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Dazed and Confused by Papal Language

How interesting, some might say pertinent, that in June, Pope Francis, the successor of Saint Peter, the Pope who introduced the identity acronym "LGBTQ" into Church documents in 2014 directly challenging contemporary Catholic anthropology, should have spent most of the month embroiled in a distinctly Peronist cycle of saying one thing and then doing another, which has, so far, lasted the whole month!

It all began at a closed-door meeting with Italian bishops on May 20th, when Pope Francis reportedly used the term “frociaggine” and said gay men shouldn’t be let in the priesthood.

The Italian word "frociaggine" is a slang term derived from "frocio," which is a derogatory term for a gay man. The word "frociaggine" roughly translates to "faggotry" or "effeminacy" in English, carrying highly offensive and pejorative connotations. It is used in a derogatory manner to refer to behaviours or characteristics that are stereotypically associated with gay men in a mocking or disparaging way.

In English, its usage would be considered highly inappropriate and offensive, akin to using slurs against the LGBTQ+ community. A community that Pope Francis has repeatedly gone out of his way to court and support over the eleven years of his papacy. Over those years he has taken a more conciliatory tone toward LGBTQIA+ people. I don’t like using that acronym, but I kind of have to because it is not just SSA people he has reached out to. He has equally condemned and affirmed “transgenderism” in his uniquely confusing style.

Pretty much as soon as he was elected, in July 2013, he made one of the most decisive comments in the papacy for LGBTQ+ people. When asked about the gay priests during a spontaneous exchange with the press, he responded, "If they [gay priests] accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn't be marginalised. The tendency [same-sex attraction] is not the problem... they're our brothers."

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