Pope Francis Hub

Pope Francis Holds Private Audience With Trans Man


On Saturday, Pope Francis met with a Diego Neria Lejárraga, a Spanish transgender man. Neria sought the meeting because his congregation discriminated against him after his going through gender reassignment surgery.

The Washington Blade reports that Neria wrote Pope Francis following "rejection" from fellow parishioners, as well as a verbal attack from a priest who called him "the devil's daughter."

Human rights groups are calling the meeting a significant step for the papacy, including Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of Dignity USA:

For the pope to meet with a transgender man about to be married, and for that meeting to result in this man feeling more hopeful about his place in the Church, shows a concern for those at the very margins of our church...I hope the pope listened carefully to this man’s experience, and will speak about what he heard.

Others are cautiously optimistic, including José María Núñez Blanco, president of Fundación Triángulo, a Spanish advocacy group. Again via WB, in a statement Nuñez called the story "good news," but expressed hope that "the Catholic Church ceases to be a machine of hate and suffering for the good of believers and non-believers.”

This story is the latest news in Pope Francis' complex — progressive, but in some ways rigid — stance on LGBT issues.

Pope Francis Warns of 'Insidious Attacks' Against the Family, Tells Catholics Not to Breed 'Like Rabbits'


Closing out his four day trip to the Philippines with an outdoor homily in Manila earlier today, Pope Francis railed against "insidious attacks" against the family in a thinly veiled reference to gay rights, the AP reports:

Pope Francis denounced Monday what he calls the "ideological colonization" of families and the developing world, where he says progressive, Western ideas about birth control and gay rights are increasingly being imposed by groups, institutions or individual nations — often as a condition for development aid.

Francis said Catholics don't have to "be like rabbits" and have more children than is safe or responsible. He said there are plenty of church-approved ways to regulate births. But he said most importantly, no outside institution should impose its views on families. [...]

During the Vatican's recent meeting on the family, African bishops denounced how aid groups and lending institutions often condition their assistance on a country's compliance with their ideals: allowing health care workers to distribute condoms, or withdrawing assistance if legislation discriminating against gays is passed.

"When imposed conditions come from imperial colonizers, they search to make people lose their own identity and make a sameness," he said. "This is ideological colonization."

Earlier in his trip, Pope Francis had warned gay marriage threatened to make the family "disposable."

A record 6 million people were believed to have gathered on the streets of Manila to hear the pope's speech today. Watch footage of the cheering crowd, AFTER THE JUMP...

In related news, Pope Francis is planning to address a joint session of Congress and visit the White House during a trip to D.C. this September. 

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Pope Francis: Gay Marriage Threatens To Make Family 'Disposable'

6a00d8341c730253ef01bb07ada0e5970d-250wiSpeaking in Manila, the Philippines, Pope Francis made no qualms about his and the Catholic Church's opposition to same-sex marriage. The remarks were Francis' clearest and least progressive on the subject since he ascended to the Papacy in March 2013. Not only did Francis speak of the need to uphold and protect “traditional marriage”, criticizing attempts to redefine it, he also cautioned against the threat of moral relativism and against “Malthusian” attempts to alter the Church’s position on birth control. Crux Now reports:

 “The family is threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage, by relativism, by the culture of the ephemeral, by a lack of openness to life,” Francis said.

A Vatican spokesman confirmed Friday evening that, at least in part, the pope had gay marriage in mind.

In November, Francis commented that the heterosexual binary of marriage is “an anthropological fact … that cannot be qualified based on ideological notions or concepts important only at one time in history.”

Francis’ statement in the Philippines follows his remarks less than a week ago in which he criticized “legislation which benefits various forms of cohabitation rather than adequately supporting the family for the welfare of society as a whole.” In Francis’ eyes, this type of legislation marks the family as being “disposable.”

While some, including us here at Towleroad, have speculated as to whether Pope Francis is eyeing a more progressive stance on homosexuality and gay marriage, inspired no doubt by some of the Pope’s more conciliatory remarks towards the LGBT community, the Pope’s most recent statements all seem to be aimed at shutting down any speculation that he, and by extension the Vatican, is considering a dramatic change in dogma when it comes to sexual relations between people of the same gender. 

Crux sums it up nicely:

There was a widespread assumption at the time that Francis was backing the progressive side in that argument, leading to speculation in some conservative Catholic circles that the pontiff had stacked the deck to favor certain outcomes.

In light of the pope’s comments in the Philippines, those conclusions may have to be rethought.

Anti-Gay Cardinal Raymond Burke Blames Catholic Church's Woes On Womankind: VIDEO


Grumpy Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the most outspoken anti-gay Catholic activists, has blamed women for the problems the church is facing today, reports the Irish Times.

6a00d8341c730253ef01b8d07fe14f970c-150wiIn an interview with The New Emangelization -  a website that aims to address the “man crisis” in the church - Burke suggests that Catholicism has become too feminized and argues that the use of altar girls and the women’s rights movement may be the crux of the problem:

“Apart from the priest, the sanctuary has become full of women...the activities in the parish and even the liturgy have been influenced by women and become so feminine in many places that men do not want to get involved. Men are often reluctant to become active in the church. The feminised environment and the lack of the church’s effort to engage men has led many men to simply opt out.”

Burke was in Rome last week to meet Pope Francis following the pontiff’s decision to demote the cardinal from his role in the powerful Apostolic Signatura to a largely ceremonial one with the Knights of Malta.

The cardinal was one of the most vociferous opponents of an attempt last October to introduce language aiming to be more inclusive of gay people and conciliatory on the issue of same-sex marriage.

Speaking at a conference on "the Catholic family" in Ireland last November, Burke said he would refuse holy communion to any politician who has been supportive of same-sex marriage. 

Watch Burke explain why it's "perfectly good and just" to discriminate against gay people, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Pope Francis: Just To Be Clear, Gay Marriage Isn't On the Table - VIDEO


Seemingly backtracking on promises made for a more inclusive Catholic Church, Pope Francis has indicated that same-sex marriage is not on the agenda, reports the Independent.

Seen by some as a reformer, Francis earlier this year suggested the church might support civil unions for same-sex couples. Last month, he demoted anti-gay U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke.

At a meeting of bishops in October, it was declared that gay people have “gifts and qualities to offer.” However, following a backlash from conservatives, the church announced that the statement was part of a “working document” that did not reflect a change in the official Catholic stance on homosexuality.

In an interview published yesterday in La Nacion, Francis said that although the church must help parents to stand by their gay children, official Catholic acceptance of same-sex marriage is not being considered.

Vatican“What [the synod] did talk about was of how a family with a homosexual child, whether a son or a daughter, goes about educating that child, how the family bears up, how to help that family to deal with that somewhat unusual situation.

“That is to say, the synod addressed the family and the homosexual persons in relation to their families, because we come across this reality all the time in the confessional: a father and a mother whose son or daughter is in that situation. This happened to me several times in Buenos Aires.

“We have to find a way to help that father or that mother to stand by their son or daughter.”

However, he added that “nobody mentioned homosexual marriage” at the synod because “it did not cross our minds”.

Last week, the Irish Catholic Bishops's Conference released a 16-page manifesto outlining the chruch's opposition to same-sex marriage.

Watch a report on the opening of the October synod, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Tony Perkins Wants You to Know that the Pope Is Still Firmly Against Gay Marriage: VIDEO


FRC hate leader Tony Perkins recently had a chat with Fox News correspondent Tucker Carlson about Perkins' visit to the Vatican last week for the Pope's discussion on the state of marriage and the family. Perkins was joined at the summit by a number of other anti-gay Christian leaders, as well as representatives from 13 other religions.

Hoping to quash any rumblings that the Pope was changing his tune on marriage, Perkins said in part:

"The Pope was very clear on this, that children have a right to grow up in a home with a father and a mother...Marriage and family are in crisis. And that's not just an American problem, it's a global problem. And so we have a responsibility to do something to give the best possible environment for children to grow up in and that's a mom and a dad...This is not just an issue for the church. We had 14 different religions - taoism, jainism, all these different religions that don't have any theological elements in common, but they have a common understanding of what marriage is because it's rooted in nature. It's rooted in the order of creation."

"Of course," Carlson agreed. 


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