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VATICAN CITY, July 5, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – A senior Vatican official has confirmed that over Easter Pope Francis invited a group of transgender individuals to the Vatican to receive COVID-19 vaccines. Pope Francis previously gave money to the same group last year when COVID restrictions prevented them from working with their usual “customers on the street.” 

Religion News Service (RNS) reported July 2, that Pope Francis had issued a personal invitation to the transgender community based at Torvaianica, at the parish of Blessed Virgin of the Immaculate, to come for their COVID vaccination. The Vatican had been opened up by the Office of Papal Charities during Holy Week, to administer COVID-19 injections to the homeless and vulnerable. 

Thus on Holy Saturday, April 3, buses arrived at the Vatican with 50 people from Torvaianica, all seeking their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

RNS noted that the information had been confirmed to them by Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, who himself had reached out to the priest in Torvaianica, Father Andrea Conocchia, with the suggestion that the transgender group come to the Vatican for the vaccines. 

According to Juan Carlos Cruz, the openly homosexual man appointed by Francis to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, Vatican officials asked the Pope for guidance when the buses from Torvaianica arrived. 

When questioned, Pope Francis reportedly exclaimed “Absolutely vaccinate them!” Pope Francis further added that when the injections were being administered, Vatican officials were not to ask the transgender individuals about their sex. 

“Ask for their names, ask for anything they need, but do not ask them about their sex,” said the Pope, according to Cruz.

Speaking to RNS, Fr. Conocchia stated that Pope Francis’s actions towards the transgender individuals showed that “the church is a part of the people, whoever they are. For us they have value. They are a noun, not an adjective.”

Conocchia added that the transgender group was “moved to tears” by Pope Francis’ actions. They “felt remembered, having experienced once again and in a tangible way the closeness and tenderness of the pope’s charity,” stated Conocchia.

“It was truly Easter,” commented the Conocchia, when describing the gift of the COVID-19 injections to the group. It was “a day of life and resurrection.” 

The vaccine invitation was not merely to the transgender individuals, but also to parish volunteers, as well as immigrants cared for by the Catholic aid group Community of St. Egidio, and “struggling families and divorced parents,” supported by Caritas. 

According to Conocchia, many of the group who received the COVID-19 injections at the Vatican were without official documentation, and thus unable to avail of Italy’s health service. 

They returned on April 23 for their second shot.

Pope Francis himself had spent part of Good Friday, April 2, at the Vatican’s COVID-19 vaccination center in the Paul VI Audience Hall, where he posed for a picture.

Pope Francis’s relationship with Torvaianica LGBT group

Indeed, the Pope Francis’ Easter gift is not the first time that he has singled out the transgender group at Torvaianica for special attention. In the spring of 2020, he again instructed his almoner, Cardinal Krajewski, to send money to the group after they contacted the Vatican for financial assistance. 

Conocchia’s parish had been turned into a “haven” for “about 20 transgender women,” wrote RNS. During the Italian COVID-19 restrictions, the “transgender women,” most of whom were reportedly sex workers, were without sources of income, and so turned to Conocchia.

When unable to offer any more support himself, the priest directed the group to petition Pope Francis.

Upon receiving the request, Francis reportedly directed Cardinal Krajewski to wire money directly to the group, most of whom were not Catholic. 

Pope Francis’ actions prompted praise from LGBT organizations, including the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics, who stated it was an example of the Gospel and its nature of promoting “love beyond words.”

“This is ordinary work for the Church, it’s normal,” stated Krajewski at the time. “This is how the Church is a field hospital.”

Ongoing support for ‘transgender’ ideology

Pope Francis has previously affirmed people claiming to be a member of the opposite sex, more commonly known as transgender or transsexual.

In January 2015 he granted an audience to the two women whom the world’s press dubbed a “transsexual man and his fiancée.”

Then in 2016, during an in-flight press conference on his way back to Rome from a trip to Georgia and Azerbaijan, Pope Francis recounted how he had once received a letter “from a Spanish man who told me his story from the time when he was a child. He was born a female, a girl, and he suffered greatly because he felt that he was a boy but physically was a girl.” Throughout the interview, Francis referred to the person as a “man,” even though she necessarily continued to be a biological woman. “He, who had been she, but is he,” Francis emphasized.

Despite this, Catholic teaching on transgender issues remains unchanging, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity.” (CCC # 2333)

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s 1975 document, Persona Humana, also echoed this with the words, “There can be no true promotion of man’s dignity unless the essential order of his nature is respected.”

Cardinal Raymond Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider, together with several other bishops, wrote in their 2019 Declaration of Truths that gender reassignment surgery is a “grave sin” and a “rebellion” against divine and natural law. 

Ongoing vaccine endorsement

Pope Francis has made a point of issuing appeals for vaccines to be distributed widely and easily across the world. Such a theme was a feature both of his 2020 Christmas Urbi et Orbi address, and his recent Easter message, in which he called for vaccines to be distributed to all, especially “in the poorest countries.”

Pope Francis subsequently made another surprise visit to the Vatican’s vaccination center, this time on his patronal feast of St. George, when he visited the staff and vaccine recipients in the Paul VI hall to support the vaccination drive. 

Earlier this year, Francis said that it was a moral duty to take the injection. “I believe that, ethically, everyone should take the vaccine,” he declared. “It must be done.”

Francis’ endorsement of the injection comes despite growing reports of adverse effects and even deaths, following the injection. Last week The Defender reported that the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S., now reports 411,931 total adverse events following the COVID-19 injection, including 6,985 deaths and 34,065 serious injury reports.

LifeSiteNews has produced an extensive COVID-19 vaccines resources page. View it here.