This is a pretty big deal — Pope Francis recently told a gay man that he was, indeed, born that way. God made him gay, said the pope, and there was nothing wrong with that.
Juan Carlos Cruz, a survivor of sexual abuse, spent three days with Pope Francis at the Vatican in April, in which he discussed his sexuality and the abuse he suffered at the hands of a Chilean priest.
Describing his encounter with the Pope to CNN, Cruz said: “You know Juan Carlos, that does not matter. God made you like this. God loves you like this. The Pope loves you like this and you should love yourself and not worry about what people say.”
The Pope’s words would amount to a significant departure from the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, which considers homosexuality “objectively disordered” and contrary to God’s law.Vatican spokesman Greg Burke told CNN on Monday: “We do not normally comment on the Pope’s private conversations.”
While many progressives are celebrating the pope’s comments — just as they did when he famously said, “Who am I to judge?” when asked if homosexuality was a sin — there’s a larger issue at play here.
The CNN article is right to say the Catholic Church considers homosexuality “objectively disordered.” But the Catechism also says gay people “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” condemning discrimination on that basis. So it’s certainly a big deal for the pope to say God made someone gay, because it implies that God made certain people “disordered.”But the bigger problem here is what Juan Carlos Cruz is supposed to do from this point forward, and the pope very clearly (and perhaps very strategically) didn’t talk about this.
Is he allowed to be in a relationship? Can he get married to someone of the same gender? Is he allowed to have sex within that relationship?
The Catholic Church may condemn gay people, but it really condemns “homosexual acts.” And to this point, Pope Francis has never suggested that gay people can or should find happiness through a loving, sexual relationship.
Now that would be a big deal.
Maybe God made Cruz gay. And maybe Cruz should love himself. But if he’s a practicing Catholic, then Pope Francis should have finished the thought by saying Cruz would only be able to honor God by living a celibate life.
The pope gets a lot of credit for his seemingly progressive views on the topic of homosexuality, but there’s no evidence he’s progressive where it truly matters. When it comes to love, the Church still prohibits same-sex relationships.
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