In his ongoing bid to make the Catholic Church more inclusive, Pope Francis affirmed to a young transgender individual that they are loved by God just as they are. This statement, announced by the Vatican’s press office on Tuesday, echoes the Pontiff’s continued outreach towards the LGBTQ+ community.

The dialogue was part of a podcast episode where Pope Francis interacted with audio messages sent by young individuals, all in preparation for the forthcoming Catholic youth festival in Portugal, which he will attend next week.

Giona, a young Italian in their early 20s, was one of the individuals who reached out to the Pope, expressing their struggle to reconcile their faith with their transgender identity.


In a compassionate response, Pope Francis stated, “The Lord accompanies us at all times. Even in our state of sin, he comes closer to assist. God loves us as we are; that’s the essence of His remarkable love.”

According to Catholic doctrine, members of the LGBTQ+ community should be met with respect, compassion, and understanding while maintaining their human rights.

However, the extent to which the Catholic Church should embrace the LGBTQ+ community, such as through the provision of blessings for same-sex unions, remains a hot-button issue.

In the past, Pope Francis’ response to a question about homosexuality — “Who am I to judge?” — has resonated with many. He has decried laws that criminalize the LGBTQ+ community, describing such laws as both sinful and unjust.

However, the 86-year-old Pontiff has also upheld the traditional Catholic understanding of marriage as a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman. He supports civil legislation that ensures bureaucratic rights, like health care and pensions, for same-sex couples.

While some conservative factions have taken issue with Pope Francis’ more inclusive approach towards the LGBTQ+ community, the Pope has remained steadfast, underlining the traditional Catholic viewpoint that same-sex attraction is not a sin, but same-sex acts are.

There is anticipation around the upcoming world summit of bishops, scheduled for October this year and in 2024. They are expected to deliberate on the Church’s approach towards LGBTQ+ individuals, women, and Catholics who have divorced and remarried outside the Church.