by Graham Pierrepoint
Pope Francis I has arguably made strides with the Catholic church in recent years to help bring religion in line with modern beliefs and societal movements. The Pope has not only confirmed variously that animals go to heaven – and that atheists have a place in the afterlife – but also that the Big Bang theory is plausible, and that it fits in line with the presence of an omnipotent God. To say that some of his statements have been ground-breaking is just as true as they have been controversial to some ends – but it’s hardly argued that he isn’t attempting to make a number of progressive changes for the greater good. For one, he has also remained open and concerned about child abuse allegations within the church, and has on more than one occasions taken steps to advise that action will be taken. Truly, following the retirement of Benedict XVI, Francis I has been a modern Pope for the ages.
This week, he has made the news again following comments he made with a homosexual victim of abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest. Juan Carlos Cruz held private audience with Pope Francis in recent days to open up about horrific abuse he had suffered through Fernando Karadima, a former Chilean priest who has since been condemned by the Vatican following revelations that he had sexually abused minors – he has not faced a criminal court, but has been barred from the church and has been sentenced to ‘penance’. Francis’ discussion with Cruz turned to the victim’s sexuality, and the Pope openly advised that his orientation was determined by God alone.
▶ Pope To Gay Survivor Of Sexual Assault: “God Made You This Way”
“That you are gay does not matter,” the Pope reportedly advised Cruz. “God made you like that, and loves you like this – and I don’t care. The Pope loves you like this. You have to be happy with who you are.” The comments are the latest in a long stream of progressive statements that Francis I has made in recent times, further helping to move the church towards a more progressive future. Roman Catholicism, however, has always outright stated that homosexuality is sinful – making the Pope’s comments all the more remarkable, and further clear indication that he is concerned about moving the church in a more positive direction with regard to certain attitudes. Who’s to say which direction things will move in from here?