I’m going to preface this piece with the acknowledgment that to date, there has been no official statement from the Vatican, regarding Pope Francis’ beliefs on this particular situation. Until there is, we’re going to take the claims of Juan Carlos Cruz with a grain of salt, and proceed accordingly.
To begin, who is Juan Carlos Cruz?
He’s a survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of a Chilean Catholic priest.
He’s also a gay man.
In April, Cruz spent three days in the Vatican with Pope Francis, discussing the sexual abuse he suffered and his sexuality.
His abuser, Fernando Karadima, was found guilty by the Vatican of the charges of sexual abuse against him back in 2011.
It has apparently been an ongoing scandal, with far reaching implications. On Friday of last week, every Catholic bishop in Chile offered their resignation to Pope Francis. This was after an emergency three day summit at the Vatican, where they discussed the depth of the sex abuse scandal that rocked the nation’s Catholic base.
In total, 31 active bishops and three retired bishops announced in a statement that they had offered to resign over the scandal and place the issue “in the hands of the Holy Father so that he might freely decide for each one of us.”
To date, there has been no word on whether those resignations have been accepted or what the next move for the Catholic church in Chile will look like.
But back to Juan Carlos Cruz and his time spent with Pope Francis.
Cruz has stepped forward to offer part of what he drew from his conversations with the head of the Catholic church, and if what he’s saying is true, it flies in the face of not just what has been taught by the Catholic church from its conception, but from the Word of God, itself.
Describing his encounter with the Pope to CNN, Cruz said: “You know Juan Carlos, that does not matter. God made you like this. God loves you like this. The Pope loves you like this and you should love yourself and not worry about what people say.”
That’s not true.
This is not to take away from the pain of Cruz’s experience, nor that of any of the victims of abuse at the hands of corrupt Chilean priests.
The priests are the “bad guys” in this scenario. They took their positions of influence and power and created a class of victims. What they did was against the teachings of Christ and the Word of God.
Understanding that, also understand this:
God did not create homosexuality or make anyone gay.
To believe this is to believe our Father in Heaven changes and contradicts Himself.
He does not (Malachi 3:6).
I’ve heard this corrupted line of reasoning before, that those caught in the gay lifestyle were created that way.
In Genesis 2:24, God lays the groundwork for sexuality and marriage.
CEB – “This is the reason that a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife, and they become one flesh.”
It’s specific. There’s no room left for interpretation. Father, mother, man, wife.
The harsher, pre-grace Old Testament version specifically notes in Leviticus 18:22 (AMP):
“You shall not lie [intimately] with a male as one lies with a female; it is repulsive.”
So what about the New Testament? Did Jesus come and wipe away the old rules and make it an anything goes society?
Not at all.
Mark 10:6-9 NLT – “6 But ‘God made them male and female’[a] from the beginning of creation. 7 ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife,[b] 8 and the two are united into one.’[c] Since they are no longer two but one, 9 let no one split apart what God has joined together.”Romans 1:26-27 NIV – “26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”
God’s Word is clear, from beginning to end. And He will not contradict Himself to create that which He calls repulsive or an abomination. To suggest it makes no sense and distorts the truth of Who God is.
The more likely scenario that is troublesome and against human nature here is that homosexuality is a result of the Fall of Man from the beginning.
Adam’s first act of pride and disobedience in the Garden of Eden introduced sin into the world. As a result, the children born after carried the DNA of Adam, a sinful man.
Sickness, birth defects, disorders, and every manner of perversion were visited through the seed of Adam.
Are people “born gay”?
I believe they are, but they were never meant to live that life, any more than the original intent for life was to be born deaf or blind.
Am I calling homosexuality a “birth defect”?
I’m saying it is a perversion of God’s plan. It is a spiritual defect, exacerbated by a church that has failed to exhibit the compassion of Christ for far too long, and a dark world that tells them they can live outside of God’s will, as long as it “feels good” right now.
If God can love the lame and destitute, as Jesus Christ showed by preaching and healing the sick or granting forgiveness to the woman caught in adultery, He can surely love the homosexual.
There are no levels of sin, except in our own view.
God loves all sinners, but He calls them all to abandon their flesh and to live according to His way, because He knows best for us.
God showed that He loves us, even in our sin, by sending His best to stand as a sacrifice for those sins, but it’s a free gift of grace that only becomes valid when it is accepted.
This world has burdened us all with struggles, some more devastating than others. We were told to expect troubles in this world. We were, however, given a promise of something better, if we have faith, grow and persevere, dying to self and picking up the cross of Christ.
There is grace and forgiveness at the cross for the homosexual, loved by an almighty God, in spite of the worldly stumbling block placed on them.
That being said, God does not ignore sin, and has given ample warning through His Word. To suggest anything outside of that is dangerous.
Did the pope tell Cruz to roll on in his homosexuality, or was there more to it?
Until he speaks clearly and openly to address Cruz’s claims, we should reserve judgment.
We should also pray for the LGBT community, that they understand that their worth in the eyes of God is immeasurable. There is grace available to them, and that a rejection of the LGBT lifestyle by Christians is not a rejection of them, as human beings. They are loved.
We, the Body of Christ, need to do more to get that message across.