Does this pope give you hope? Many LGBT Catholics say yes -- the phrase is even emblazoned on stickers -- but others remain critical or skeptical. And remarks he made about "gender theory" to the authors of a newly published book puts another mark in the minus column for this mixed-record pontiff.
National Catholic Reporter
, which explains that Pope Francis is writing about "Herods" that " disfigure the face of man and woman, destroying creation," here are some quotes from the pontiff featured in
Pope Francis: This Economy Kills:
Let's think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to annihilate in a few instants a very high number of human beings. Let's think also of genetic manipulation, of the manipulation of life, or of the gender theory, that does not recognize the order of creation.
With this attitude, man commits a new sin, that against God the Creator. The true custody of creation does not have anything to do with the ideologies that consider man like an accident, like a problem to eliminate.
God has placed man and woman and the summit of creation and has entrusted them with the earth. The design of the Creator is written in nature.
Pope Francis: This Economy Kills
was written by two Italian journalists, who
interviewed the pope late last year
. Media reports about the pope's criticism of "gender theory" come just a month after Pope Francis
met privately with a transgender man
and his fiancee. The man, Diego Neria Lejarraga, had written a letter about being rejected by his parish in Spain and being called "the devil's daughter" by a priest. He
subsequently told CNN
that he thinks Pope Francis "loves the whole world. I think there's not -- in his head, in his way of thinking, discrimination against anyone. I'm speaking about him, not the institution."
Yet the pope has also been criticized for a lack of policy changes (which most observers grant are unlikely) and critical statements about same-sex marriage and nontraditional families. It's possible that some of his statements are an effort to appear more conservative after a bishops' meeting last year that initially seemed promising for LGBT inclusion but did not turn out that way. Another synod on LGBT and other family-related issues will follow in October.
"It should be noted that the pope has never tone-corrected the church's views on transgender individuals," wrote Molloy, who pointed to antitransgender statements from Francis's immediate predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, as then being the most recent papal discussion on trans issues.
"Why has [Pope Francis] not said a word in defense of transgender people, with Catholic churches regularly demonizing us during homilies, and with Catholic organizations continuing to lobby against legislation that would end the practice of systematically discriminating against transgender people in housing, employment, and public accommodations?, Molloy continued. Why has he remained silent in our plight?"
Within the Catholic Church, transgender issues are so sensitive that one nun has for years
run a secret ministry
for trans people under the moniker Sister Monica.