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Pope Francis meets transgender community sheltering in Rome church

by Sophie Drew

Pope Francis has met with a group of transgender people that found shelter in a church in Rome, according to a Vatican newspaper. 

The Blessed Immaculate Virgin community, based on the outskirts of Rome, became a sanctuary for transgender people during the pandemic. 

The Pontiff has already met with members of the transgender community in this church on three previous occasions. 

According to newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Sister Genevieve Jeanningros and Rev. Andrea Conocchia - who both work with the church - believe his visit has brought hope to the people staying in the Torvaianica place of worship.

Quoted in the paper, Sister Jeanningros said: "No one should encounter injustice or be thrown away, everyone has dignity of being a child of God."

Although the Pontiff has often praised charities supporting LGBT+ people, the Catholic Church has not changed its stance on homosexuality.

 In 2021, the Vatican published a document confirming that the Catholic Church would not be blessing same-sex unions, because they still believe them to be a sin. 

Despite this, in 2013, when asked about homosexuality, Pope Francis said: "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?"

In 2016, he told journalists aboard the papal plane that the Catholic Church should apologise to gay people and seek forgiveness from them for the way they have been treated. 

However, later that year, he stated that gender theory was part of a "global war" on marriage.

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