LGBT community hails Pope Francis after he tells gay man, ‘God made you like this and loves you like this’
Pope Francis is winning popular vote time and again by making groundbreaking decisions and upholding a modern outlook on Catholicism.
Pope Francis is winning popular vote time and again by making groundbreaking decisions and upholding modern outlook on Catholicism.
It is being claimed that the pontiff told a gay man that god loves him for the way he is, during a private meeting at the Vatican.
The pope's words have been embraced by the LGBT community as another sign of Francis’ desire to make gay people feel loved and welcomed in the Catholic Church.
Juan Carlos Cruz, a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests in Chile, was told by the pope that God loves gay people and it is okay to be a homosexual, reported TIME.
In a conversation with Associated Press, Cruz said, “He [the Pope] told me, ‘Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter."
“God made you like this and loves you like this and I don’t care."
“The pope love you like this. You have to be happy with who you are.”
This is the first time the head of the Roman Catholic Church has ever publicly endorsed homosexuality in Catholicism.
The pontiff also offered his heartfelt apology to the sexual abuse victim.
Juan was one of the victims of Chile's infamous pedophile priest Fernando Karadima. The Vatican found 87-year-old Father Karadima guilty of sexual abuse back in 2011.
According to reports, a number of Latin American bishops exploited his sexual orientation to brand him a liar when he spoke out against the abuses. Cruz claimed his grievances were ignored by them consistently.
The move is likely to upset many conservative Catholics as the pontiff's words hinted at much more than an accommodating and inclusive approach being adopted by the Church, which is often labelled "restrictive."
However, the Vatican did not confirm Cruz's assertion, keeping with their policy about not commenting on the pope’s private conversations.
According to the Catholic Church, all sex outside of heterosexual marriage, including gay sex, is a grave sin.
That being said, Pope Francis is known to have a more tolerant and open attitude towards other sexual orientations.
Back in 2013, when Francis was asked about the existence of a "gay lobby" within the Vatican, he had replied, “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?"
Numerous high ranking members of the clergy have sought to make amends with homosexual Catholics, many of who say they do not feel welcome and are looked down upon in the Church.
Cruz was one of the three victims of sexual abuse in Chile who were summoned to Rome in order to receive direct apology from the pope himself.
All three endured years of abuse ever since they were children, reports said.
The abuse is “an epidemic that has destroyed thousands of lives,” according to the victims.
It was reported that Pope Francis was not aware of the full extent and gravity of the situation in Chile, and once he even came to the defense of another controversial bishop linked to Karadima.
But the pontiff quickly caught up with ground realities in Chile after Vatican investigators presented him with a 2,300-page dossier documenting the sexual abuse of children that had been covered up by churches in Chile for several years.
The pope made sure that 34 bishops in Chile resigned for their alleged crimes — something which has never been done before in the history of the Catholic Church.
Although the official church teaching advises that gays and lesbians must be respected and loved, it considers homosexual activity "intrinsically disordered."
Pope Francis, however, has spoken of his own ministry to gay and transgender people, insisting they "are children of God, loved by God and deserving of accompaniment by the church."
Having said that, like always, there are some who seek to downplay the magnitude of the pontiff's comments, calling them a product of his pastoral-minded attitude.
Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, said that the pope's comments were "tremendous" and would be very good for the LGBT community. The ministry advocates equality for LGBT Catholics.
“It would do a lot better if he would make these statements publicly, because LGBT people need to hear that message from religious leaders, from Catholic leaders,” he said.
Reverend James Martin noted that the pontiff's comments were made in private and were not public pronouncement or document. However, citing the original version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, he said that the comments were significant nonetheless.
“The pope is saying what every reputable biologist and psychologist will tell you, which is that people do not choose their sexual orientation,” Martin said in a telephone interview to TIME.
Martin, a Jesuit whose book "Building a Bridge" called for the church to find new pastoral methods of accommodating gays, said that one of the biggest failings is that many Catholics have been reluctant to voice opinions on similar lines, thus making "people feel guilty about something they have no control over.”