Pope Francis has been lauded and disparaged on these pages and elsewhere. Some are seeing signs of great changes in the direction of the Catholic Church while others see business as usual.
Here's a sad story of Andrea Quintero, a homeless Colombian transgender man living in Rome. It reminds me of Matthew Shepherd or for that matter Emmett Till, and thousands of others who have been beaten, killed and abused because of their ethnicity, beliefs, gender or who they love.
The fact that this poor man is getting a funeral in the mother church of the Jesuit order is sending a clear signal of change. What that change will be - well, we will have to wait and see, but it is coming.
If anyone wants an example of what the emphasis on mercy under Pope Francis looks like in action, they’ll find one this afternoon in Rome at the Church of the Gesù, the mother church of the pope’s Jesuit order, where a funeral will be celebrated for a Colombian transgendered and homeless person beaten to death five months ago.
The body of Andrea Quintero, who struggled with drug addiction and lived on the streets in the area around Rome’s main Termini train station, was found alongside a track in the station on July 29. An investigation concluded he died as a result of injuries from a severe beating.
Quintero, 28 at the time, had left his family in Colombia four years before. He was well known to personnel at the station and to charity workers, calling himself the “Trans of Termini.”