Pope Francis: Like Mary, the Church is a mother

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However, Pope Frances reportedly told Juan Carlos Cruz in a private meeting at the Vatican that God accepts him for who he is, including his homosexuality. During their meetings, Cruz said the Pope addressed homosexuality, which has been traditionally deemed as a sinful practice in the Catholic church.

"Juan Carlos, that you are gay doesn't matter", Cruz said Francis told him, according to Catholic news site Crux.

Of all the statements a Christian church could make, one might think that "God loves you" would be the least controversial and most well understood, but here we are. God made you like that and he loves you like that and I do not care.

"He said, 'Look Juan Carlos, the pope loves you this way, God made you like this and he loves you'".

The Church's teachings consider homosexuality as "objectively disordered", which makes Pope Francis's comments a stark departure from its teachings.

Mr Cruz was one of three Chilean victims who were invited by the Pope to Rome this month in the wake of a scandal over efforts by the country's hierarchy to cover up clerical sexual abuse.

The church teaches that any sexual activity outside the bond of marriage between a man and a woman is sinful and that "homosexual persons are called to chastity" and to seek to fulfill God's will in their lives.

They seem to go further than his comment in 2013 to reporters, "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?".

"When a person (who is gay) arrives before Jesus, Jesus certainly will not say, 'Go away because you are homosexual, '" Francis said, adding: "Please don't say that the pope will sanctify trans [transgender people], because I read the headlines in the newspapers". "If the church is ready to change and embrace love it would be a attractive thing".

Some of the Vatican investigator's findings were included in the report, according to Chile's T13 television, which acquired a leaked copy.

It was then that the pope reassured him, he said. The revised edition says: "This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for majority a trial". "This is what Jesus would do today".

Francis did dispatch a Vatican investigator - Archbishop Charles Scicluna to Chile in January though he continued to defend Barros - who has also maintained he was not involved in a cover-up maintain - and to say no victims had come forward against Barros.

In a speech to an annual assembly of the Italian bishops conference Monday, Francis blamed the priest shortage on such factors as demographic changes, scandals in the church and cultural trends that dissuade young people from making lifelong commitments and make them value instead the "dictatorship of money".

Pope Francis quotes about women:"We have to work harder to develop a profound theology of women within the church, "he said". An article in Time brought to light a comment from Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways ministry, "which advocates equality for LGBT Catholics".