A Chilean man this week said Pope Francis told him God made him gay and loves him that way, a move many interpret as tacit acceptance of homosexuality by the Roman Catholic Church.
In late April, Francis hosted at the Vatican three victims of Chile’s sexual abuse scandal. Earlier in April, the pope confessed he made “grave errors” in judgment in regard to the scandal, having adamantly supported a man whom a Vatican investigation later found was intimately aware of rampant abuse and did nothing. (Last week, more than 30 bishops in Chile offered to resign over the coverup.)
Francis reportedly had a three-hour meeting with Juan Carlos Cruz, a vocal victim of sexual abuse by notorious Chilean pedophile priest Fernando Karadima. This month, Cruz told Spanish newspaper El País the pope affirmed his sexual orientation.
“He said to me, ‘Juan Carlos that’s not a problem,’” said Cruz, claiming the pope added, “You have to be happy with who you are. God made you this way and loves you this way, and the pope loves you this way.”
The Vatican has refused to comment on the pope’s reported statement.
LGBT activists are claiming the comments signal Francis’ desire to welcome gay and lesbian individuals into the Catholic Church. Some Catholic leaders have claimed the comments merely show respect for people with same-sex attraction without contradicting Church doctrine.
But others disagree, pointing to Church teaching that labels homosexual acts as “acts of grave depravity,” “intrinsically disordered,” and “contrary to the natural law.”
The pope’s statements present “a gospel foreign to Catholic ears,” wrote Doug Mainwarning, a same-sex attracted Catholic who says Church members should remain celibate outside of Biblical, heterosexual marriage.
“Many of us who experience same-sex attraction and remain chaste are troubled by the pope’s departure from both Church teaching and natural law through which we have freedom and life,” Mainwarning wrote. “If the pope’s alleged words … are confirmed to be true, the pope will have abandoned the world’s same-sex attracted, leaving them adrift.”
Evangelicals should observe the situation carefully, said Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a WORLD News Group board member. The pope has followed a kind of dualism between his official teaching and his pastoral position about sexuality, said Mohler on his podcast The Briefing.
“We’re not talking about a minor issue, or an issue in which there could simply be endless theological speculation,” Mohler said. “We’re talking about an issue of very real human urgency, and we’re talking about a moral question to which Scripture speaks emphatically and categorically.” —K.C.