NEW YORK – Pope Francis accepted resignations from three Chilean bishops Monday after they were accused of molesting children and covering up other sex abuses within the Catholic Church.
He began his visit to Chile in January by pleading for forgiveness for the “irreparable damage” done to children by the church’s sex abuse scandal. Nevertheless, violent demonstrations and a series of recent church fire bombings evidenced massive protests against his visit. The outbursts were due in part to distrust caused by years of unmitigated sexual predation by some of Chile’s priests, most notably Rev. Fernando Karadima in the 1980s and 1990s, the Telegraph reported. Karadima was suspended for life by the Vatican while Bishops Juan Barros, Cristian Caro Cordero and Gonzalo Duarte García de Cortázar resigned following widespread derision for covering up Karadima’s crimes.
“I am one with my brother bishops, for it is right to ask forgiveness and make every effort to support the victims, even as we commit ourselves to ensuring that such things do not happen again,” Francis said.
Juan Carlos Cruz, a gay man and one of three known Karadima sex abuse victims, claimed in May that the pope had told him God made him gay and loves him exactly as he is.
“Juan Carlos, that you are gay doesn’t matter,” Cruz said Francis told him, according to Crux Now. “God made you like this and loves you like this and it doesn’t matter to me. The pope loves you like this; you have to be happy with who you are.”
Homosexual acts are “contrary to the natural law,” do “not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity” and cannot be approved under any circumstances, the church catechism states. The implication of Cruz’s claim is Francis said God made him with sinful impulses, given the Catholic Church’s teaching on the matter. The church does distinguish, however, between homosexual orientation and homosexual acts. The latter is taught to be overtly sinful while the former, although contrary to natural law, is not considered sinful unless acted upon.
Cruz made the claim in response to questions about whether Francis addressed Cruz’s homosexuality. Cruz said he explained to Francis he was a good person and was not a pervert.
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