An act of kindness and tolerance by Pope Francis has reportedly renewed the debate about homosexuality and the Catholic Church.
After taking a private meeting with Juan Carlos Cruz, an openly homosexual male who suffered abuse by Catholic priests, the victim related to reporters that the Pope told him, “God made you like this and loves you like this and it doesn’t matter to me. The Pope loves you like this. You have to be happy with who you are. “
Cruz has been widely recognized as a primary whistleblower who shed light on sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Chile. At the direction of Pope Francis, the Vatican has been swift to take action on the child sexual abuse revelations that Cruz survived.
However, the Vatican had apparently mishandled the investigation into allegations that bishop Juan Barros Madrid hid potential child abuse crimes perpetuated by priest Fernando Karadima.
Chilean Catholics have grappled with sexual abuse by priests for over 50 years. The most recent wave of sex abuse accusations date back upwards of 30 years. Although the Vatican handled the Karadima crimes decisively in 2011, cover-up charges were not substantiated against bishop Juan Barros Madrid. In 2015, the Pope went as far as to back the bishop by appointing him to a Southern Chile diocese. Widespread protests apparently reignited an investigation.
In subsequent months, Vatican officials conducted 64 interviews with victims and issued a 2,300-page report. After substantiating the claims of Chile’s victims, the Pope offered a heart-felt apology saying he made “serious mistakes in the assessment and perception of the situation, especially because of the lack of truthful and balanced information,” according to the Catholic News Agency.
Since the findings came out, the Pope called an emergency 3-day meeting in Rome where 34 Chilean priests submitted their resignation for the “grave errors and omissions we have committed.”
Critics have taken exception to Pope Francis’ tough stance on sexual abuse in the church, claiming the allegations are false. However, the leader of the faith has turned his attention to the healing process and righting institutional wrongdoing.
Pope Francis Hailed as a Progressive Leader of the Faith
The Catholic Church has had a long and contentious relationship with homosexual Christians. Pope Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, was widely considered a traditionalist that pushed back against the international wave of homosexual acceptance. He denounced the American political movement to change the legal definition of marriage to include same-sex couples.
In 2012, Benedict XVI instructed U.S. priests that “the Church’s conscientious effort to resist this pressure calls for a reasoned defense of marriage as a natural institution consisting of a specific communion of persons, essentially rooted in the complementarity of the sexes and oriented to procreation.” He resigned in February of 2013.
Although the Catholic Church has traditionally opposed homosexuality and gay marriage, the institution has suffered numerous sexual misconduct allegations by men of the cloth against boys. Many of these charges have been substantiated and Pope Francis appears ready to embrace gay Christians.
The Church has always struggled between reconciling the strict homosexual prohibitions against homosexuality outlined in the Old Testament with Jesus’ message of love, tolerance and forgiveness. Pope Francis has been hailed by both religious and secular people as a progressive leader that has turned the page on this issue.
During his first year as Pope, Francis has pressed the Church’s need to embrace all people with love and understanding. Exclusion based on sexual orientation has become a non-starter under the new Pope and his early speeches spoke directly to this issue.
“The key is for the Church to welcome, not exclude, and show mercy, not condemnation.” In another 2013 talk he went on the record stating that, “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge? The problem is not having this orientation. We must have brothers.”
In 2016, he reportedly reiterated these sentiments saying, “When a (gay) person arrives before Jesus, Jesus certainly will not say, ‘Go away because you are homosexual.’”
The Pope’s policy shift was again made clear in his private meeting with the Chilean sexual abuse survivor, Juan Carlos Cruz.
“I am overcome with emotion after spending a week at the Pope’s house and talking with him for hours,” Cruz reportedly said. “The Pope treated us like kings in Santa Marta.”
~ Christian Patriot Daily