Pope Francis meets transgender group sheltered by Rome church

Pope Francis meets transgender group sheltered by Rome church
Pope Francis waves to faithful as he arrives in the Paul VI hall for his the weekly general audience at the Vatican on Wednesday, August10, 2022 (Andrew Medichini/AP/PA)

Pope Francis has met a fourth group of transgender people who found shelter at a Rome church.

The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano said the meeting took place Wednesday. The newspaper quoted Sister Genevieve Jeanningros as saying the pope’s welcome brought their guests hope.

The Blessed Immaculate Virgin community in the Torvaianica neighbourhood on Rome’s outskirts opened its doors to transgender people during the coronavirus pandemic.

No one should encounter injustice or be thrown away, everyone has dignity of being a child of God

Francis previously met some of them on April 27, June 22 and August 3, the newspaper said.

“No one should encounter injustice or be thrown away, everyone has dignity of being a child of God,” Sister Jeanningros told the paper.

Francis has earned praise from some members of the LGBTQ community for his outreach.

When asked in 2013 about a purportedly gay priest, he replied, “Who am I to judge?” He has met individually and in groups with transgender people over the course of his pontificate.

But he has strongly opposed “gender theory” and has not changed church teaching that holds that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered”.

In 2021, he allowed publication of a Vatican document asserting that the Catholic Church cannot bless same-sex unions since “God cannot bless sin”.

Recently, Francis wrote a letter praising the initiative of a Jesuit-run ministry for LGBTQ Catholics, called Outreach.

And Francis praised a recent Outreach event at New York’s Jesuit-run Fordham University, and encouraged organisers “to keep working in the culture of encounter, which shortens the distances and enriches us with differences, in the same manner of Jesus, who made himself close to everyone”.

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