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Pope Francis decide catholic church welcome or condemn trans people
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How does Pope Francis square what he did Monday with his meetings with trans groups and allowing trans people to be baptized in the church?

On Easter Sunday, Caitlyn Jenner threw a Eucharistic hissy fit, lying (it was a lie — she knew it had been observed on March 31 since 2009) that President Joe Biden had decreed Transgender Day of Visibility on the same day as Easter Sunday. Oh, the heathen that is Biden.

Now, under normal circumstances, Jenner would have to go to confession to atone for her lie. Actually, Jenner would have to go to confession every day for all the evil she spreads.

However, Pope Francis has other ideas about whether the light above Jenner’s confessional door would be green or red. In a Monday declaration, Francis said that attempts to obscure “the sexual difference between man and woman” should be rejected. “It follows that any sex-change intervention, as a rule, risks threatening the unique dignity the person has received from the moment of conception,” the document read.

For Jenner, a Catholic, the fact that Trans Day of Visibility was on Easter Sunday should be the least of her worries. The church is telling Jenner that she is “less than” and a threat to human dignity. She’s right up there with poverty, the death penalty, war, assisted dying, abortion, sexual abuse, and the abuse of women.

Don’t expect everyone’s least favorite trans person to come to the defense of other trans Catholics. When she’s been called “less than” by others, she usually rolls over, to the point that in December of last year, she said she doesn’t consider herself a woman but a trans person.

And therein lies the lie that Jenner perpetuates and the pope validates, and the dilemma before them both. Much like she debates whether she’s a woman, Jenner must now decide if she's a good Catholic or a bad one.

Similarly, Francis and the Roman Catholic Church must decide whether they are with us or against us. For every step forward Francis takes on behalf of the church for LGBTQ+ rights, he then takes two steps back, like he did this week by condemning trans people.

How does Francis square with what he did Monday with what he did in 2022, met four times with transgender groups?

Or, what he did in November of last year when he signed another document that said a person who identifies as transgender can be baptized like any other adult, “as long as there is no risk of causing scandal or disorientation” to other Catholics. While that’s highly subjective, it was another positive sign.

Then on Monday, he took two steps back with his latest Vatican document, trashing trans people. And in begrudging deference to Jenner, no wonder she might be confused about whether she’s a good Catholic.

I’ve heard from some over the years that gays and lesbians wouldn’t have such a hard time being accepted if they weren’t “lumped in” with the transgender community. I shake my head in frustration every time. That’s what I did today, as a Catholic, when I read what Francis endorsed. He seems to be singling trans people out for harsher treatment.

In October 2020, I first wrote about how I thought Pope Francis had a desire to welcome LGBTQ+ people to the church, and I pointed to the horrible history the church had with our community.

“We have been too often ostracized, fired from Catholic teaching jobs, denied communion, condemned to hell, excommunicated, pointed at as sinners, shunned by our Catholic families, abused and preyed — not prayed — upon by Catholic priests, paddled by nuns who called us sissies, written about derogatorily in encyclicals by past pontiffs, denounced as sodomizers, and of course refused all the rites of the church, including marriage, because of who they think we are, which seems pretty hypocritical. Isn't judging another person a sin?”

That’s what made Francis endearing to us because he once said about our legitimacy, “Who am I to judge?”

And last December, I wrote another favorable piece about Francis, saying that at the ripe old age of 87, he was all about out with the old and in with the new in the way he was trying to bring the church into the 21st century. I pointed out that Francis said that U.S. conservatives were going “backward,” replacing faith with ideology, saying, “I want to remind these people that backwardness is useless, and they must understand that there’s a correct evolution in the understanding of questions of faith and morals.”

Monday, Francis went against his own reminder and sounded more like those Christian conservatives he was calling out. That’s a harsh thing to say about Francis, but what he fails to grasp is that what he did Monday gives cover to the hate religious conservatives preach and spread about transgender people. They are under heavy assault right now, and in an election year, there’s no doubt that Francis’s words will be used as part of the right’s hate campaign.

Francis is obviously very anti-abortion, and now coming out as anti-trans emboldens the zealots who will count Francis among their enablers. Instead of taking his steps forward walking with Christ, Francis took two steps backward with those who replace faith with ideology.

Views expressed in The Advocate’s opinion articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Advocate or our parent company, equalpride.

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John Casey

John Casey is senior editor of The Advocate, writing columns about political, societal, and topical issues with leading newsmakers of the day. The columns include interviews with Sam Altman, Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen DeGeneres, Colman Domingo, Jennifer Coolidge, Kelly Ripa and Mark Counselos, Jamie Lee Curtis, Shirley MacLaine, Nancy Pelosi, Tony Fauci, Leon Panetta, John Brennan, and many others. John spent 30 years working as a PR professional on Capitol Hill, Hollywood, the Nobel Prize-winning UN IPCC, and with four of the largest retailers in the U.S.
John Casey is senior editor of The Advocate, writing columns about political, societal, and topical issues with leading newsmakers of the day. The columns include interviews with Sam Altman, Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen DeGeneres, Colman Domingo, Jennifer Coolidge, Kelly Ripa and Mark Counselos, Jamie Lee Curtis, Shirley MacLaine, Nancy Pelosi, Tony Fauci, Leon Panetta, John Brennan, and many others. John spent 30 years working as a PR professional on Capitol Hill, Hollywood, the Nobel Prize-winning UN IPCC, and with four of the largest retailers in the U.S.