Pope responds with ‘open heart’ to LGBTQ document criticism

open heart

Responding with an “open heart,” Pope Francis has replied to Maltese parents of LGBTQ individuals who criticised a recent Vatican document denouncing gender theory and gender-affirming surgeries.

In a letter dated April 30 Francis commended Drachma Parents, an organisation supporting LGBTQ Catholics, for their efforts. He described their work as “very beautiful and good”.

In their initial letter to the pope on April 23, Drachma Parents voiced concerns that the Vatican’s document, titled Dignitas Infinita, could alienate transgender Catholics and their families. They highlighted potential difficulties remaining in the church and criticised the document’s understanding of gender complexities, contrasting it with the pope’s inclusive approach.

Grave violations

The Vatican’s document, released on April 8, broadens the church’s definition of “grave violations” to include issues beyond sexual ethics. It addresses gender-affirming surgery and gender theory alongside topics like war, poverty and sexual abuse.

Drachma Parents raised several criticisms in the letter to Francis, including:

  • Concerns over possible rise in homelessness among transgender youth
  • Potential increase in hate speech, discrimination and violence
  • Moral equivalence drawn between medical interventions for transgender individuals and other grave violations
  • Failure to acknowledge transgender persons’ pursuit of physical and mental integrity
  • Lack of scientific or theological studies cited within the Vatican document

The letter also called for an international symposium on sexual and gender diversity involving LGBTQ individuals, their parents, researchers and theologians.

Intrinsically disordered

Joseanne Peregin, a founding member of Drachma Parents, expressed hope that the document would clarify language surrounding LGBTQ issues. However, she fears it may instead alienate transgender individuals and their families.

In particular, Peregin said the church’s use of the phrase “intrinsically disordered” to describe same-sex relations “creates a ripple effect among many millions of faithful because the LGBTQ reality is put in a negative framework”.

Drachma Parents viewed the pope’s “open heart” response positively.

The group remains committed to supporting LGBTQ Catholics and fostering dialogue with the Church.

“We are determined to continue in our mission to support other parents and continue building a bridge between the LGBTQ community and our Church” the Drachma Parents’ letter concludes. “Yes, we still call it ‘our Church’.”

The National Catholic Reporter examined the correspondence between the pope and Drachma Parents. Drachma has requested that the full contents of Francis’ response be kept private.


National Catholic Reporter

The Malta Independent

CathNews New Zealand


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