again Pope Francis is rocking the world.
“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
According to reports from Spain’s "El
Pais" newspaper and the Associated Press Pope Francis said the
above mentioned statement in a private conversation with Juan Carlos
Cruz who is gay and one of the Chilean sexual abuse survivors by a
Some LGBTQAI Catholics see Pope Francis
pastoral moment with Cruz having dogma-transforming
“The Pope saying that God created an
individual as gay goes far beyond a statement of welcome,” said
Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA’s Executive Director. “It
sets a new foundation for Catholic teaching about sexual orientation
that is very different than what has been traditionally stated. If
God creates us with our sexual orientation or gender identity as part
of who we are, the doctrine that LGBTQI people are not part of God’s
plan for humanity cannot stand. We can no longer be considered
‘objectively disordered,’ and the entire theology of
human identity and relationships will need to be reconsidered.”
pope’s pastoral moment with Cruz, however, is fraught with not
only the long history of the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, but,
also of the ecclesiastical higher-ups turning a blind eye to it - and
in some cases flatly denying the allegations of its paedophile
priests. Pope Francis being one of them.
For example, Pope
Francis ignited anger in Chile after accusing Father Fernando
Karadima victims of slander, and there was no cover-up by Bishop Juan
"There is not one single piece of proof against
him (Bishop Barros). It is all slander. Is that clear?" the Pope
What happened to compassionate listening and an open
In 2011 the Vatican, however, found Karadima guilty of
abusing teenage boys and was sentenced to a lifetime of “penance
In depicting the abuse and cover-up, Juan
Carlos Cruz tweeted the following:
“As if I could have
taken a selfie or photo while Karadima abused me and others with Juan
Barros standing next to him watching everything."
2016 Pope Francis appointed Barros bishop of Osorno.
elated that Cruz had a private moment with the pontiff. It allowed
Francis to provide the needed pastoral care to Cruz as a sex abuse
survivor. Also, it allowed Francis to make amends for his callous
acts toward Cruz and others as a conciliatory gesture for his sin.
However, I don’t interpret Francis’s pastoral
moment with Cruz as having dogma-transforming ramifications, because
he has flipped - flopped on us too many times, as he has with the
church abuse scandal.
For example, Francis expressed support
for civil unions in his native Argentina back in 2010, at least
according to reports. But same-sex marriage was a different
“Let’s not be na´ve; we’re not
talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive
pretension against the plan of God,” he said at the time. “We
are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the
Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of
But then, in December 2013, the pontiff aptly
stated in a magazine interview that “the moral edifice of the
church is likely to fall like a house of cards” should the
Catholic Church, in this 21st century, continue on the antimodernity
track of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.
And then, in
2016, in anticipation of the upcoming debate about Italy allowing
civil unions the pontiff made his position abundantly clear: “There
can be no confusion between the family God wants and any other type
of union,” Francis said, addressing the Vatican court. “The
family, founded on indissoluble matrimony that unites and allows
procreation, is part of God’s dream and that of his church for
the salvation of humanity.”
In the pontiff’s 2015
tome, “Pope Francis: This Economy Kills." Francis compares
transgender people to nuclear weapons. His reason is that this
unlikely pair both destroy and desecrate God’s holy and
ordained order of creation.
In an interview with the National
Catholic Reporter Francis spewed the following transphobic remarks:
"Let's think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to
annihilate in a few instants a very high number of human beings,"
he continues. “Let’s think also of genetic manipulation,
of the manipulation of life, or of the gender theory, that does not
recognize the order of creation.”
denunciation of our present day gender theories and understanding of
the fluidity of human sexuality not only perpetuates spiritual harm
and alienation to our trans community but it also unwittingly invites
physical harm to our trans community - done in the name of God with
righteous wrath and indignation.
has placed man and woman and the summit of creation and has entrusted
them with the earth. The design of the Creator is written in
In 2000 The Catholic Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith also denounced the existence of transgender
"The key point is that the transsexual surgical
operation is so superficial and external that it does not change the
personality. If the person was a male, he remains male. If she was
female, she remains female."
Sadly Francis’s views
on women’s role within the Catholic Church hierarchy are both
retro and spiritually abusive, too.
Pope Francis continues to
command attention around the world with his liberal-leaning
pronouncements, but the pontiff is a complicated, if not confusing
figure to LGBTQAI people. On the surface, Francis displays a pastoral
countenance to his papacy that extends to all of our community, but
I recall remarks Pope Francis made while flying home after a
weeklong visit to Brazil in 2013, responding to a question about a
possible “gay lobby” in the Vatican. His answer set off
global shock waves.
“When I meet a gay person, I have to
distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby,”
he said. “If they accept the Lord and have good will, who am I
to judge them?”
This public statement is the most LGBTQ
affirmative remarks the world has ever heard from the Catholic
Church. In 2013 “The Advocate," a nationally renowned and
respected ‘zine, named Pope Francis their “Person of the
But, Pope Francis is the consummate flip-flopper
of our time. He doublespeaks on issues - first he defends the
abusive priest and now he doesn't. He embraces the LGBTQAI community
and then he doesn’t. His pastoral demeanor cloaks the iron -
fisted church bureaucratic that he is.
It’s not enough
for Francis to say he embraces our community - privately or publicly.
He must also do it.