In a closed-door meeting with Catholic bishops last week, Pope Francis criticized schools that teach children it’s okay to assume whatever gender identity feels most natural for them.
The Vatican has since released the transcript of this conversation to the public.
“Today, in schools they are teaching this to children–to children!–that everyone can choose their gender,” he said in the private meeting.
He added that the increased visibility of the trans community is due to "ideological colonizing" through textbooks financed by wealthy institutions in "very influential countries," which he described as "terrible."
He then went on to quote Pope Benedict XVI, who retired in 2013 but still lives at the Vatican.
“Speaking with Pope Benedict, who is well and has a clear mind, he was telling me: ‘Holiness, this is the epoch of sin against God the Creator, he’s intelligent! God created man and woman, God created the world this way, this way, this way, and we are doing the opposite.’”
Pope Francis, who has long been regarded as fairly progressive in terms of LGBT equality, completely misses the bill here, not only denouncing trans inclusion in society, but misinterpreting trans identity as something one "can choose."
This belief stays consistent with a statement he made earlier this year in which he said, "The young need to be helped to accept their own body as it was created,” warning that “absolute power over our own bodies...leads to the delusion that we enjoy absolute power over creation.”
In a statement shared with the Advocate, Kelsey Louie, CEO of Gay Men’s Health Crisis, said he was "saddened and disturbed" by the Pope's remarks.
“Our children deserve to know that of course they have the right to choose, and GMHC applauds all schools that teach students not to oppress who they are, but instead live the life as the gender they most identify with,” he wrote.
He went on to say that in the wake of the horrific mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando this past June, “what we need now is for our world leaders to spread messages of tolerance and acceptance.”
On a more forward-thinking note, Pope Francis announced yesterday that he would be appointing a commission to investigate the possibility of women serving as deacons in the Catholic church, a position one step below priest. As it currently stands, women are not allowed to serve in the clergy of the Roman Catholic church.
h/t: Pink News