Pope Francis hosts trans-identifying men at Vatican luncheon

Pope Francis looks on during his weekly general audience on September 20, 2023, at St Peter's square in The Vatican.
Pope Francis looks on during his weekly general audience on September 20, 2023, at St Peter's square in The Vatican. | TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis invited a group of trans-identified men to dine with him during a recent luncheon at the Vatican.

The pontiff included the group of trans-identifying men to join him and about 1,000 other poor and homeless people for a lunch last Sunday in the papal audience hall to commemorate the Catholic Church’s World Day of the Poor, according to The Associated Press.

Many of the trans-identifying men are Latin American migrants and prostitutes who live in Torvaianica near Rome, according to the AP, which noted that they and Pope Francis have grown close after he helped them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After they showed up to the church of the Rev. Andrea Conocchia, who encouraged them to reach out Pope Francis, the pontiff reportedly reached out to meet them as they struggled with lack of income since many were not legally allowed in Italy. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vatican bussed the women to a clinic to get the shot even ahead of other Italians, according to the AP. 

They continue to be given prominent seats during his general audience they attend each month, the AP reported. They also reportedly receive medicine, money and shampoo any day they need it.

“Before, the church was closed to us. They didn’t see us as normal people, they saw us as the devil,” said Andrea Paola Torres Lopez, a trans-identifying man from Colombia. “Then Pope Francis arrived and the doors of the church opened for us."

Carla Segovia, a prostitute from Argentina, told Reuters, "We transgenders here in Italy feel a bit more human because the fact that Pope Francis brings us closer to the Church is a beautiful thing."

"Because we need some love," Segovia added.

The luncheon came weeks after the Vatican's doctrinal office issued a document earlier this month explaining that trans-identified individuals can be baptized and serve as godparents in some circumstances.

The guidance, which was signed by Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernandéz and approved by Pope Francis on Oct. 31, stipulated that people who have undergone trans surgical procedures or taken cross-sex hormones can be baptized provided "there are no situations in which there is a risk of generating public scandal or disorientation among the faithful."

Citing the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the document notes that when baptism "is received without repentance for grave sins, the subject does not receive sanctifying grace, although they do receive the sacramental character," according to a translation of the document by the Vatican News.

Pope Francis has been publicly critical of transgender ideology, describing it to La Nacion in March as "one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations."

Francis emphasized the difference between endorsing LGBT ideology and being compassionate toward people who struggle with sexuality or gender.

"I always distinguish between what pastoral care is for people who have a different sexual orientation and what gender ideology is," he said. "They are two different things. Gender ideology, at this time, is one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations."

Jon Brown is a reporter for The Christian Post. Send news tips to

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