Pope Francis has responded to concerns raised by a Maltese LGBTIQ parents' group over fears that a new Vatican document could be interpreted as condemnation of transgender people. 

In early April, the Vatican released a document titled Dignita Infinita, which outlines contemporary threats to human dignity, including war, digital violence, gender theory and sex changes, amongst other topics. 

Drachma - a Maltese group for parents of LGBTIQ people, felt the need to write to the Pope about this document as they feared it could further sour the relationship of queer Catholics to the Church. 

Pope Francis, they said, has responded to their concerns with an ”open heart”.

Even though the document maintained the Church’s long-standing position on gender theory and gender affirming surgery, Drachma, felt they had to push back against this position. 

Drachma is an organization that provides a space for anyone who believes in God and is seeking sexual and spiritual integration within their life.

Louise Grech, the coordinator of Drachma Parents said, “There were lots of good points in the Digita Infinita, but the message relating to trans people was abrasive and merited a response.”

That is why, on April 23, the organisation sent a letter to Pope Francis outlining their concerns.

“Almost immediately after we sent the letter, we received a response in which he said he received our message with an open heart and encouraged us to continue our work,” said Grech.

Louisa Grech the coordinator of Drachma Parents Photo: Drachma Parents FacebookLouisa Grech the coordinator of Drachma Parents Photo: Drachma Parents Facebook

The organisation fears that outlining gender theory and affirming care as a 'threat to human dignity' could further isolate Catholic trans people and their families from each other, their communities and their faith. 

“We are already seeing Trans people being kicked out of their homes and an increase in suicidal ideation,” said Grech.

Such drastic reactions often result from the parents of trans children feeling wary of society’s reaction to their children’s gender identity or because of their religious beliefs pushing them into a dangerous dogmatic direction, she said. 

Grech also noted that it was clear to her that there was no consultation with the community or experts.

“This needs to be collaborative, and the Church needs to be on board. We need them to listen, to learn, and to understand.”

Nonetheless, the organisation maintained that they believe Pope Francis has helped change the culture positively.

They outlined instances where the Pope met with trans women and when he met with Sister Jeannine Gramick, a nun who was shunned for working tirelessly with the LGBTIQ community.

Grech hopes there will be more space for communication and collaboration on these matters in the future and maintains that her organisation will continue to move forward in a positive direction. 

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