Francis may be the most liberal pope the Catholic church has ever had.
Pope Francis reportedly told a gay Chilean man that God made him that way.
If true, these are the most liberal remarks on homosexuality the pope is known to have made.
Pope tells gay man “God made you that way”
Juan Carlos Cruz, who was reportedly sexually abused by a priest as a boy, visited the Vatican for three days to talk to the pope about the abuse he suffered. He told Spanish newspaper El País about a private conversation he shared with the Catholic leader two weeks ago.
He said that the subject of his sexuality came up because some Chilean bishops had described him as a pervert and accused him of lyingabout the abuse. The man said Francis told him,”Juan Carlos, I don’t care about you being gay. God made you that way and loves you as you are and I don’t mind. The pope loves you as you are, you have to be happy with who you are.”
The Vatican neither confirmed nor denied the comments, saying “We don’t normally comment on the pope’s private conversations.”
Fr. James Martin, whose 2017 book “Building Bridges” encourages unity between the church and LGBT individuals, said the comments were a “big deal” because they mark the first time the pope has said that gay people are born that way.
“This is a big deal, I cannot remember the pope making a comment about gay people being born that way,” he said.
The statements are particularly significant because they imply that people are created gay by God, rather than homosexuality being a choice. The Church’s official teaching holds that gay sex is a sin but also states that the psychological origin of homosexuality is unknown.
The comments come amid pressure by Francis to crack down on a decades-long sexual abuse scandal in the Chilean church. Cruz visited the Vatican along with two other victims of Chilean priest Fernando Karadima, who the church found guilty of abuse and sentenced to a lifetime of penance in 2011.
Francis had originally dismissed accusations by Cruz that Chilean Bishop Juan Barros covered up the abuse, calling them “slander,” but later apologized in February, inviting the victims to Rome and calling for accountability in the Chilean church. All 31 Chilean bishops offered to resigned Friday over the cover-up scandal.
If true, the comments mark a new level of acceptance of homosexuality by the pope. However, it would not be the first time Francis broke with Catholic teaching.
In a 2013 press conference, he famously said, “If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with goodwill, who am I to judge?” when asked about the status of gay individuals.
He later told an interviewer that year, “A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality,” adding, “I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: When God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’”
Many Catholics were left scratching their heads recently when Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari said in March that Francis had told him that hell does not exist in a private conversation. The Vatican denied the report.