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‘God loves us as we are’: Pope says in latest message of outreach to LGBTQ community

Transgender individual say they were ‘torn by dichotomy between faith and transgender identity’

Shweta Sharma
Wednesday 26 July 2023 10:50 BST
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The Meaning Behind Pope Francis' Meeting With Transgender People

Pope Francis told a young transgender person that “God loves us as we are”, comments that are being seen as his latest outreach to members of the LGBT+ community.

The pope’s comment was in response to Giona, a young Italian individual “torn by the dichotomy between (their Catholic) faith and transgender identity”.

The pope was responding to audio messages from young people in a podcast organized ahead of a Catholic youth festival in Portugal, which he is set to attend next week.

The pontiff said “the Lord always walks with us.... Even if we are sinners, he draws near to help us. The Lord loves us as we are. This is God’s crazy love.”

Pope Francis’s position on the LGBTQ community and gay marriage has been a subject of interest and discussion since he became the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in 2013. While the pope has emphasised the importance of treating LGBTQ individuals with respect, dignity, and love, he upholds the traditional Catholic teaching that marriage is a sacred between a man and a woman.

He garnered praise from the LGBTQ community in 2013 when he was asked about a gay priest in 2013 and he replied, “Who am I to judge?”

During the course of his pontificate, he has met individually and in groups with transgender people.

But at the same time, he has strongly opposed the so-called “gender theory” and upheld the teachings that hold that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered”.

In 2021, Pope Francis authorized the release of a Vatican document asserting that the Catholic Church is unable to bless same-sex unions because it is believed that "God cannot bless sin".

In an interview with Associated Press, he declared that laws criminalising homosexuality were “unjust” and that “being homosexual is not a crime”.

He later clarified that he was merely referring to official Catholic moral teaching that teaches that any sexual act outside of marriage is a sin.

In a note in Spanish, Francis reaffirmed that homosexuality “is not a crime,” adding that he spoke out “in order to stress that criminalisation is neither good nor just.”

“When I said it is a sin, I was simply referring to Catholic moral teaching, which says that every sexual act outside of marriage is a sin,” he said.

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