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The Pope Wants a Mess -- A Trans Latino Catholic Responds


Six LGBTQ pilgrims traveled under the banner of "Equally Blessed," to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for World Youth Day (WYD) in July 2013. WYD is a global event for young people organized by the Roman Catholic Church.

Pope Francis's comments after WYD made global news this year, in part because he made a not-condemnatory statement about homosexuality -- a marked departure from previous papal statements. According to the Wall Street Journal, the pontiff said, speaking in Italian,

Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord? You can't marginalize these people.

In the same press corps interview, Pope Francis said, speaking off the cuff in his native Spanish,

I want to tell you something. What is it that I expect as a consequence of World Youth Day? I want a mess. We knew that in Rio there would be great disorder, but I want trouble in the dioceses! I want to see the church get closer to the people. I want to get rid of clericalism, the mundane, this closing ourselves off within ourselves, in our parishes, schools or structures. Because these need to get out!

Delfin Bautista identifies as a "trans Latino Catholic" and was one of the LGBTQ Equally Blessed pilgrims to WYD. In his final blog entry from the pilgrimage, "Making a Truth-Filled Mess Judgement Free," Bautista reflects on the pope's comments,

I have been reflecting on the various messages we have received from the pope this week…live your truth, make a mess, and who am I to judge.

Looking at the three papal phrases that resonated with me, I realize that the pope has perhaps subversively blessed and invited us to live our truth by making a mess so that more and more people can live a life that is judgment free.

Much has been discussed about whether or how supportive the Pope's comments really were towards gay and lesbian people. Bautista, doesn't shy from that ambiguity,

We must continue to live our messy truths. His statement may not be the radical pronouncement we have been waiting for to come from a pope, but for all of us who have been broken by the church’s teaching on homosexuality or lack of recognition of trans people, hopefully this blurp from Francis offers a tiny nugget of healing hope to hold onto. I will take what I can get! 

Bautista goes on to explore, not what the Pope meant, but how his various words landed,

The radicalness is not in his actual words about homosexuality and priesthood/ordination, but in the fact that he said something that had sparked a stirring in all of us.

We must continue to do our part … going on WYD pilgrimages, writing letters, speaking with church folk at all levels, offering education and educating ourselves, creating safe spaces … trusting that the Spirit will ripple the impact throughout the church. We are church and together as church we must live into the challenge of sharing the message that all are equally blessed truly means all are equally blessed.

If we truly believe that we are the church, then all of us together must continue to make sure that no one is marginalized and that all people are integrated as equally blessed. We cannot proclaim that we are church and then expect the pope to do and say everything.

Read the full article at Equally Blessed: "Making a Truth-Filled Mess Judgement Free," by Delfin Bautista.


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