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:

[Matthew]
{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.

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

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