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The Pope & Pasta

Pope Francis welcomed a group of transgender women, women with whom he has formed an ongoing relationship, to a special luncheon at the Vatican on November 19, 2023.

The Associated Press reported on this notable group of trans women from just outside Rome, many of whom are sex workers and migrants from Latin America. Thanks to the local parish priest [in the Italian town of Torvaianica], these women have been making monthly visits to Francis’ Wednesday general audiences since 2020, where they are given VIP seats.

"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 Colombian transgender woman. "Then Pope Francis arrived and the doors of the church opened for us."

Part of what Pope Francis has some to open some doors was recent guidance from the Vatican's Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith which said trans people, including those who medically transition, could be accepted for baptism and serve as godparents. The guidance was praised by LGBTQ+ advocates. The trans women of Torvaianica were likewise grateful:

Carla Segovia said for transgender women like herself, being a godparent is the closest thing she will ever get to having a child of her own. She said that the new norms made her feel more comfortable about maybe one day returning fully to the faith that she was baptized in but fell away from after coming out as trans.

Reuters posted a video interview with several of the women, who talk movingly about Pope Francis' impact on their lives, which is available here on the Reuters News Service web page.

For more information regarding LGBTQ+ issues, advocacy, and ministerial efforts of interest to Catholics throughout the United States, follow this link to

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