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Brianna Ghey — Courtesy photo
Brianna Ghey — Courtesy photo

Two teens convicted in murder of Trans girl Brianna Ghey
Two 16-year-olds have been found guilty of the "senseless" murder of Brianna Ghey, a "witty, funny, and fearless" Transgender girl who was stabbed 28 times in a Warrington park this year.

On Wednesday, after an 18-day trial at Manchester Crown Court, a boy from Leigh and a girl from Warrington were found guilty of murdering Ghey, the Cheshire Constabulary said in a statement.

Fifteen years old at the time of the vicious stabbing, the teens have been identified only as girl X and boy Y because they are minors. Thursday, following a petition from British newspapers, a judge ruled that the two teens can be named by the media when they are sentenced on Feb. 2, the Independent reports.

Detectives from the Force's Major Investigation Team "spent months piecing together the case, gathering vital evidence, speaking to numerous witnesses, viewing hours of CCTV footage, and carrying out forensic enquiries," the Constabulary said in the statement.

The two teens were identified as suspects "after a number of eyewitnesses came forward following a large media appeal," the statement said.

They were arrested 24 hours after the incident and were subsequently charged with Brianna's murder.

Detective Inspector Nige Parr of the Major Investigation Team and senior investigating officer for Operation Moment, said to People, "Today, two teenagers have been found guilty of Brianna's murder. I hope this result brings about some closure for Brianna's family and helps them as they try and rebuild their lives.

"Brianna did not deserve her fate. She was targeted because she was different, and betrayed by someone she thought was a friend, and for her to have lost her life as a result of their senseless actions is tragic in every sense of the word."

The teens face mandatory sentences of life in prison.

Photo by Guglielmo Mangiapane / Reuters  

Pope approves "blessings" for same-sex couples
Pope Francis formally approved letting Catholic priests bless same-sex couples, the Vatican announced on December 18, a radical shift in policy that aimed at making the church more inclusive while maintaining its strict ban on Gay marriage.

While the Vatican statement was heralded by some as a step toward breaking down discrimination in the Catholic Church, some Queer advocates warned it underscored the church's idea that Gay couples remain inferior to heterosexual partnerships.

The document from the Vatican's doctrine office elaborates on a letter Francis sent to two conservative cardinals that was published in October. In that preliminary response, Francis suggested that such blessings could be offered under some circumstances if they weren't confused with the ritual of marriage.

The new document repeats that condition and elaborates on it, reaffirming that marriage is a lifelong union between a man and a woman. It further stresses that blessings in question must not be tied to any specific Catholic celebration or religious service and should not be conferred at the same time as a civil union ceremony. Moreover, the blessings cannot use set rituals or even involve the clothing and gestures that belong in a wedding.

The document marks the latest gesture of outreach from a pope who has made welcoming Queer Catholics a hallmark of his papacy. From his 2013 quip "Who am I to judge?" about a purportedly Gay priest to his 2023 comment to the Associated Press that "being homosexual is not a crime," Francis has distinguished himself from all his predecessors with his message of welcome.

"The significance of this news cannot be overstated," said Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry, which supports Queer Catholics. "It is one thing to formally approve same-gender blessings, which he had already pastorally permitted, but to say that people should not be subjected to 'an exhaustive moral analysis' to receive God's love and mercy is an even more significant step."

The Vatican holds that marriage is an indissoluble union between man and woman. As a result, it has long opposed same-sex marriage and considers homosexual acts to be "intrinsically disordered." Nothing in the new document changes that teaching.

The Church of England on Sunday announced a similar move, allowing clergy to bless the unions of same-sex couples who have had civil weddings or partnerships, but it still bans church weddings for same-sex couples.