Pope Francis has met with a student who was severely injured while defending a gay couple in France two years ago.
Earlier this month, the pope held a private audience with Marin, about whom NewNowNext reported:
“In November 2016, Marin came to the defense of a gay couple in Lyon who were being assaulted by a gang of young people who had seen them kiss at a bus stop. After he attempted to intercede, Marin was hit repeatedly in the back of the head with a crutch, leaving him in a coma for weeks. Doctors had to remove a quarter of his skull to stop the swelling on his brain.
“His injuries required numerous operations and resulted in severe neurological damage. Marin is currently living in a rehabilitation center in Switzerland, where he documents his progress via social media.”
On the Facebook page “Je soutiens Marin” (“I Support Marin”), which has some 200,000 followers, Marin posted information about his audience with Pope Francis:
“An amazing encounter with an exceptional man…I have a thought for all of you on this very special day for me. I’m leaving full strength, courage and hope.”
Though he has made gay-positive statements, this audience is further evidence that Pope Francis seems to prefer to address LGBT issues through pastoral work. In the past, he has met with a former student who is gay and with a transgender man who faced discrimination at his parish. He held a prison luncheon with inmates from the ward housing gay and transgender inmates, as well as those inmates living with HIV/AIDS. Through letters, he has offered kind words to a gay couple in Brazil on the occasion of their child’s baptism, to an LGBT Catholic group in Florence, and to a sister in Argentina who works with trans women. (You can find a full record of Pope Francis and LGBT issues by clicking here.)
Personal encounters such as these are novel and important in the Church, and they are clear examples that actions often speak louder than words. Pope Francis meeting with Marin sends the message that it is a Christian duty to defend LGBT people’s dignity, even if there are costs to one’s own safety and well-being. Compared to the Vatican’s 1986 letter about homosexuality which suggested lesbian and gay people could expect violence for demanding equality, this audience is a moment to reflect on just how far the Church has come.
–Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, April 19, 2018