Pope Francis Meets with Student Severely Injured While Defending Gay Couple

Pope Francis with Marin

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

4 replies
  1. Kris
    Kris says:

    There is obvious dissonance between Pope Francis’ ‘pastoral’ approach to LGBT people and the Church’s teaching on so-called ‘unjust discrimination’ against them, and it should be a cause of embarrassment to Francis. The teaching implies that there can be ‘just’ discrimination here, which inevitably diminishes respect for LGBT people (and potentially reduces moral inhibition against the kind of savage violence inflicted on Marin).

    Pope Francis has never opposed this teaching. But he has robustly (and in direct contravention of Church teaching) opposed the morally unjust discrimination that is capital punishment.

    If Francis wants his ‘pastoral’ approach to LGBT people to be seen as anything other than pious condacension he needs to critique, as robustly, the teaching on ‘unjust discrimination’ against the LGBT community.

    • Rev. Jennifer Marie Marcus, ARCWP, Esquire
      Rev. Jennifer Marie Marcus, ARCWP, Esquire says:

      You are “Spot On” ,Kris! The church teaching must change to be in sync with the individual Pastoral experience. As long as the deleterious teachings to LGBTIQ people remain on the books the clerics and rank and faithful will have license to maintain their bigotry , discrimination and engage in violence against LGBTIQ people because it is allegedly scripturally based .

  2. Rosa G, Manriquez, IHM
    Rosa G, Manriquez, IHM says:

    I’m glad that my brother, Francis, takes the opportunity to talk to his LGBT siblings, not just about them. This particular encounter challenges the most fundamentalist among Christians concerning the OT verse of death to LGBT persons. While I appreciate that he preaches tolerance and love, it is necessary that he address the emotional and spiritual violence our siblings experience 24/7. I will be pointing that out from this day forward. I am also praying for the intercession of Rutilio Grande, SJ who helped Oscar Romero embrace the full humanity of his pueblo.

  3. Rev. Marsha McKinlay Brandt
    Rev. Marsha McKinlay Brandt says:

    God Bless this holy man whom Christ has chosen to lead the Roman Catholic Church. May each one of us pray for him daily, and follow his example of love, kindness, and equality for all gay people everywhere. Finally, there is Hope!


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