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Pope Francis meets with LGBTI Catholics at Vatican in landmark meeting

Pope Francis meets with LGBTI Catholics at Vatican in landmark meeting

LGBTI Catholics meet with Pope Francis in the Vatican | Photo: Supplied

Pope Francis has met with LGBTI Catholics in a landmark meeting.

The leader of the Catholic Church met with 16 people who were on pilgrimage from the UK.

Some liberal Catholics are calling it ‘another small step in the great acceptance of LGBTI people within the Church’.

Pope Francis meets with LGBTI Catholics

Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, arranged for the 16th LGBTI people to have privileged seats at the Papal Audience in St Peter’s Square on 6 March.

But then a Vatican official surprised the group as they were ushered into a function room.

The group was told they would be meeting and greeting with Pope Francis himself.

‘He was very warm, very friendly. He shook hands with everybody,’ Martin Pendergast, a member of the LGBT+ Catholics Westminster Pastoral Council, told Gay Star News.

‘We didn’t have a long conversation because it was after a big general audience they have in St Peter’s Square.

‘He was pretty tired because it’s an ordeal for an 82-year-old!’

Pendergast explained, in Italian, they were a LGBTI group to which the Pope seemed ‘very responsive’.

‘It wasn’t an in-depth discussion on LGBTI issues in the Church,’ he said.

‘But the fact we were received that way shows a great deal.’

Is the Catholic Church changing? 

While on the pilgrimage, the LGBTI Catholics paid tribute to victims of homophobia and transphobia in St Bartholomew-on-the-Tiber Church, which commemorates martyrs of our own times.

Pendergast said he believes the Catholic Church is changing.

In 2016, Pope Francis said: ‘If a person is gay… who am I to judge?’

‘If some Catholics say there is no place for LGBTI Catholics, I would suggest there’s no place for them in the Catholic Church,’ Pendergast said.

‘Our meeting, as simple and brief as it was, is just another step. It’s another small step in the great acceptance of LGBTI people within the Church.’