Pope Francis stirred some controversy after he reportedly told a homosexual man, who was previously abused by an infamous Chilean priest, that God accepts his decision to live as a gay man.
Juan Carlos Cruz, who according to The Guardian spoke with the pope about two weeks ago, said the issue of his sexuality arose because some priests in Latin America have sought to disparage his character, some accusing him of lying about the abuse and others accusing him of being a pervert.
"He told me, ‘Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter. God made you like this and loves you like this and I don’t care. The pope loves you like this. You have to be happy with who you are," Cruz reportedly told El País, a Spanish newspaper.
The Vatican, which by tradition does not comment on the pope's private conversations, did not confirm or deny the characterization of Cruz's account.
And despite Catholic teaching maintaining that homosexuality is a sin, Francis has previously made controversial comments on the issue.
He famously said in 2013 that there is no problem with gay priests.
"If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" the pope said at the time. "They shouldn't be marginalized. The tendency (to be homosexual) is not the problem."
What does traditional Christian teaching say about homosexuality?
Despite progressive politics, orthodox Christian teaching has long maintained that homosexuality is a sin that separates men and women from a wholesome relationship with God. As with any sin, traditional teaching says that Christians should die to themselves and their selfish desires and rid any sin from their lives.
Paul maintained several times through his letters that humans should abstain from homosexuality — as they should with any sexual immorality — while Jesus affirmed the Genesis 2 picture of marriage between one man and one woman together as "one flesh" when questioned as detailed in Matthew 19.