A group of struggling transgender sex workers in Italy recently found a surprising beneficiary: a cardinal working under Pope Francis.
Cardinal Konrad Krajewski is the Vatican's distributor of alms, overseeing philanthropy for the Catholic Church. Krajewski was told of the plight of trans sex workers facing destitution because of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting quarantine. Informed that many of the sex workers, living in a beach town near Rome, were undocumented and unable to obtain government aid, Krajewski leapt into action. The cardinal, nicknamed "the Pope's Robin Hood," wired the sex workers enough money to feed and care for themselves, Reuters reports.
"I don't understand why this is getting so much attention," Cardinal Konrad Krajewski told Reuters. "This is ordinary work for the Church, it's normal. This is how the Church is a field hospital."
Speaking to Reuters, Krajewski repeatedly expressed empathy for the plight of the sex workers.
"Everything is closed," he said. "They don't have any resources. They went to the pastor (who referred them to Krajewski). They could not have gone to a politician or a parliamentarian. And the pastor came to us.
"They are really in difficulty because sometimes their passports were taken away by the mafia pimps who control them. We follow the gospel."
At 56, Krajewski is one of the youngest cardinals in the world and often holds his hand out to the disadvantaged and marginalized. His worldview, especially in regards to LGBTQ people, is a refreshing change from the official dogma of the church, which rejects both same-sex marriage and transgender identity.