Pope Francis met with a group of trans people on Thursday. It’s the fourth time for such a meeting, according to the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.
The newspaper reported that Francis already met with some members of the group on April 27, June 22, and August 3, according to the Associated Press. The group had been seeking shelter at a Rome church.
L’Osservatore Romano reports that the latest encounter happened during the pope’s weekly general audience on Wednesday.
The group had been at the Blessed Immaculate Virgin community that welcomed trans people in during the pandemic.
“No one should encounter injustice or be thrown away, everyone has dignity of being a child of God,” L’Osservatore Romano reported Sister Jeanningros as saying. She added that the meeting brought hope to the trans guests.
LGBTQ+ rights advocates have welcomed Francis’s more accepting stances toward queer people than popes before him. However, he has strongly been against the view that gender can be self-determined outside of biology.
The paper said that such ideas on 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.”
The document was roundly condemned internationally by LGBTQ+ rights advocates, who said it would cause more discrimination against transgender people.
While Francis has told parents of LGB children not to reject them and said that God doesn’t disown LGBTQ+ Catholics, he also hasn’t changed the Catholic teaching that gay sex is wrong. The AP notes he also gave approval for a Vatican document that the church can’t bless same-sex marriages because “God cannot bless sin.”