DENVER -- It was said in private, but it’s news making waves around the world.
Pope Francis told Juan Carlos Cruz, an openly gay Catholic and survivor of abuse, “God made you like that and loves you like that.”
The news sparking a conversation about whether the Catholic Church -- which serves more than 500,000 Catholics in the Archdiocese of Denver -- will be evolving on LGBTQ rights.
Currently, the Catholic Church does not recognize or allow gay marriages.
In 2005, it banned openly gay men from becoming priests. It has a history of firing openly gay men and women from Catholic positions not to mention the church’s catechism says gay men and women “are contrary to the natural law.”
“I think people would like to make more of it than they ought,” said Gregory Robbins, a professor of religious studies at the University of Denver.
Robbins said “his words don’t change the catechism” adding, “it could open up a discussion on sexuality.”
“It’s not not the first time he has hinted at something like this,” Robbins said.
In 2013, Pope Francis said, “Who am I to judge” when asked about gay people.
In 2016, Pope Francis ordered priests to stop engaging in “unjust discrimination.”
After each of those statements, there were headlines. However, each time there was no major change in church doctrine
Officially, the Vatican is neither confirming nor denying the news.
The Archdiocese of Denver sent a statement on Monday.
"The Archdiocese of Denver is in the same situation as the Vatican and cannot comment on a private conversation or confirm the accuracy of anything reportedly said by Pope Francis. Given this situation, the archdiocese is not able to offer further comment on these reports.
It is a fundamental Catholic belief that every person is loved and has great value and dignity before God. The Catholic Church teaches that people with homosexual tendencies “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”
As for Catholics attending daily Mass at the Denver Basillica, there is appreciation for the pope’s words.
“We are called to love each other,” one parishioner said.AlertMe