International News

Abuse Victim Says Pope Told Him God Loves Him

By Carol Glatz

Juan Cruz, a Chilean victim of clerical sexual abuse, speaks during an interview at the Vatican April 24. (CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – An abuse survivor, who had been disparaged for being a homosexual, said that Pope Francis told him that God made him that way and loved him for who he was.

Juan Carlos Cruz – one of the three survivors from Chile who met with the pope April 27-30 at the Vatican – said his homosexuality and how it brought about further suffering was something he discussed with the pope during the private meeting.

Cruz told the Spanish daily, El Pais, that the pope had been told by detractors “that I was a pervert. I explained that I was not St. Aloysius Gonzaga, but that I am not a bad person either. I try not to hurt anybody.”

According to Cruz, the pope told him, “Juan Carlos, it doesn’t matter that you are gay. God made you that way and he loves you the way you are, and it doesn’t matter to me. The pope loves you the way you are; you have to be happy with who you are.”

The Vatican does not comment on the content of private conversations with the pope.

The “Catechism of the Catholic Church’’ says the “psychological genesis” of same-sex attraction “remains largely unexplained” and that those men and women with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” do not choose their condition.

“Tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law” and under no circumstances can such acts be approved, the catechism teaches.

“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,” it says.

The Church teaches that any sexual activity outside the bond of marriage between a man and a woman is sinful and that “homosexual persons are called to chastity” and to seek to fulfill God’s will in their lives.