Location: Scuderie Ducali, Piazza San Romano 4
Opening times: Monday – Thursday 3pm – 7:30pm / Friday – Sunday 10am – 7: 30pm
SIMONE CERIO – RELIGO
“There is no place for you in Heaven. Keep that in mind.”
This is the curse cast on Sergio by a young priest in a church near Rome. Sergio belongs to one of the 30 LGBTQ+ religious groups in Italy that offer spiritual support and inclusive paths to all people with sexual and gender identity different from the ones which are commonly accepted.
This is the episode that started Religo, the project by Simone Cerio which investigates the relationship between faith and homosexuality within the Catholic Church.
The only official documents in which the Church deals with homosexuality are dated 1986, 2008, 2016 and 2021. The latest, a Responsum of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, sanctions that “the Christian community and the ministers are called to welcome with respect and sensitivity people with homosexual inclination” and that “blessings to individual persons with homosexual inclination are allowed, provided they manifest the desire to live in accordance to the revealed designs of God as proposed by the Teaching of the Church”, but “declares all forms of blessing that recognize their unions illicit”.
While the church debated – and still debates – of the matter, many were the girls and boys who have taken their life for the weight of sin, or have suffered “reparative therapies” to treat their “tendency towards intrinsically bad behavior from the moral point of view”, considered “objectively disorderly” – as wrote the Cardinal Ratzinger in the letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church on the pastoral care of homosexual people in 1986.
No statistical study on the presence of LGBTQ+ within the Catholic community has ever been conducted. No one has ever talked about the high percentage of people distancing themselves from the Church due to this silent discrimination. Talking about this means calling in question a Teaching that has none of the tools needed to face the problem.
The battle for civil rights of homosexual communities is widely debated and sustained throughout the world, but very little is said about the battle for spiritual rights.
Individuals of different sexual inclination excluded from spiritual paths, priests who were excommunicated for marrying gay couples, priests who drive pastoral dedicated to LGBTQ+ communities, the rainbow families actively involved in the life of their parish: these are the protagonists of some of the stories that Cerio met and told over four years of work.