Pic: Jeffrey Bruno
It’s been revealed that Pope Francis has told a gay man that God made him gay and accepts him and loves him as he is.
Spain’s El País newspaper reported that Chilean Juan Carlos Cruz, spoke to the pope two weeks ago about the sexual abuse he suffered as a child at the hands of a priest.
“He told me, ‘Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter,'” said Cruz. “‘God made you like this and loves you like this and I don’t care. The pope loves you like this. You have to be happy with who you are,’” the pontiff was quoted as saying.
Cruz was one of the victims of Reverend Fernando Karadima, who was found guilty of abusing minors by the church in 2011. In their meeting, the pope apologised to Cruz “in the name of the pope and the church for everything you have gone through.”
The Vatican has not responded to media requests to confirm or deny that Cruz’ recollection of the pope’s words is accurate, but one of the pope’s advisers, Father James Martin, commented on the matter to the LA Times.
“This is a big deal, I cannot remember the pope making a comment about gay people being born that way,” said Marin. “Pope Francis has repeated what all reputable biologists and psychologists say — you don’t choose your sexual orientation. And that is a great comfort to many gay and lesbian Catholics who have been told by priests that they have chosen their orientation and are therefore guilty.”
The pope previously said in a landmark 2013 statement, that “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?”
While Francis has shown a willingness for the church to be more accepting of gay individuals he has remained deeply opposed to the recognition of transgender people, same-sex families and same-sex marriage, describing these in public statements as threats to the family and humanity.
The church has actively campaigned in a number of countries in a bid to stop the spread of marriage equality. The Pope’s “more progressive” views have also not resulted in changes in Vatican policies towards LGBTQ people, as he has faced stiff opposition from conservative church leaders.
According to Catholic dogma, gay sexuality is defined as “acts of grave depravity”, as “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to the natural law”.