Pope Francis told a Chilean molestation victim that although he was gay God still loved him.
A gay man who suffered sexual abuse by priests in Chile has said Pope Francis told him in a private meeting that “God made you this way and he loves you”.
Juan Carlos Cruz told the BBC that the pontiff made the comments in a conversation that took place at the Vatican in April.
Mr Cruz said Pope Francis apologised “in the name of the universal church” for abuse by Catholic clergy in Chile.
The Vatican has not independently confirmed the comments.
Mr Cruz, who was abused as a young boy by Catholic priest Fernando Karadima, said the Pope was “very upset” during the nearly three-hour meeting in which the pontiff said: “I’m sorry.”
“He was extremely kind, extremely gracious. It was an apology that was by no means fake or false,” Mr Cruz told the BBC’s Newsday programme on Tuesday.
He said that as part of his apology, Pope Francis said he felt he had been “part of this problem” during a period in which he “didn’t understand” what had taken place.
Mr Cruz said he had been told for years by the cardinals in Chile that as a gay man he was living “a life of perversion”, that he “wasn’t worthy” and that “I probably liked the abuse because I was gay”.
“He [the Pope] was very upset. I told him that I kept my faith and that I try to be a good person and not hurt anybody,” Mr Cruz said.
“He said you have to understand that God made you this way and he loves you, and the Pope loves you and you have to love yourself.
“For me this was very liberating and incredible to hear from the Holy Father,” he added.
This does not go against church teachings.
The Church teaches that the action of homosexuality is sinful and “intrinsically disordered,” but that gays and lesbians are children of God and should be loved and respected. This is largely misconstrued by those hostile to the Christian faith.
And with regard to the innate nature of homosexuality, the Church acknowledges that this is a “trial” for most, implying at least some level of a strong internal struggle.
“The first edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the dense summary of Catholic teaching published by St. John Paul II in 1992, said gay individuals ‘do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial,'” reports The Chicago Tribune. Though, the current Catechism is less explicit: “This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial,” reads the revised version.
I am no fan of Pope Francis but as a practicing Christain, I refuse to lie as a way to attack him.