The Guardian on May 20 reported on a private conversation that Chilean clerical abuse survivor Juan Carlos Cruz had recently with Pope Francis. Cruz stated:
He told me, “Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter. 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 are.”
Robert Shine, Associate Editor at the New Ways Ministry blog, has compiled reactions to the pope’s statement from from Catholic and LGBTQ leaders. Reverend Irene Monroe, a lesbian theologian, says the following:
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… Pope Francis is the consummate flip-flopper of our time. He doublespeaks on issues – first, he defends the abusive priest and now the survivor. 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.
I agree with Irene Monroe. Kind words from the pope are not enough. He must translate them into action. It is sad and embarrassing that some of us are so wowed by yet another pastoral gesture with no action behind it. If this is how God made us, then the Church should treat us accordingly. That means rescinding the vile nonsense about our love being intrinsically disordered. It means respecting our committed relationships. It means rooting out the treacherous closet cases in the episcopacy and telling them to stop persecuting gay people or face dismissal. It means ordering an end to the cherry-picking of Old Testament passages to justify persecution and returning to the love that flows from the Gospel. It means stating flat out that if God would make us this way and then condemn us for it then He is a monster who deserves to be cursed rather than worshipped. Because that cannot be true. It means not cowering but wrestling God and saying, like Jacob, I will not release you until you bless me.