Pope Francis reportedly told a gay man that “God made you that way…” according to a report from the Spanish newspaper El Pais. This article, released on 21 May, 2018, covers the account of a man named Juan Carlos Cruz, who was victimized sexually by a Chilean Roman Catholic priest. Mr. Cruz got to not only speak with the Pope, but actually spent a week at the Pope’s residence in Santa Marta.
During that stay, the Pope showed amazingly kind pastoral care, but the ending statement, quoted in the article, has sent shockwaves across the Christian world, most notably that of the Roman Catholic faithful. The comment was shown as an answer to an interview, given here in question-and-answer format:
Q. Did you discuss your homosexuality and how you had to endure further suffering because of it?
A. Yes, we did. He had pretty much been told that I was a perverse being. I explained that I was not a saint, but that I am not a bad person, either. I try not to hurt anybody. He told me: “Juan Carlos, it doesn’t matter that you’re gay. God made you that way and that is the way He wants you to be, and I don’t mind. The Pope wants you this way too, and you have to be happy with who you are.”
This statement was picked up by the Los Angeles Times under the headline “Pope’s reported comment to a gay man may indicate a new level of acceptance of homosexuality.”
Similarly, the pope’s comments were picked up and reported by other media outlets, including the Independent, the British tabloid the Sun, and Time Magazine as well, which cut to the heart of liberal hopes with its headline “Pope Francis Reportedly Told a Gay Man ‘God Made You Like This'”
Indeed over the time of the pontiff’s post as the head of the Roman Catholic Church, he has ruffled conservative feathers many a time with comments like this, as shown here in WorldNet Daily, (WND). One may remember the reported comment to an atheist friend, who then reported in a very subjective manner that the Pope claimed that there is no Hell, and that the souls of the unrighteous simply disappear into nothingness.
However, a further search of Pope Francis’ statements reveals something a little bit inconvenient to liberal activists whose prize achievement would be to have the Roman Catholic Church publicly normalize same-sex relationships.
This piece shows that such hopes may well be highly misplaced. This article was run by the Human Rights Campaign, which is actually the largest of George Soros’ associated groups that express this as their purpose:
Founded in 1980, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) “strives to end discrimination against LGBTQ people and realize a world … where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people are ensured equality and embraced as full members of society.” With more than 3 million members and supporters nationwide, it is the largest and most influential LGBTQ lobbying group in the United States, supporting political candidates and legislation that will advance the LGBTQ agenda. Historically, HRC has most vigorously championed the legalization of gay marriage, the expansion of “hate crime” laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories; the abrogation of the U.S. Military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy; and the passage of HIV/AIDS-related legislation.
However, their own piece reveals that Pope Francis is not really creating a sea change in the viewpoint of the Roman Catholic Church on homosexuality.
He does appear to be attempting to make an honest pastoral approach to people who are involved in this lifestyle. Additionally, he seems to be quite contrite about the matter of priestly sexual abuse such as exists in many places within the Roman Catholic Church. This, in fact was the actual topic of the original El Pais news article, and the main focus had very little to do with the Pope’s attitude toward homosexuality.
That article concerned in depth the matter of a man who reported being sexually victimized by a priest named Fernando Kardima in Chile. Fr Kardima’s actions were allegedly known about by his bishop, Juan Barros, but Cruz’ complaints were never investigated, and the bishop allegedly blocked attempts to conduct an investigation into this charge. Initially, Pope Francis himself accused Mr. Cruz of slandering Bishop Barros without any proof.
This was a public accusation, too, so Mr. Cruz found himself having to stand up to the leader of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, a position that for him as a devout believer, was undoubtedly most distressing.
However, the story does not end there. The Pope reconsidered the story and investigated it, and found that Juan Carlos Cruz was in fact telling the truth about the abuse he withstood. The Pope’s subsequent action was to invite Cruz to spend a week at the Pope’s own residence in Santa Marta, and while Cruz was there, the Pope apologized to him for not believing his story. From Cruz’ own account:
Cruz: The first thing [the Pope] told me was ‘I want to apologize to you, in the name of the Pope and the Church, for everything that you have been through. I apologize personally, because I caused this situation that has given you so much pain in the last few months.’ And I replied that it is not good for him to be surrounded by pernicious influences like the Nuncio, or Cardinal Errazuriz, who feeds him disinformation. And then he’s got bishops who work like a real mafia, concealing and minimizing everything. The Pope was shocked. I told him that these men had sunk his own image in Chile, and that is why there are so few people going to Mass. He said that he enjoyed going to Chile but that he had seen strange things there. He seemed hurt for having been to Chile with such poor information, and that’s why I believe him.
El Pais: Did you talk about the abuse?
Cruz: Yes, in great detail. I cried, and he looked very pained. He put his hand on my shoulder and said ‘Go ahead and cry, child.’
El Pais: Did you tell him that you are still a believer?
Cruz: Yes, of course. He had been told that I did not have the faith, that I was an enemy of the Church. I told him that this made me very angry, because I still believe and I still love the Church, and I believe that this can change. ‘My faith is tremendously important to me, Your Holiness,’ I said. I think it is horrible that they’re trying to destroy even that. ‘That is tremendously evil,’ he replied. I explained that I want to be a good person, and I cannot stand to think that what was done to me is being done to thousands of people by other bishops elsewhere in the world, and this has got to end. I told him that he already has a good reputation for being an approachable man. ‘You could have a spectacular papacy if you grab the bull by the horns and get tough on the issue of abuse, and send out the message that the Pope is no longer going to tolerate this,’ I said. And he replied: ‘Help me ensure that the Holy Spirit will guide me so I know what to do.’“
This is a MUCH different story than the point about the homosexuality comment. And while the article ends with the exchange quoted at the beginning, one may begin to understand that what happened here is probably less an issue of squishy theology and more of an issue of pastoral care to someone who really needed it.
The mainstream liberal press ignored all of this and tried to use the situation to capitalize on their own agenda, and in this they attempted to use a pastoral statement and make something more out of it than it perhaps was intended to be.
To be sure, Pope Francis has been quite solid on the matter of what constitutes a real family. A mother and father are required, not a same sex couple. While the Pope has been far more inclusive in his discussion of the matter of homosexual people being in the Roman Church, his pastoral care does not go to the place where he negates or changes the Church’s position on “gender theory” – for the Church, this idea is nonsense, and Francis has said as much.
If there is anything to be perhaps criticized, it might simply be the notion that was quoted that “God made you that way”, which is theologically untrue. However, the ancient Church understood and grappled with the issue of homosexuality even more than the modern day Christian Church does.
For Juan Carlos Cruz, at that moment the point in life was probably not to address his homosexuality – it was to make right the wrong that had been done him by those with authority in the Roman Catholic Church. However, Pope Francis’ own words also say that the lifestyle is indeed sinful, though the inclination to that lifestyle is not, which is something the Church has always taught. For example, Pope Francis has publicly made these statements:
Let’s think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to annihilate in a few instants a very high number of human beings. Let’s think also of genetic manipulation, of the manipulation of life, or of the gender theory, that does not recognize the order of creation.”
“The family is threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage, by relativism, by the culture of the ephemeral, by a lack of openness to life.”
“[…] I wish to express my appreciation to the entire Slovak church, encouraging everyone to continue their efforts in defense of the family, the vital cell of society.”
The Pope has not changed the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church here. He may have been very soft about the matter in this particular case because in this moment, the pastoral thing to do was not to go after homosexuality. But the efforts of the liberal media to reshape society and destroy Christian values certainly appears to have gotten a kick forward by a statement that was easily taken out of context.