On a flight from Azerbaijan to Italy, Pope Francis was asked by journalists how he would minister to those feel that their bodies do not match their gender.
His comments were an interesting mix of pastoral care and highly conservative views. Here I've isolated two distinct sections from an article that Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, wrote on Oct. 3, 2016 with the title "Pope lashes out at ‘nasty’ transgender mentality and ‘world war against marriage’".
“I’ve never abandoned them,” he said. “When someone who has this condition comes before Jesus, Jesus would surely never say ‘go away because you’re gay.'”And here's the second section:
Francis recounted the story of a Spanish transgender man who wrote him a letter recounting his transition from a woman to a man....
Francis praised the bishop who accompanied the man throughout his transition. But he criticized the man’s parish priest, who he said would yell “You’ll go to hell” when he saw him on the sidewalk.
Francis recounted that the man found a retired parish priest who had a different attitude: “He said, ‘How long has it been since you’ve gone to confession? Come on. Let’s confess so you can receive Communion.'”
While attention must be paid, he said, “in each case welcome, accompany, discern and integrate them” into the life of the church. “This is what Jesus would do today.”
He concluded by begging reporters flying with him on the papal plane: “Please don’t write ‘The pope blesses trans.’ Please.”
What does this mean? Based on his conversation with the press, he doesn't want them to report that he blesses trans, because he doesn't. Or perhaps he does, but he doesn't want it to get out because people will be upset?? Possible but less likely, in my opinion.
Or maybe he knows what will happen if word gets to God that the pope blesses trans:
That's pure sarcasm on my part; I'd of course be delighted if the Pope blessed trans people.
Delfin Bautista, a trans Latino Catholic who attended World Youth Day this year, says this about the pope:
I have been reflecting on the various messages we have received from the pope this week…live your truth, make a mess, and who am I to judge....Gotta love the spin he puts on that, eh?
Looking at the three papal phrases that resonated with me, I realize that the pope has perhaps subversively blessed and invited us to live our truth by making a mess so that more and more people can live a life that is judgment free.