A Chilean victim of a Catholic priest’s sex abuse claimed Pope Francis told him God made him gay.
Juan Carlos Cruz, one of three victims of sexual abuse at the hands of Father Fernando Karadima, claimed Francis told him during a private audience in April God made him gay and loves him exactly as he is, according to The Sun. Cruz made the claim to Spanish newspaper El Pais. The Vatican has yet to issue a statement confirming or denying the veracity of Cruz’s claim, despite the fact Francis’ alleged words directly contradict the Catholic catechism. (RELATED: Chile’s Bishops Resign Over Sex Abuse Scandal, Victims Rejoice)
“Juan Carlos, that you are gay doesn’t matter,” Cruz alleged Francis said to him, according to Crux Now. “God made you like this and loves you like this and it doesn’t matter to me. The pope loves you like this; you have to be happy with who you are.”
Something else that I will always remember about my hours of conversations with Pope Francis @Pontifex will be this: His phrase: Who am I to judge? I experienced it personally and I hope many feel that no one is excluded or should be excluded…ever! https://t.co/LhqMwmnNOa
— Juan Carlos Cruz Ch. (@jccruzchellew) May 20, 2018
Homosexual acts are “contrary to the natural law,” do “not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity,” and cannot be approved under any circumstances, the church catechism states. The implication of Cruz’s claim is Francis said God made him with sinful impulses, given the Catholic church’s teaching on the matter. The church does distinguish, however, between homosexual orientation and homosexual acts. The latter is taught to be overtly sinful while the former, though contrary to natural law, is not considered sinful unless acted upon.
Cruz made the claim in response to questions about whether Francis addressed Cruz’s homosexuality. Cruz said he explained to Francis he was a good person and was not a pervert.
“They had basically told him that I was a pervert,” Cruz said, according to Crux. “I explained that I am not the reincarnation of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, but I’m not a bad person; I try not to hurt anyone.”
Cruz also discussed his faith with Francis in response to assertions he was not a believer, the Chilean claimed.
“They had told him that I didn’t believe, that I was an enemy of the Church,” Cruz said, according to Crux. “I told him that it enraged me, because I continue to believe, loving the Church, thinking that this can change.”
Francis made similar comments in 2015 to Diego Neria, a Spanish transgender man who met with him in the Vatican.
“God loves all his children, however they are; you are a son of God, who accepts you exactly as you are. Of course you are a son of the Church!” Francis told Neria, according to Crux.
He has also clarified, however, that while he believes God loves people despite their sexual orientations, he does not believe in promoting sexual acts contrary to church teaching.
“Life is life; things have to be accepted as they come. Sin is sin,” Francis told reporters in 2016, according to Crux. “Tendencies, hormonal imbalance, have and cause so many problems… We must be attentive. Not to say that it’s all the same, but in each case, welcome, accompany, study, discern and integrate. This is what Jesus would do today.”
Francis then made clear he would not sanctify transgender people.
“When a person (who is gay) arrives before Jesus, Jesus certainly will not say, ‘Go away because you are homosexual.’ Please don’t say that the pope will sanctify trans [transgender people], because I read the headlines in the newspapers,” Francis said, according to Crux.
The Vatican has yet to comment on Cruz’s claims and has not offered an explanation concerning Francis’ beliefs about homosexuality. “We don’t normally comment on the pope’s private conversations,” a spokesman for the Vatican told reporters on Sunday, according to Los Angeles Times.
While some have hailed Francis’ alleged comments as an open acceptance of homosexuality by the head of the Catholic church, it is possible, if Cruz’s claim is true, Francis intended to distinguish between God’s love for Cruz as a person and God’s stance toward Cruz’s homosexual acts.
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