Pope Francis stated that the Catholic Church is open and welcoming to all, but that there are laws regulating life inside the Church.

He spoke to reporters on a flight returning to Rome from Portugal’s World Youth Day Catholic Festival, according to Reuters.

During the trip, the Pope had said that the Church was open to “everyone, everyone, everyone.”

In response, one reporter drew attention to the inconsistency of this remark with the Church’s failure to provide women and queer people with the same rights and access to sacraments.

“The Church is open to everyone but there are laws that regulate life within the Church,” the Pope replied. “According to the legislation, they cannot partake in (some) sacraments. 

“This does not mean that it is closed,” he asserted. “Each person encounters God in their own way inside the Church.”

READ MORE: What has Pope Francis said on LGBTQ+ issues?

Since his appointment in 2013, Pope Francis has taken a complex stance on LGBTQ+ rights.

He has claimed that “homosexual acts” are sinful, though vehemently rejects the idea that homosexuality is a crime.

Though he “upholds Catholic teachings on LGBTQ+ rights”, he has demonstrated some progress in the Church’s outreach to queer people.