On August 10, The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatorio Romano revealed that Pope Francis had three meetings with groups of Trans people in the Vatican. The people had found shelter in a Catholic church during the Covid pandemic.
The first meeting between Pope Francis and the Trans folk who found shelter in the Blessed Immaculate Virgin community in a neighbourhood of Rome happened on April 27. Then, two more meetings in the Vatican followed on June 22 and last Wednesday, August 3.
Sister Jeanningros, who together with Father Conocchia welcomed the people into their community during the pandemic, commented: “No one should encounter injustice or be thrown away, everyone has dignity of being a child of God”. She said that the three meetings had given the people hope.
Father Conocchia also shared a few words: “I would say that we treat these people as if they were invisible.” He added, “If the coronavirus had never happened, I might have never met them in person, they might have never asked for help in a church and maybe we wouldn’t have had the chance to dialogue, know each other and share.”
There have been some episodes that suggested Pope Francis’s stance on LGBTQ+ rights might be more accepting than other popes before him, an example of this being when earlier this year he urged parents not to condemn their queer children. In 2020, Pope Francis donated to a group of Trans sex workers who had suffered badly because of the pandemic and who had also found shelter in the Blessed Immaculate Virgin community.
On August 9, the Pope met with a group of unhoused trans people who have been sheltering in a church outside Rome, according to the Vatican’s newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. The paper noted that the meeting was his fourth with trans people since April.#Transgender pic.twitter.com/jDvhfiUlbi
— TransValid (@TransValid) August 12, 2022
At the same time, he still hasn’t done anything to change the Catholic teaching that says that same-sex relationships are sin and he also approved a Vatican document stating that the Church cannot bless same-sex marriages, because it “cannot bless sin”.
In 2019, the Vatican issued another paper that sparked outrage among LGBTQ+activists. The 30-page document was on so-called ‘gender theory’ and stated that people’s perceptions of their own gender are “often founded on nothing more than a confused concept of freedom in the realm of feelings and wants, or momentary desires provoked by emotional impulses and the will of the individual, as opposed to anything based on the truths of existence.”
Queer activists from all over the world condemned it, saying that the document would likely lead to further discrimination for Trans people.
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