The Catholic LGBTQ+ community is overjoyed right now over the latest news from Chile about Pope Francis’ alleged accepting statements.
Juan Carlos Cruz, a survivor of one of Chile’s most notorious pedophiles, spoke with the pontiff this past week after being accused of being a pervert by the country’s bishops. He said they had taken issue with his sexuality and in turn he was accused of lying about his abuse at the hands of Reverend Fernando Karadima.
“He told me, ‘Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter,” Cruz told Spanish newspaper El País. “God made you like this and loves you like this and I don’t care. The pope loves you like this. You have to be happy with who you are.”
This is considered the most accepting statement Pope Francis has made to date, but it isn’t the first time he’s spoken out about this. In July 2013, in response to a question about how he felt about gay priests, Francis said, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” The new remarks go further into embracing LGBTQ+ people’s identities as being designed and given by God, which is a huge deal for the Catholic church.
Christopher Lamb, the Vatican correspondent for The Tablet, a self-described progressive Catholic review publication, referred to Pope Francis’ comments as “remarkable and a sign of a shift in attitudes taking place.”
“It goes beyond ‘who am I to judge’ to ‘you are loved by God,'” said Lamb. “I don’t think has changed church teaching but he’s demonstrating an affirmation of gay Catholics, something that has been missing over the years in Rome.”
A Vatican spokesman declined to comment on the pontiff’s most recent behind-the-scenes conversation, telling The Los Angeles Times, “We don’t normally comment on the pope’s private conversations.”