Speculation: What Does Pope Francis Think?

What does Pope Francis really think about the LGBT+ community? This has been a question considered by many people, Catholic and non-Catholic alike. On May 20th, Pope Francis addressed Juan Carlos Cruz, a victim of sexual assault within the church and openly gay man, about his struggles during Cruz’s trip to the Vatican. While their conversation was primarily concerning the sex-abuse scandal that has shaken the church in Chile, they also addressed his sexuality. According to Cruz, the Pope told him, “It doesn’t matter. God made you like this. God loves you like this.”

The Vatican offered no official comments concerning the Pope’s statement, only that they “do not normally comment on the Pope’s private conversations.”

However, conflicting claims have arisen. The magazine Vatican Insider while reporting on a closed-door meeting between the Pope and senior officials, claims that the Pope stated, “If in doubt, better not let them enter”; in short, if someone is gay, they should not be permitted to train to become a priest. If this statement is true, it would imply that his views are equivalent to retired Pope Benedict XVI. However, the comments offered to Cruz could show an inside to what the Pope really thinks; that is, that homosexual members of the Catholic Church are not sinning by nature of God’s creation.

While homosexuality and the teaching of the Catholic Church seem to be contradictory, many of Pope Francis’s public actions of acceptance and meeting with LGBT+ individuals may indicate a differentiation in thought from what is traditionally held, such as when he stated, “Who am I to judge?” while talking to a transgender man from Spain at the Vatican.

Although the official teaching of the Catholic Church on being gay is that, “the homosexual inclination is objectively disordered” and same-sex couples cannot marry, there seems to be a contradiction in the Church and the Pope’s statements. While Pope Francis seems to give the message, “It’s okay to be gay”, the Church’s official doctrine seems to be saying the opposite. So, why does this ambiguity persist? One theory is that the Pope wants to change the rules but cannot due to the strong conservative resistance. However, we have seen Pope Francis change rules regarding the sacrament of communion for divorced individuals despite conservative resistance, so perhaps change isn’t far off.

The fact is that the Pope has not given a clear indication of his want to change the rules, but there could be more we don’t know and there is also still a possibility in the future for more clear statements. But, as far as we are able to see, for Pope Francis, the person comes before the rules and policies.

– Ellie Polyak ’21

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