“The Pope loves you like this. You have to be happy with who you are.”
A gay victim of clerical sexual abuse has claimed Pope Francis offered him kind words of support in regards to his sexuality.
Juan Carlos Cruz told El País that he met with the leader of the Catholic Church to discuss the abuse he faced at the hands of Father Fernando Karadima, the Chilean priest who was found guilty of sexually abusing children back in 2011.
“He 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 loves you like this. You have to be happy with who you are,'” revealed Cruz.
The Pope’s comments are without a doubt the most accepting about homosexuality spoken by a leader of the Catholic Church.
It’s not the first time Pope Francis has shown a tolerant view towards homosexuality, despite Catholicism viewing it as being “ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil” and a “moral disorder”.
Back in 2016, he told reporters: “[Gay people] should not be discriminated against. They should be respected, accompanied pastorally.”
He added: “I think that the Church not only should apologise … to a gay person whom it offended but it must also apologise to the poor as well. To the women who have been exploited, to children who have been exploited by (being forced to) work. It must apologise for having blessed so many weapons.”
Last year, he also sent a surprise letter to a same-sex couple in Brazil, in which he congratulated them for baptising their children.
However, his views on the LGBTQ community as a whole have been wildly inconsistent.
That same year, he answered a question about gender identity, saying: “You mentioned a great enemy of marriage: gender theory. Today, there is a global war out to destroy marriage. Not with weapons but with ideas… we have to defend ourselves from ideological colonisation.”
He later clarified his comments to reporters, saying: “It is one thing for a person to have this tendency, this option, and even change sex. But it is another thing to teach it, gender theory, in schools along these lines in order to change mentality. I call this ideological colonisation.”
He’s spoken out against the trans community in the past – saying it’s “terrible” that kids are taught they can “choose” their gender.
He also backed anti-marriage equality protesters in Mexico, claiming that they are fighting “in favour of family and life”.