'That you are gay does not matter': Pope Francis tells homosexual survivor of church sex abuse '

By Chris Pleasance
Daily Mail
May 21, 2018

Pope Francis allegedly told a gay man: 'That you are gay does not matter. God made you like that and he loves you like that'

Juan Carlos Cruz claims the Pope made the statement during a four-day meeting to discuss sexual abuse that he suffered at the hands of priests in Chile

[with video]

Pope Francis told a gay man that 'God made you like that' and that being homosexual 'does not matter', it has been reported. 

Juan Carlos Cruz, a victim of sexual abuse by bishops in Chile, claims the Pope made the remark during a private meeting at the Vatican three weeks ago.

Cruz was invited to the city and to the Pope's private residence at Sancta Marta along with two other victims so the pontiff could apologise for failing to take their allegations seriously in the past.

During the meeting Cruz told Francis about being abused by Father Fernando Karadima and the fact that his sexuality had been used to discredit him.

Cruz told Spanish newspaper El Pais: '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 wants you like that, you have to be happy with who you are."'

Francis has been known for his tolerant views of homosexuality, telling a reporter in 2013 'who am I to judge?' when asked about a 'gay lobby' within the Vatican.

But his latest remark, if accurate, would mark an historic shift in attitudes towards homosexuality within the Catholic church.

A long-standing opponent of same-sex marriage and homosexual sex, the church has never even issued an official statement on whether it believes people are born gay or choose to become gay, Newsweek reports. 

Following Francis' meeting with Cruz, all 34 of Chile's bishops offered to resign after years of denying abuse at the heart of the church.

The announcement followed four days of discussions in the Vatican, where the pope accused the bishops of 'grave negligence' in investigating allegations that children had been abused and saying evidence of sex crimes had been destroyed.

Apologising to the victims, the pope and to Chile for the failings of Chile's churchmen, Ramos said the bishops would all stay in their roles until Francis had decided what to do.

The scandal that has swirled around the Chilean church for more than 20 years erupted four months ago when the pope visited Chile, prompting questions about his response to the serious claims of abuse.

Chilean victims of abuse welcomed news the bishops were ready to stand down but insisted the Vatican should take further, punitive action against the bishops.

Juan Carlos Cruz, one of three Chilean victims invited by the pope to Rome earlier this month, said the 'corrupt' bishops should be replaced by those in the church who had helped abuse victims.

'There are very good people within the Chilean Church who could take over the reigns and repair the damage done by these corrupt bishops,' Cruz said in an interview.

Eneas Espinoza, a Chilean man who claims to have been abused while at a school run by the Marist brothers, called on the pope to pursue a canonical prosecution that could see them stripped of all titles and benefits.

'We want concrete, real action,' he said in an interview. 'I don't want my abuser to end up living in a plush retirement home.'

The scandal revolves around Father Fernando Karadima, who was found guilty in a 2011 Vatican investigation of abusing boys in Santiago in the 1970s and 1980s. Now 87 and living in a nursing home in Chile, he has always denied any wrongdoing.

Victims accused Bishop Juan Barros of having witnessed the abuse but doing nothing to stop it. Barros, who was one of those who offered to stand down, has denied the allegations.

Friday's resignations came just four months after the pope had visited Chile in a trip that raised questions over his response to abuse scandals that have rocked the church over the past 17 years and his willingness to deal with the crisis.

During the visit, Pope Francis staunchly defended Barros, denouncing accusations against him as 'slander.'

But days after returning to Rome, the pope, citing new information, sent sexual abuse investigator Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta to Chile to speak to victims, witnesses and other church members.


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