Vatican City, May 20, 2018 / 08:55 am
A victim of the Chilean clergy abuse crisis who met privately with Pope Francis told a Spanish news source that the Pope told him to accept himself and his same-sex attraction, because God made him that way.
Juan Carlos Cruz, a victim of Chilean abuser Fr. Fernando Karadima, met with Pope Francis privately in April after being invited to the Vatican along with other victims of abuse.
In comments to the press on May 2, Cruz said that the Pope was “sincere, attentive and deeply apologetic for the situation [of sexual abuse].”
“For me, the pope was contrite, he was truly sorry,” Cruz said. “I felt also that he was hurting, which for me was very solemn, because it's not often that the pope says sorry to you...he said, 'I was part of the problem, I caused this and I apologize.'”
In a later interview with Spanish newspaper El País, Cruz was asked whether he and Pope Francis had spoken about homosexuality during their meeting, as Cruz identifies as gay.
Cruz confirmed that they did speak about homosexuality, and that he explained to the Pope that he is not a bad person and tries not to hurt anybody.
“He told me ‘Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter. God made you like that and he loves you like that and I do not care. The Pope loves you as you are, you have to be happy with who you are,’" Cruz recalled.
The comment is controversial because it evokes a theological debate about the causes of homosexuality.