgot the step." (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File)
Pope Francis followed by a security guard arrives to celebrate a mass at conclusion of the World Youth Day inKrakow, Poland, Sunday, July 31, 2016. The Mass was the final part of the World Youth Day, a global celebration of young Catholics, on the fifth day of the Pope's visit to Poland. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis incenses the altar as he celebrates a Holy Mass in Brzegi, near Krakow, Poland, Sunday, July 31, 2016. The Mass was the final part of the World Youth Day, a global celebration of young Catholics, on the fifth day of the Pope's visit to Poland. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)
Pope Francis blesses reporters on board the flight from Krakow, Poland, to Rome, at the end of his 5-day trip to southern Poland for the World Youth Days, Sunday, July 31, 2016. Francis announced the next World Youth Day will take place in Panama in 2019. (Filippo Monteforte/Pool Photo via AP)
Pope Francis walks through the gate of the former Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz in Oswiecim, Poland, Friday, July 29, 2016. Pope Francis paid a somber visit to the Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau Friday, becoming the third consecutive pontiff to make the pilgrimage to the place where Adolf Hitler's forces killed more than 1 million people, most of them Jews. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis, accompanied by youths from five continents, passes through the Door of Mercy ahead of a prayer vigil on the occasion of the World Youth Days, in Campus Misericordiae in Brzegi, near Krakow, Poland, Saturday, July 30, 2016. The 79-year-old Francis has had an unrelenting schedule since he arrived in Poland on Wednesday for World Youth Days, a global Catholic gathering which culminates Sunday. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis celebrates a Mass at the Saint John Paul II Sanctuary in Krakow, Poland, Saturday, July 30, 2016. Francis is taking part in World Youth Day, a global celebration of young Catholics, during his five-day visit to Poland. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis celebrates a Mass at the Sanctuary of St. John Paul II, near Krakow, Poland, Saturday, July 30, 2016. Francis is taking part in World Youth Day, a global celebration of young Catholics, during his five-day visit to Poland. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)
Pope Francis arrives at the Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy in Krakow, Poland, Saturday, July 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis, background, is framed by a barbed wire as he prays in front of the Memorial at the former Nazi Death Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, in Oswiecim, Poland, Friday, July 29, 2016. Pope Francis paid a somber visit to the Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau Friday, becoming the third consecutive pontiff to make the pilgrimage to the place where Adolf Hitler's forces killed more than 1 million people, most of them Jews. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis blesses a child during his visit to the University Children's Hospital in Prokocim, Poland, Friday, July 29, 2016. The visit to the University Children's Hospital Friday was part of a day Francis dedicated to the theme of suffering. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)
Pope Francis prays in front of the Memorial at the former Nazi Death Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, in Oswiecim, Poland, Friday, July 29, 2016. Pope Francis paid a somber visit to the Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau Friday, becoming the third consecutive pontiff to make the pilgrimage to the place where Adolf Hitler's forces killed more than 1 million people, most of them Jews. (L'Osservatore Romano /Pool Photo via AP)
Pope Francis prays in front of the Memorial at the former Nazi Death Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, in Oswiecim, Poland, Friday, July 29, 2016. Pope Francis paid a somber visit to the Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau Friday, becoming the third consecutive pontiff to make the pilgrimage to the place where Adolf Hitler's forces killed more than 1 million people, most of them Jews. (L'Osservatore Romano /Pool Photo via AP)
Pope Francis prays in front of the death wall at the former Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz in Oswiecim, Poland, Friday, July 29, 2016. Pope Francis paid a somber visit to the Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau Friday, becoming the third consecutive pontiff to make the pilgrimage to the place where Adolf Hitler's forces killed more than 1 million people, most of them Jews. s. (L'Osservatore Romano /Pool Photo via AP)
Pope Francis walks through the gate of the former Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz in Oswiecim, Poland, Friday, July 29, 2016. Pope Francis paid a somber visit to the Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau Friday, becoming the third consecutive pontiff to make the pilgrimage to the place where Adolf Hitler's forces killed more than 1 million people, most of them Jews. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis waives to a cheering crowd of faithful as he drives by in a public transportation tram he used to reach the venue of the World Youth Days in Krakow, Poland, Thursday, July 28, 2016. Pope Francis is in Poland for a five-day pastoral visit and to attend the 31st World Youth Days. (Stefano Rellandini/Pool photo via AP)
Pope Francis kisses the altar as he celebrates a mass in Czestochowa, Poland,Thursday, July 28, 2016. (Stefano Rellandini/Pool Photo via AP)
Faithful pray as Pope Francis celebrates a Mass in Czestochowa, Poland, Thursday, July 28, 2016. The pontiff celebrated an open-air Mass celebrating Poland's deep Catholic roots. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
Pope Francis talks from the Archbishops' Palace in Krakow, Poland, Wednesday, July 27, 2016. Francis came on a five-day visit to Poland to join hundreds of thousands of young people from around the globe for celebrations of the World Youth Day. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)
Pope Francis, center, flanked by Polish President Andrzej Duda, right, and his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda arrives for an official welcoming ceremony at the royal Wawel Castle in Krakow, Poland, Wednesday, July 27, 2016. The world is at war, but it is not a war of religions, Pope Francis said Wednesday as he traveled to Poland on his first visit to Central and Eastern Europe in the shadow of the slaying of a priest in France. (Filippo Monteforte/Pool Photo via AP)
Pope Francis leaves the Krakow's military airport , Poland, Wednesday, July 27, 2016. The world is at war, but it is not a war of religions, Pope Francis said Wednesday as he traveled to Poland on his first visit to Central and Eastern Europe in the shadow of the slaying of a priest in France. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)
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Though he clearly doesn't approve of every letter, Francis has by far been the most LGBTQ-friendly pope in recent memory. He's also been more open to women in the church.

SEE MORE: Pope Francis Says Christians Owe Gay People An Apology

When asked about homosexuality, Francis said, "Who am I to judge?" He also said he was open to divorcees who remarry without an annulment to receive communion. But he still officially opposes divorce and same-sex marriage.

The pope's remarks drew criticism from rights groups. As spokeswoman for The Human Rights Campaign said, "It is deeply [disappointing] that so soon after his healing apology to LGBTQ Catholics regarding their treatment the church, Pope Francis would choose to deny the very humanity of transgender people, including children."

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