Juan Carlos Cruz is one of three men from Chile who spent a week at the Vatican earlier this year as the guests of Pope Francis, where they spoke to him about the response of Roman Catholic bishops in their country to accusations of sexual abuse lain against Rev. Fernando Karadima. Their conversations with the pontiff followed his visit to Chile in December when the pope railed against the accusations against Karadima, calling them “libels.” On Friday, Spain’s El Pais newspaper published an interview with Cruz, a survivor of clerical sexual abuse, that has been translated in media outlets throughout the English-speaking world in which he claims that the pope told him:that “being gay does not matter.”

Translated from Spanish, Cruz told the interviewer when asked if he spoke about his homosexuality with the pope, “Yes, we talked. He had been basically told that I am a pervert. I explained to him that I am no reincarnation of St. Luis Gonzaga but I am not a bad person; I try not to hurt anyone. He told me, ‘Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter. God made you like this and loves you like this and it does not matter to me. The Pope loves you like this, you have to be happy with who you are.”

“They had told him that I didn’t believe, that I was an enemy of the Church,” he said in his interview with El País. “I told him that it enraged me, because I continue to believe, loving the Church, thinking that this can change.” Cruz also said that his Catholic faith is important to him and that he thought it “awful” that his detractors had said this about him. According to Cruz, Pope Francis said, “It’s a terrible evil.” However, the Vatican has not corroborated the assertions made by Cruz. If the quote is correct, they would go far beyond what the pontiff has said in the past on the subject.  

In the past, media outlets have seized upon statements made by Pope Francis as reconfigurations of Christian doctrine. For example, when Pope Francis held an in-flight press conference when returning from Brazil in 2013, where he said, “If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with goodwill, who am I to judge?” some reports suggested that he was changing the Church’s teaching with regard to homosexual behavior.

However, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states that people who experience homosexual attractions should be “accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity” and that “every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” (Section 2358). At the same time, however, the Catechism declares that “under no circumstances” can homosexual acts be approved.

Here follows an excerpt from the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the subject of homosexual behavior and attractions:

“Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. Sexuality, in which man's belonging to the bodily and biological world is expressed, becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman. The virtue of chastity therefore involves the integrity of the person and the integrality of the gift.

The integrity of the person

“2338 The chaste person maintains the integrity of the powers of life and love placed in him. This integrity ensures the unity of the person; it is opposed to any behavior that would impair it. It tolerates neither a double life nor duplicity in speech.

Homosexuality

“2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,140 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."141 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

“2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

“2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

“2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

“2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.”
 

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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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