A man who suffered clerical sexual abuse said Pope Francis told him that God made him gay and loved him. The comment is the latest in a series of controversial statements from the Pope such as when he said there was no hell last month. The Pope's message is probably the most strikingly accepting statements ever to be made by any leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
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Juan Carlos Cruz spoke with Pope Francis in private two weeks ago about the sexual abuse he endured at the hands of one of the most notorious pedophiles in Chile. Cruz said the issue of his being homosexual had come up when some of the Chilean bishops tried to condemn him as a pervert and making up the abuse. In an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais, Cruz said "He told me, 'Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter. 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'."
The man who abused Cruz, 87-year-old Fernando Karadima, was convicted of abuse by the Vatican in 2011. The Vatican's chief spokesman Greg Burke declined to respond to questions about whether Cruz's statements about what the Pope said are true. With Pope Francis' history of saying controversial things that fly in the face of tradition, it is entirely possible Cruz's account of the Pope's statements are accurate.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">BREAKING: The entire Bishops Conference of Chile resigns after Pope accuses them of destroying evidence of sex abuse. Pope will surely accept some of these resignations. More on <a href="https://twitter.com/worldoverdc?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WorldOverDC</a> at 9am E, TODAY <a href="https://twitter.com/EWTN?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@EWTN</a>. <a href="https://t.co/923G9dakXG">https://t.co/923G9dakXG</a></p>— Raymond Arroyo (@RaymondArroyo) <a href="https://twitter.com/RaymondArroyo/status/997448176184582147?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 18, 2018</a></blockquote>
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Not to mention it would not be the first time Pope Francis spoke with an open and tolerant attitude toward homosexuality despite the Church's centuries-old position that gay sex is a sin. When a reporter asked the Pope in July 2013 whether a "gay lobby" within the Vatican existed, Francis replied: "Who am I to judge?" The Vatican correspondent for the Tablet Christopher Lamb said the comments were a remarkable sign of a shift in attitudes toward homosexuality.
"It goes beyond ‘who am I to judge?' to 'you are loved by God,'" said Lamb. "I don’t think he has changed church teaching but he’s demonstrating an affirmation of gay Catholics, something that has been missing over the years in Rome."
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