Pope Francis reportedly met a Spanish transsexual and his fiancée at the Vatican, after giving him a phone call on Christmas Day. Diego Neria Lejarraga, who was born a woman, wrote to the pontiff in December to tell him that a parish priest had called him "the devil's daughter."
AFP reported that 48-year-;/old Lejarraga met Francis on Saturday at the Vatican, after telling the pope that he had been treated as an outcast in his parish in Plasencia in western Spain. The Spanish citizen, who identifies as a Roman Catholic, has undergone sexual reassignment surgery.
"After hearing him on many occasions, I felt that he would listen to me," Lejarraga reportedly told the Spanish Holy newspaper.
CatholicHerald noted that the Vatican has not commented on the meeting, or revealed what was said.
Francis has become known throughout his papacy for personally replying to people who reach out him, and has phone-called and met various individuals.
The Roman Catholic Church does not recognize sex change, and Francis has previously criticized efforts to teach children at school theories that question natural differences between men and women.
The Vatican leader said in a speech earlier in January that the teaching of gender theory is an "ideological colonization that tries to destroy the family."
Francis recalled a story 20 years ago from his native Argentina, when a government official was offered a loan to build schools for poor children, but only under the condition that she agrees to assign students textbooks on gender theory.
"Why do I say ideological colonization? Because they use a people's need as an opportunity to come in and impose their will on children. But this is nothing new. The dictatorships of the last century did the same thing; they came in with their doctrine. Think of the Balilla. Think of the Hitler Youth," the Roman Catholic Church leader said.
Francis has also defended traditional Catholic teaching on a number of social issues, including the definition of marriage between one man and one woman. The pope has also spoken out against the use of contraception and artificial birth control methods, and has called abortion part of a "throwaway culture" that the world embraces.