Pope Francis Told A Gay Man That God Loves Him Just As He Is

His comments are sending reverberations through the Catholic world.

During his meeting with a gay Chilean man, Pope Francis is reported to have said that God made him that way and he was loved regardless. For many,  the pope's words are representative of warmer, more tolerant messaging from the Vatican under Pope Francis' leadership.

The man, Juan Carlos Cruz, spent three days with Pope Francis at the Vatican in April to discuss the church's sex abuse scandal in Chile. During their time together, which Cruz described as "emotional" to NPR, the two discussed Cruz's experience being abused by a Chilean priest, as well as his sexuality.  

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"He said to me, 'Juan Carlos, that's not a problem,'" Cruz said, according to The New York Times. "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 not yet publicly confirmed othe Pope's comments on Cruz' sexuality.

In a conversation with CNN, Cruz said the Pope told him his sexuality "does not matter" and "you should love yourself and not worry about what people say." Many pundits have said the Pope's comments diverge from typical Roman Catholic teaching. CNN described the church's view on homosexuality as "objectively disordered" and "contrary to God's law."

But others are less sure of that. Yashar Ali, a prominent freelance journalist, described himself as a "practicing Roman Catholic" on Twitter before offering some commentary on the pope's words.

"What he is saying here is in line with doctrine for as long as I've been a Catholic," Ali said. "It's just wrapped up in a more loving package. The Church's position has been that people with same-sex attraction were made that way...it is not a choice. But that they are called to a life of chastity." 

In 2011, the Chilean priest who abused Cruz was found guilty of abuse. On Friday last week, all 31 active bishops in Chile offered their resignation to Pope Francis in the wake of a summit to review the sex-abuse scandal, and its worth noting that Pope Francis himself has been the subject of criticism of his handling of the scandal.

It's the second time in recent weeks that Francis has sent reverberations through the Catholic world. In April, A Plus spoke to several prominent Catholic leaders after Francis called on Catholics to care for immigrants with the same vigor that they opposed abortion. After those headline-grabbing comments, many Catholic leaders pointed out that the Pope's comments were in line with the same Catholic teachings that have been around for centuries — but he was just putting a greater emphasis on them. 

"While it's nice for the Pope to say this — he's not saying anything different," Ali wrote of the Pope's reported conversation with Cruz. "It's just said in a nicer way."

Shutterstock / Boris Stroujko

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