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Bisexual student challenges Pope Francis over use of antigay slurs

Author: Donald Padgett

A student from the Philippines challenged Pope Francis to refrain from using offensive antigay rhetoric and slurs, citing the immense pain it causes among the LGBTQ+ community.

The exchange occurred during a video conference entitled “Building Bridges Across Asia Pacific: A Synodal Encounter with Pope Francis and University Students.” A series of students from various countries delivered prepared remarks to the Pontiff.

Acebedo Rivera, a psychology student at Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines, used his allotment of time to challenge Pope Francis to ease certain religious restrictions in his country and refrain from using language derogatory to the LGBTQ+ community.

“I myself am outcasted and bullied due to my bisexuality, my gayness, my identity, and being a son of a single parent. My mother cannot divorce my father. Please allow divorce in the Philippines,” Rivera said before returning to the subject of the Pope’s recent internal comments denigrating the air of “faggotry” in the Vatican. “And stop using offensive language against the LGBTQIA+ community. This leads to immense pain. Due to this, I developed bipolar disorder and I am stigmatized.”

Last month, anonymous bishops told Italian news outlets Corriere della Sera and Italian dailies La Repubblica that the Pope used the slur during a meeting with church officials who were debating whether or not to allow out gay priests in the clergy.

Pope Francis reportedly claimed that while the church should welcome everyone, a gay priest would be leading a double life. He then said that seminaries already have too much “frociaggine,” which loosely translates to “faggotry” or “faggotness.”

In a statement to the Associated Press, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said there is “room for everyone” in the church.

“The pope never intended to offend or express himself in homophobic terms, and he extends his apologies to those who were offended by the use of a term that was reported by others,” Bruni said.

However, the Pope was accused of using the slur again earlier this month.

Following the statements from the students during this week’s virtual synod, the Pope spoke against discrimination in general and against women specifically but did not respond to Rivera’s remarks.

Rivera’s remarks can be seen in the time-marked video below.

Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Donald Padgett

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