Home News Italians proud of Francis in response to pope’s slander

Italians proud of Francis in response to pope’s slander

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At Rome’s Pride celebrations, shirtless men wearing pink angel wings danced to Abba, women draped in rainbow flags kissed, and parade floats with glittering drag queens waved. And Pope Francis.

The pope’s image is everywhere. On cardboard cutouts adorned with flower necklaces, on glittering banners, on stickers. On Saturday, Romans marched in a Pride parade dressed as Francis, wearing pope hats and T-shirts emblazoned with the words “You can never have too much frociaggine,” a dig at Roman Catholics. Pope accused of using insults against gay men It has happened twice in recent weeks.

The slur “is the slogan of the 2024 Pride parade,” said Martina Lorina, a 28-year-old actress, as she held a banner with the word.

According to Italian media reports, Pope Francis used the insult during a meeting with priests to complain about too much “homosexuality” in the church, for which the Vatican has since apologized.

But Rome’s Pride participants took a different tack in response to the insult: They made it their own. Pride participants symbolically invited the pope and his insulters to the party, using a long-standing tactic from the LGBTQ community to turn insults into words of pride.

“Let’s make him feel how beautiful this rainbow dress is,” one participant chanted in the crowd as a man dressed as a unicorn sang a Britney Spears song and children and two mothers held hands with their faces covered in rainbow glitter.

Daniel Lacitignyola, 34, a gay Christian holding a cardboard cutout of Francis, said that while the pope’s recent rhetoric may convey that “gays are not welcome in the church,” he is always welcomed at pride parades.

“Francie, welcome to our parish,” the banner read.

Alessio Sposato, 31, wearing a vest and cowboy hat, said as he took photos with a cardboard cutout of Francis.

Director Emiliano Sisolfi, 22, held a banner with a picture of Francis giving a thumbs-up and the words, “I bless this frociata,” also used in an insult. Mr. Sisolfi said he printed the insult in rainbow letters to neutralize it.

“If I laugh at the word,” he said, “they have nothing to say to offend us.”

Giacomo Canarezza, 31, said that even if the slur is derogatory, “if I acknowledge the validity of the word, I can use it as a marker of my identity.”

He added: “It protects you from any insult.”

Another Pride parade participant, wearing a shiny pink beard and a pope hat, danced to the music of “Greased Lightnin'” on a parade float.

“We are frociaggine and we are proud of it,” read banners. Participants distributed stickers featuring doctored images of Francis wearing a furry pink scarf or pink sunglasses.

Yet behind the jokes and fanfare, some in Rome – which along with Hungary, the Czech Republic and several other countries are among the only ones in Europe that have not legalized same-sex marriage – expressed concern that the pope’s comments could further marginalize the LGBTQ community.

Last year, the right-wing government of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni Orders Italian mayors to comply with court ruling and stop certifying foreign birth certificates Children born abroad to Italian same-sex couples through surrogacy, which is illegal in Italy.

“There are a lot of people in Italy who listen to the pope and the church, and that can hurt families with gay children,” said Basilio Petruzza, 33, a resident of the city.

A 20-year-old artist named Dolly Deville said he ordered a papal robe online a few days ago to wear at the Pride parade. He held a banner with a hand-painted portrait of Francis and the words “Via Frocis” — a reference to the Christian procession of the cross. He said the pope’s words pained him.

“He shouldn’t have dared to say that word,” said his boyfriend, Eduardo Camilucci. “Especially as a saint with integrity.”

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