In a surprising and unprecedented development today, Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church said to one of his followers Mr. Juan Carlos Cruz, in a private conversation, “The pope loves you this way, God made you like this and he loves you.”
Mr. Cruz, the whistle blower of a Chilean clerical sex abuse and cover-up scandal, was called upon by the Pope to have an audience with him, along with other victims of the predator priest, wherein Pope Francis is claimed to have made the ground-breaking statement.
The statement is being embraced by the LGBTQIA community as a welcome change and a softening in stance by the Catholic Church percolating right from the fountainhead himself. The present pope is known to harbor a desire to make gay people feel more loved and welcomed into the Catholic fold.
It may be noted here that the official stand of the church calls for gay men and lesbian women to be respected and loved, but considers homosexual activity “intrinsically disordered.” Even the first edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the dense summary of Catholic teaching published by St. John Paul II in 1992 states, “Gay individuals do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial.”
Typically, the statement is neither being endorsed nor denied by the Vatican as an official stand of the Catholic Church, but is being looked upon as one of the pope’s statements in his personal capacity. In his own ministry the pope is known to have advocated that gay and transgender people are children of God, loved by God, deserving of his love and therefore in effect accompaniment of the church. This only goes to second his, by now famous, 2013 statement, “Who am I to judge?”
While some downplayed his statement as not being too significant and only a result of his pastoral-minded attitude, Francis DeBernado, pastor of the New Ways Ministry which advocates equality for the LGBT Catholics welcomed the comment terming it ‘tremendous’ and one that would go a long way.
Undoubtedly, the LGBTQIA community is unanimous in its opinion that the pope should have made this statement publicly, which would have garnered more acceptance and authenticity, but nevertheless it is a bold and huge step in the right direction on the long and winding path to total acceptance.
Written by – Delshad Master