Pope Francis: God made you like that

News report: Gay Man Says Pope Francis Told Him, ‘God Made You Like That And Loves You Like That’.

“He told me, ‘Juan Carlos, the fact that you’re gay doesn’t matter. God made you like that, and he loves you like that, and I don’t care,’” Cruz told Spanish newspaper El Pais, recalling his two-and-half-hour conversation with the pontiff.

My Commentary

The expression “God made you like that,” meaning that God made this man to have a homosexual orientation, does not imply that people are born gay. The Pontiff could have meant that the experiences of this man’s life occurred under the providence of God, and in this sense God made the man to have a homosexual orientation as part of his character. God did not specifically choose that this man should be gay, but rather, the providence of God saw fit to permit this disorder because of the good that occurs when faithful souls cooperate with grace in overcoming the difficulties of this fallen life.

It is also possible that the Pope thinks that some persons are born gay. And he might be right, or partially right, on that point. Perhaps there are genetic influences on sexual orientation. If so, then we could say that God has made some persons to be gay, in the sense that His providence permits that disorder. For we are all fallen sinners, conceived with original sin and subject to this fallenness that permit us to have imperfections and faults.

I know it is not politically correct to say this, but it is the teaching of the Church. The homosexual orientation is a disorder, and homosexual acts (i.e. sexual acts between persons of the same sex) are gravely immoral. The orientation is a disorder since it is ordered toward those acts. But God permits many disorders to afflict the faithful in this life.

Are some persons born gay? My opinion is that homosexuality is a result of a number of factors. There might be some genetic factors, but I don’t think these are determinate, only an influence. Then a person’s experiences in life have an effect along with the decisions each person makes. And, for any particular person, the greater influence might be genetic, or it might be early or later life experiences, or even personal decisions.

The varying causes of sexual orientation are proposed by Jesus:

{19:10} His disciples said to him, “If such is the case for a man with a wife, then it is not expedient to marry.”
{19:11} And he said to them: “Not everyone is able to grasp this word, but only those to whom it has been given.
{19:12} For there are chaste persons who were born so from their mother’s womb, and there are chaste persons who have been made so by men, and there are chaste persons who have made themselves chaste for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever is able to grasp this, let him grasp it.”

The saying is applied to chastity, but it could be applied also to any orientation regarding sexuality: the factors are birth (genetics), the influence of others (whether earlier or later in life), and one’s own decisions. For we all have free will.

And since we have free will, no one can say that they are justified in engaging in homosexual sexual acts or any other sexual sins supposedly because God made them that way. Even if God permitted a genetic influence, or permitted the influence of others, the person has free will, and therefore he or she can choose to cooperate with grace and thereby avoid committing sexual sins.

God’s grace enables us to understand right from wrong, enables us to make truly free decisions, even in contradiction to faults found in our fallen human nature, and prompts us to live a chaste and loving life. God’s grace works in our lives to help us to be good and to do good.

Pope Francis said nothing wrong here. He merely acknowledges what Christ also acknowledges, the influence of varying factors on sexuality and the call from God to be chaste, according to one’s state of life.

See also this article at CatholicPlanet.net, discussing Michael Voris’ take on the comments.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

Please take a look at this list of my books and booklets, and see if any topic interests you.

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23 Responses to Pope Francis: God made you like that

  1. Matt Z. says:

    We can say that God allows for someone to have evil inclinations, but we cannot say God makes evil inclinations because that would go against the nature of God. God can only create good and has made us all good! It was because of original sin that evil entered our world, but that wasnt caused by God but our own free choice to do evil instead of good.

    To say that there is a same sex attraction gene would mean that there would have to be all sorts of other sinful and disordered genes. I can’t see this being true and if it is, it still isnt made by God. Mark, I like your comparison with physical abnormalities and disordered inclinations.

    We dont know the context in which the Pope spoke, he could have meant, “this is what God is giving you to deal with, this is your cross,” and the man could have falsely taken it as God made him that way.

    Abortion allowed in Ireland and homosexuality spread across the globe, I’m wondering if we are living in the end times now?

    • Marco says:

      “To say that there is a same sex attraction gene would mean that there would have to be all sorts of other sinful and disordered genes. I can’t see this being true”

      What about those children, who are stile under the age of reason and don’t have any sexual desire, who behave like they are of the opposite sex (for example a little male children who acts like a little girl)?

      Did they make a willfull choice as well?

    • Marco says:

      And mind you, in that case we aren’t talking about sexual temptations, since these children, obviously, are too young to feel any sexual impulse.

  2. Matt Z. says:

    Children pick up actions from other children. They are figuring themselves out at these stages and realizing the difference in genders. Its good to have a solid family, mother and father sisters and brothers, giving good example of strong genders. Its sick to say that a normal child under the age of reason are somehow knowingly acting like a homosexual. And if they do act in this way it is because of original sin or the sin and conditioning of the world.

  3. Matt Z. says:

    If we say there are sinful genes then we say that they are physically built in, and the person has no choice, which simply isn’t true. Correct me if I’m wrong, but a person who suffers from an inclination to any type of sin can be protected even from the temptation and inclination from that sin(not all temptation), for a period of time or throughout ones life by cooperation with Gods grace and practice of the virtues. If we say people have a gene there would be no hope of this. I have read that certain people have more of an inclination of one sin to the other, but not because of a physical gene.

    • Ron Conte says:

      I think that genes may predispose some persons to certain sins. A person might have genes that make them more or less sociable, or even tempered, or prone to anger, or prone to certain emotions, etc. A person might have genes that make them more likely to fall into alcoholism. Genes in fallen human persons can have an influence toward behaviors that are sinful. And we all have concupiscence, which influences toward selfishness and sin in general.

      But I’m not saying that persons are born gay, but rather that some are born with a tendency toward that disorder. It is a question of genetic influences; it is not determinant.

    • Marco says:

      “But I’m not saying that persons are born gay, but rather that some are born with a tendency toward that disorder. It is a question of genetic influences; it is not determinant.”

      I agree with this, the only problem i have is that the children i was talking about behaved like female entrapped in a male body. And there certainly wasn’t malice in them, since they hadn’t reached the age of reason yet.

      I don’t know how to explain these things. What do you think about it? We aren’t talking about sinning here, we are talking about something very weird, as it seems to entail a kind of mind/body dualism which i don’t know how much compatible is with our doctrine.

    • Ron Conte says:

      A lot of this is due to parents and other persons encouraging behaviors of the opposite gender, and not encouraging gender appropriate behavior. Some of this is also due to society itself, not providing clear role models. Broken families may also be a contributing factor. But there may also be genetic influences, which are not determinant.

  4. Matt Z. says:

    Ron, when you say, “A person might have genes that make them more or less sociable, or even tempered, or prone to anger, or prone to certain emotions, etc. A person might have genes that make them more likely to fall into alcoholism.”

    Could there be a difference though since same sex attraction would be a disordered inclination that goes against nature. Although someone may have a disposition of anger, anger is a passion and in itself is not a disordered inclination that goes against nature. To say that we have genes that are disordered toward same sex attraction would mean to say that people have a physical gene directly going against our masculinity or femininity. If this were true, would not all people some sort of disordered gene? Why would it only be a select few? Would there be a gene of beasteality?

    With all this said, God doesnt make sinful inclinations or disorders. Sinful inclinations or disorders could be results of original sin or the results of conditioning of a sinful world. We must still fight against sin and evil desires.

    • Ron Conte says:

      No, I don’t think there is a gene that makes someone gay. I think genes influence biochemical pathways, which have effects on behavior, indirectly. There’s no “gay gene”, but some genes may have some influence on susceptibility to that disorder.

  5. Matt Z. says:

    Thanks Ron, that makes sense. Then there is a difference between physical evil, spiritual evil, and moral evil. Its funny, I looked this up and came to your forums. Are you still active on these forums?

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