Our Lady of Pride

— Santa Muerte Loves Her Queer Children

By Andrew Chesnut

Santa Muerte, a folk saint of death, opens her arms to all LGBTQ+ people. Although there are many queer-coded saints within the Catholic Church, from Saint Sebastian to Joan of Arc to Juana Inés de la Cruz, none is more comforting to many LGBTQ+ Mexicans and other LGBTQ+ individuals around the world than La Santísima. It may seem strange that people who fight for their identities and existence on a daily basis would embrace a figure of death, but for queer devotees A.B. and Ash Mestizo, she is a source of solidarity and comfort.

A.B. is a nonbinary person living in Canada who was raised in the Catholic Church but parted ways with it many years ago due to continued homophobia and transphobia. They have struggled with mental illness all their life, acknowledging that “it is a battle which, I expect, I will lose one day.” Two and a half years ago, they attempted suicide but stopped as a divine presence called out to them. It was only until this year, describing the experience to a friend, that their friend suggested it may have been Santa Muerte’s voice in the darkness.

Similarly, pansexual Ash Mestizo was born into a Nicaraguan Catholic family. Although his grandmother was extremely devout, running the whole family’s spiritual health like many Latinx matriarchs, his mother was a free spirit who took advantage of the family’s inherited spiritual gifts. Seeing her use these gifts–connecting her and other members of the family to the spirit world and allowing superhuman abilities, Mestizo sought answers in Catholicism, then Evangelical Protestantism, Viccan, Asatru, ancestral folk magic, and finally sorcery.

After Mestizo’s children were born, he became involved in LGBTQ+ and BIPOC activism, climate advocacy, and anti-racism work, putting away their magical practice and ancestor veneration. It was only when his grandmother died that he needed a connection to the spirit world, right at the time that he found Santa Muerte. Ash “saw in her [his grandmother], the Latinx women I’d known, who raised me, who’d given me my heritage and my spirituality and my magic.”

This was one of the reasons A.B. was worried about joining the New Religious Movement (NRM) of Santa Muerte. Because they have no Spanish or Indigenous roots, A.B. first believed devotion to the skeleton often wearing a black cloak or wedding dress, , would be cultural or religious appropriation. However, as they have come to discover through Facebook groups like Devoted to Death, led by Dr. Andrew Chesnut, author of Devoted to Death: Santa Muerte, the Skeleton Saint (2017, Oxford University Press), Santa Muerte is one of the most universal faith figures as what she represents is the one experience that unifies and equalizes everyone, and her group of followers is growing meteorically, as far away as Poland and Ukraine.

According to Dr. Chesnut, Santa Muerte is the “fastest growing new religious movement in the Americas.” The COVID-19 pandemic likely contributed to this growth, with Chesnut referring to her as the newest plague saint, but one of the largest group of her followers are LGBTQ+ people of faith, often those raised in the Catholic Church but felt abandoned and traumatized by a Church that viewed their identities as a sin, continue not to recognize gay marriage, and limit access to gender affirming healthcare.

According to a 2020 study published by the Williams Institute, almost half (46.7%) of LGBT adults are religious, with almost 25% of religious LGBT adults identifying as Roman Catholic. It’s estimated that 1.3 million LGBT Roman Catholics live in the United States, and of these 1.3 million, LGBT adults are more likely to be highly or moderately religious if they are Latinx. Even so, of the 65% of Latinx individuals who were born in the US and raised Catholic, 23% said that they no longer identify as Catholic, including Mestizo, largely due to  sex abuse within the Church, queerphobia, treatment of those in poverty or on the margins, and religious trauma.

Caption: “Our Lady of Pride”

I founded and currently direct Queer and Catholic, A CLGS Oral History Project based out of the Pacific School of Religion, and have discovered many LGBTQ+ people of faith who feel disenfranchised inside the Church. Yet, at the same time, they feel tied to it because it is all they have ever known spiritually, or often in the case of Latinx, Irish, Italian, or Polish Catholics, the Church is an integral part of their identities. Every celebration, from birthdays to baptisms to saint feast days to funerals is celebrated inside the Church so to leave would be recognizing a spiritual and cultural death that many queer people fear.

Mestizo is no longer Catholic or Christian , but still finds meaning in the Catholic interpretation and worship of Santa Muerte. “The Catholic-style interaction with Her made sense as someone who grew up with that modality of engagement with the Divine.”

The Church they once loved (and still often do love) does not love them back and creates a culture where families abandon and persecute them. But many still yearn for spiritual meaning and comfort in Catholic material cultures, so they turn to folk Catholicism, including the NRM of Santa Muerte. It is liberation through acceptance of death, as death is more imminent for those who live on the fringes of life, including LGBTQ+ individuals. LGBTQ+ folks are often thrown out of their homes, disowned by family and friends, undergo conversion therapy, or worse, all of which cause massive trauma and put queer lives in danger. “Some of us are too visible at the wrong moment,” A.B. writes, “and are murdered for it.”

“Queer folks have already failed at being acceptable to the Church and to society at large,” A.B. explained, “We have already failed at being acceptable to our families. If you’re already dead, why worry? Love fully. Fight recklessly. Seize joy where it lies, for as long as it lasts.”

Santa Muerte is therefore a personified version of Memento Mori, or a culture that forces people to confront their own mortality and eventual demise. In doing so, she cleanses LGBTQ+ people who often hide their entire lives out of fear or internalize the guilt and shame vocalized by the Church, their family members, and others, allowing her LGBTQ+ devotees to let go of the social baggage that they carry. Her devotion also resonates with people of the LGBTQ+ community who have lost friends and loved ones to the AIDS pandemic in the 1980s, when the government left LGBTQ+ people for death. Santa Muerte stands defiantly draped in the AIDS quilt.

For people living their lives in fear of murder, torture, or worse because of who they are, death strangely is the one true constant, the one true comfort and absolute, the one experience that unifies all people–everyone will die.

A.B. finds comfort in knowing that Santa Muerte will call out to them again, trusting that when she does, they will be ready to pass peacefully in her embrace. This comfort is the result of the physical and emotional trauma religious institutions and societies inflict on their LGBTQ+ members, but in embracing it, it helps people like A.B. “find the strength to fight a little longer; maybe she will quiet some of that deep pain and help you to turn your anger away from yourself and towards the enemies who put you in the shadows. A soldier who knows they’re about to die has nothing to fear.” At the same time, it also provides Mestizo with mental strength and helps him to find a fuller life as “witchy, queer, healthier, happier.”

Complete Article HERE!

Catholic diocese agrees to pay $100 million settlement to hundreds of abuse victims

— The bankrupt Diocese of Syracuse in New York will have to pay at least half out of its own pocket and could dig into funds donated by parishioners to cover most of the remainder.

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse.

By Corky Siemaszko

The Diocese of Syracuse, New York, has agreed to a $100 million settlement with parishioners who claimed they were preyed on by priests, the biggest payout by a Roman Catholic diocese in the U.S. since at least 2018.

But, for now, not a dime of that money is coming from the six insurance companies that cover the Diocese of Syracuse, lawyers involved in the case said Friday.

Instead, as part of its bankruptcy proceedings, the diocese itself will have to shell out $50 million, the parishes in the diocese will have to contribute $45 million, and other entities aligned with the diocese will pay $5 million, to settle the 411 abuse claims filed by 387 people, the lawyers said.

This means that, when the ushers pass around the collection baskets at Sunday Mass at churches across the Diocese of Syracuse, some of that money could be used to pay the victims, Danielle Cummings, a spokesperson for the diocese, confirmed.

“People do give money to the parishes in the general collection,” Cummings said. “And unless they specify that this donation is going to a special project, yes, it could wind up going towards the settlement.”

That said, Cummings added, the diocese intends to “pursue our insurers” while also looking into financing to pay the diocese’s portion of the settlement.

Also, individual parishes may have to tap their savings and investments, Cumming said.

“Statewide insurers have denied, delayed, and ducked their obligations,” attorney Jeff Anderson, who represented the priest sex abuse victims, said earlier in a statement. “It is yet another example of their nefarious strategies employed across the State of New York and the nation.”

Attorney Cynthia LaFave, who worked on the case with Anderson, and another lawyer involved in the settlement who spoke on background, said the Diocese of Syracuse was carrying insurance designed to protect the church from sex abuse lawsuits.

But because they are still negotiating a final settlement with the diocese, LaFave said she could not identify these insurers.

“Yes, they have carried insurance throughout the years, in fact, they have several insurers,” LaFave told NBC News. “But we’re not allowed to discuss that while we are in the midst of settlement discussions.”

In a statement, the diocese said the insurance companies have yet to reach an agreement with the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, which is a federally appointed body that represents the interests of the victims.

“As we recently completed our third year of mediation, the assigned mediator in the case did not include insurance carriers in this proposal, as they have yet to agree on coverage issues with the Creditors Committee,” the statement said. “The mediator’s priority was to reach a settlement with the Diocese and its entities first and then pursue insurers.”

Bishop Douglas Lucia

In an open letter to his flock Thursday, Bishop Douglas Lucia acknowledged the settlement will be a heavy lift for his diocese.

“I can tell you as shocking as the settlement amount may seem to leaders of our own parishes and Catholic entities, more appalling and heart-rending to me is the pain and mistreatment experienced by the survivors of child and adult sexual abuse at the hands of those they thought they could trust,” Lucia wrote. “I cannot apologize enough for the abuse which happened or for any neglect in dealing with it. This is why the final settlement will include commitments meant to strengthen our safe environment protocols to further ensure the past does not repeat itself.”

Kevin Braney, chair of the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors and a sex abuse survivor, said the settlement is a “significant step forward in the healing process.”

“I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude to my fellow survivors and their families, for their endurance as they have patiently awaited this news,” Braney said in a statement to local media.

The proposed settlement, which still requires court and creditor approval, appears to be the largest in the U.S. since the $210 million settlement reached in 2018 by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and 400 sex abuse survivors.

But $170 million of that money was paid out by the Minnesota archdioceses’ insurance companies, according to news accounts from that time.

The largest Roman Catholic priest sex abuse settlement thus far in the U.S. happened in July 2007, when the Archdiocese of Los Angeles agreed to pay $660 million to 508 victims.

Two months later, the Diocese of San Diego agreed in September 2007 to pay nearly $200 million to 144 priest abuse victims, according to news reports.

Those payouts were expected to be paid by a combination of the church’s cash and insurance.

The Diocese of Syracuse filed for bankruptcy protection in 2020 after the state of New York temporarily suspended its statute of limitations to give people who claimed they were sexually abused the chance to sue for damages.

Five of the seven other Roman Catholic dioceses in New York State have also sought bankruptcy protection after they were deluged by lawsuits filed by victims of predator priests.

Complete Article HERE!

Sinead O’Connor Condemned Church Abuse Early. America Didn’t Listen.

— In Ireland, Ms. O’Connor spoke out about abuse and the complicity of religious institutions. When she came to the United States, many were not ready to hear her — yet.

Sinead O’Connor shocked many Americans by tearing up a picture of the pope on Saturday Night Live, decades before a reckoning over abuse in the American Roman Catholic Church.

By Liam Stack

Americans began to grapple with a nationwide epidemic of child abuse in Catholic parishes and other religious organizations in 2002, after a landmark Boston Globe investigation revealed a pattern of misdeeds and cover-ups in Boston that went back decades.

Ten years earlier, Sinead O’Connor became a pop culture pariah in the United States for an on-air protest intended to raise awareness of the same problem.

The backlash to her actions — tearing up a picture of Pope John Paul II on “Saturday Night Live” and then shouting “Fight the real enemy!” — was swift.

Prominent Americans, including celebrities like Madonna and Joe Pesci, denounced her. Protesters brought a 30-ton steamroller to crush her cassettes in Rockefeller Center. Catholic leaders were outraged, including some who were forced to resign years later for their roles in covering up abuse.

Many people in America derided her as “somebody looking for attention,” said Cahir O’Doherty, the arts editor of The Irish Voice, an Irish diaspora newspaper in New York City. “It never occurred to anyone that maybe she had a point,” he added.

But back in Ms. O’Connor’s native Ireland, a reckoning over abuse in the church was already beginning.

“In America, she was very, very ahead of her time for doing that,” said Mr. O’Doherty. “She said ‘enough’ and the culture caught up with her.”

The death of Ms. O’Connor at 56, which was announced on Wednesday, was met with an outpouring of remembrances from around the world. But in Ireland and its diaspora communities, there was a more pointed grief at the loss of an artist many saw as both a symbol of and catalyst for a long-needed reckoning over abuse within the church.

Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston, who resigned in 2002, said at the time that her actions were “a gesture of hate.” A spokesman for Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles, who was removed from public duties in 2013, called her actions “just another example of anti-Catholicism.”

On Wednesday, Catholics for Choice, an American group, called Ms. O’Connor a prophetic heroine “unafraid to demand justice for victims of clerical sexual abuse, challenge patriarchy, and speak truth to power — even when her voice was a lonely one and it cost her dearly to do so.”

In the Ireland of Ms. O’Connor’s youth, politics were dominated by the Catholic Church. For decades, priests at the parish level saw part of their role as protecting the community from sexual promiscuity, homosexuality and unwed mothers and their children.

To do so, they used an unwritten, extralegal power to send women accused of such sins to reform schools, workhouses and other facilities run by Catholic orders.

It was a world with which Ms. O’Connor was intimately familiar, and her experiences in one such facility as a teenager, after enduring years of abuse from her mother, set the stage for the moment on “Saturday Night Live.”

“She had already seen what happened to spirited girls and gay kids in Ireland, and to her it wasn’t an abstraction, it was her biography,” said Mr. O’Doherty, who grew up gay in rural Ireland and moved to the United States in 1996. “She came out of an era of silence that swallowed spirited girls and gay boys, that consumed Irish life, and that you could vanish into. And she nearly did.”

In interviews later in life, and in her 2021 memoir, Ms. O’Connor described her mother pinning her to the floor and pummeling her, while forcing her to say over and over again, “I am nothing.”

She grew into a rebellious teenager, skipping school and stealing. After she was caught shoplifting a pair of gold shoes to wear to a rock concert, a social worker suggested that a “rehabilitation center” might set her straight.

That is how, at the age of 14, Sinead O’Connor was sent to live at An Grianán Training Centre in Dublin, which was run by the Order of Our Lady of Charity. It had formerly been a Magdalene Laundry, a facility where a “fallen woman” might spend her entire life washing the dirty laundry of the surrounding community.

The facilities formed a nucleus of physical and sexual abuse in Ireland. A government report in 2009 said tens of thousands of children were abused in industrial schools alone, a staggering figure in a country with barely more than five million people. At one, the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, the remains of hundreds of babies and fetuses were found in a septic tank in 2017.

An Grianán also housed older women who had been sent there in their youths. In interviews in later years, Ms. O’Connor, who lived there for two years, spoke of interacting with women who were there because they “had their babies taken off them, or because they were sexually abused and complained and nobody believed them.”

Ms. O’Connor said the younger women were kept separated from the older women, but sometimes as punishment the younger girls were sent to sleep in an infirmary wing. She called it “a secret hospice” where older women were sent before they died.

“There was no staff,” she recalled in a 2021 interview. “These ladies were calling out all night, ‘Nurse! Nurse!,’ and there was nobody to come.”

Ms. O’Connor described nights there as horrifying and panic-inducing, but also said she had come to feel “terribly, terribly lucky that god put me” in An Grianán “because otherwise those women, we would never have heard of them.”

The system of abuse had been normalized, spoken of only in hushed tones, in Ireland for decades, Ms. O’Connor said. “But I met them at their dying moment and saw them every day, the way they were treated.”

It was also at An Grianán, she said, that a nun gave her a guitar for the very first time.

By the time Ms. O’Connor became famous in the United States for her first album in 1987 — at the age of 21, just a few years out of An Grianán — the first rumbles of church accountability in her home country had begun. They would grow louder thanks in part to her willingness to describe her own life experiences.

She was a frequent presence at street protests and charity events for a range of social causes, including abortion rights, a procedure she publicly said she had undergone, and equal rights for people of color, migrants and L.G.B.T.Q. people. (Ms. O’Connor described herself as a lesbian in 2000 and as bisexual in 2005, but did not discuss the topic in later years.)

Ms. O’Connor holds her young daughter, who is cupping her mother’s face, at a protest.
Ms. O’Connor, with her daughter Roisin, during an antiracism demonstration in Dublin.

But she became most associated with efforts to combat abuse within the Catholic Church, decades before the scale of the problem within American religious organizations — from the Catholic Church to the Southern Baptist Convention to the Hasidic dynasties of New York — became common knowledge.

One the church’s most high-profile and influential priests in the United States, Theodore E. McCarrick, was expelled from the church in 2019 and is facing sexual assault charges in two states, the first and only American cardinal to be criminally charged in connection with sex abuse.

A man in his 90s stands stooped over at a courtroom lectern surrounded by lawyers and guards.
Former Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick at his arraignment on charges that he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old boy.

In her memoir, Ms. O’Connor wrote that the picture she tore in half on TV was not just any picture of the pope. It was a picture of the pope’s Mass in the Irish city of Drogheda in 1979, which he dedicated to “the young people of Ireland” and which had drawn 300,000 worshipers.

That same photograph had been the only decoration on her mother’s wall, she wrote, and had looked down on them both as her mother pinned her to the floor and beat her.

After her mother died in a car accident in 1985, she took the picture, determined to someday destroy it. To her it was an object that “represented lies and liars and abuse,” she wrote.

“The type of people who kept these things were devils like my mother,” she wrote. “I never knew when or where or how I would destroy it, but destroy it I would when the right moment came.”

When she took the stage on Saturday Night Live to perform Bob Marley’s “War,” she meant to start a broader conversation, she later said. She even changed the lyrics to make it about the abuse of children. And she had her mother’s picture with her.

As she began to sing, she knew the moment had come.

Complete Article HERE!

Portugal is starting the atoning process for clergy sex abuse.

— Here’s what other countries have done

Bishop Jose Ornelas


While the Catholic Church in the U.S., Australia and some other countries began coming to terms with their clergy sexual abuse legacies years ago and set up mechanisms to compensate victims, the hierarchy in Portugal has only recently offered an account and bungled its initial response to victims.

Pope Francis will meet with abuse survivors during his upcoming trip to Lisbon for World Youth Day, and will likely hear complaints that the Portuguese hierarchy initially refused to entertain compensation options for victims outside court.

Here’s a look at the countries that have articulated plans for providing financial reparations to victims beyond legal judgments or settlements.


The German church has been making voluntary payments to abuse survivors for over a decade, though the amounts offered haven’t satisfied groups representing victims. A system that took effect in 2021 provided for payments of up to 50,000 euros ($55.400) per victim — replacing a previous program under which payments averaged about 5,000 euros.

Pressure for higher payments was increased by a court’s ruling in mid-June that the Cologne archdiocese must pay 300,000 euros in compensation to a former altar boy who was repeatedly abused by a priest in the 1970s. An independent payment-setting body that decides on claims subsequently said it expects the Cologne ruling, if it stands at the end of the legal process, to have an “influence on the financial payment framework” for its own decisions.

Under the church program, abuse survivors are advised to contact independent commissioners for individual dioceses or orders, who can help them fill out an application form which they then forward to the decision-making body that sets the payments. According to the commission’s annual report for last year, it approved 1,809 applications with a total value of 40.1 million euros in 2021 and 2022. Taking into account deductions for previous payments, that meant a total payout of 32.9 million euros.

The system allows for payments of above 50,000 euros in “particularly severe hardship cases.” In its first two years, the commission set 119 payments of between 50,000 and 100,000 euros, and 24 of more than 100,000 euros. Survivors can file objections to the panel’s decisions.

A church-commissioned report in 2018 concluded that at least 3,677 people were abused by clergy in Germany between 1946 and 2014.


The French bishops conference created an independent body to assess claims for reparations to victims after a church-commissioned report in 2021 estimated that some 330,000 children in France had been sexually abused by church personnel over 70 years. The bishops conference launched a solidarity fund to help pay the compensation, which in 2022 reported it had raised 20 million euros.

The independent review body, known as the Independent National Authority for Recognition and Reparation, or INIRR, handles claims of abuse by diocesan priests and personnel. It reported in March that more than 1,180 victims had come forward to claim compensation, 404 of whom had received support while the rest were waiting for their cases to be examined.

INIRR chief Marie Derain de Vaucresson has acknowledged delays in processing the cases. At a briefing in March, Derain de Vaucresson said 80% of the sums granted so far topped 20,000 euros, including 40 people who received the maximum amount, set at 60,000 euros.

A separate mechanism, the Recognition and Reparation Commission, receives claims by victims of members of religious orders. In its 2022 report, the commission said it had reviewed 277 claims and decided 112 warranted compensation. It has paid out 4.161 million euros to date, with an average recommended payout of 37,000 euros.


After the abuse scandal exploded publicly in the U.S. in 2002, with the Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” investigation, U.S. bishops drafted a “zero tolerance” policy for abusers and comprehensive child protection policies that are now considered the gold standard by the Vatican. Decisions about compensation are far less unified, crafted by individual dioceses and religious orders, and pale in comparison to the enormous costs the church has paid out as a result of lawsuits and settlements.

According to the U.S. bishops’ 2022 annual report, U.S. dioceses spent $95.9 million last year in settlements and $6.3 million in other compensation to victims. U.S. religious orders spent $30.7 million in settlements and $553,000 in other forms of compensation last year. Since 2014, the combined payouts to victims via settlements and compensation from both dioceses and religious orders tops $1.4 billion, with the vast majority of that outlay, $1.1 billion, coming out of legal settlements. Those figures don’t include legal fees.


Australia’s Royal Commission, the highest form of inquiry, spent four years investigating and documenting child sexual abuse in Australian institutions, religious and not. In 2017 it reported that between 1980 and 2015, 4,444 people reported they had been abused at more than 1,000 Catholic institutions across Australia.

Among the report’s key recommendations was the creation of a national redress mechanism for victims. The National Redress Scheme, which compensates victims of all institutional abuse, not just Catholic, reported that as of July 14, 12,145 payments had been made totaling approximately $1,077 billion Australian dollars (US$727 million). The organization provided no breakdown for Catholic reparations.


As in Portugal, Spain’s Catholic Church is a relative newcomer to reckoning with its abuse legacy, reporting just last month after its first investigation that some 927 victims had identified 729 abusers in the church since 1945. But there is no uniform policy for compensating victims.

In its most recent update to its norms for handling cases, Spain’s Catholic bishops conference said in May that individual bishops “may” propose compensation “from those who are responsible for causing them.”

Anne Barrett Doyle, of the online resource BishopAccountability.org, notes that such a formulation shows the Spanish bishops “don’t recognize an institutional obligation to compensate victims.” While some dioceses and religious orders have negotiated settlements on a case-by-case basis, officially speaking “they believe that damages should be paid by the perpetrator,” she said.


Poland’s Catholic Church also is a reluctant newcomer to atoning for abuse. After devastating television documentaries showed the scope of abuse and cover-up in the Polish church, the Polish bishops conference created the St. Joseph Foundation to “support people harmed by sexual abuse in the church environment and their relatives by providing therapeutic, medical and educational assistance.” But high-ranking church officials have been adamant that they don’t pay “compensation” per se to victims, and the church has vigorously fought lawsuits seeking to hold it liable for harm, according to Polish media.

Complete Article HERE!

Pope tells transgender person: ‘God loves us as we are’

— Pope Francis has previously said “who am I to judge?” when asked about the LGBTQ community.

Pope Francis at a Mass on Sunday to celebrate the World Day of Grandparents and the elderly at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.

Pope Francis has told a young transgender person that “God loves us as we are,” his latest outreach gesture towards the LGBTQ community.

His comments, released by Vatican media on Tuesday, were in a podcast in which Francis listened and responded to audio messages from young people ahead of a Catholic youth festival which he will attend in Portugal next week.

One of the young people was Giona, an Italian in their early 20s who said they were “torn by the dichotomy between (their Catholic) faith and transgender identity.”

Francis replied that “the Lord always walks with us. … Even if we are sinners, he draws near to help us. The Lord loves us as we are. This is God’s crazy love.”

The Catholic Church teaches that members of the LGBTQ community should be treated with respect, compassion and sensitivity, and their human rights respected.

Whether the church can and should be more welcoming toward LGBTQ people, for example by offering blessings for same-sex unions, is a particularly sensitive topic.

Francis has famously said “who am I to judge?” in an answer to a question specifically about gay people and has condemned laws criminalizing members of the LGBTQ community as a sin and an injustice.

At the same time, the 86-year-old pontiff has reaffirmed that marriage can only be understood as a life-long union between a man and a woman. He backs civil laws giving same-sex couples rights in bureaucratic matters such as pensions and health care.

Conservatives have contested Francis’ more welcoming and less judgmental attitude towards the LGBTQ community, although he consistently refers to traditional Catholic teaching that says same-sex attraction is not sinful but same-sex acts are.

An upcoming world summit of bishops, due to convene this October and in 2024, is expected to discuss the church’s stance towards LGBT people, women and Catholics who have divorced and remarried outside the church.

Complete Article HERE!