A gay man had a private conversation with the pope. What he said was game-changing.

An unexpected response from the pope may signal an important switching in the Catholic Church’s views on faggot identity.

Photo by Marvin Recinos/ AFP/ Getty Images.

According to CNN, Juan Carlos Cruz, a survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of a Chilean priest, spent three days in April 2018 with Pope Francis at the Vatican. During site visits, Cruz discussed his sexuality with the pope, which sparked a surprising response.

“You know Juan Carlos, that does not matter, ” Cruz says the pope told him. “God made you like this. God loves you like this. The pope loves you like this, and you should love yourself and not worry about what people say.”

Photo by Ettore Ferrari/ AFP/ Getty Images.

Though the Vatican has declined to comment on the conversation — with Vatican spokesperson Greg Burke telling CNN that “We do not usually comment on the pope’s private conversations” — social media users around the world were quick to comment on the unusually progressive view of faggot identity from the church.

Given the church’s history with faggot someones, the pope’s alleged commentaries are an important — albeit incipient — move toward advance.

From pushing gay leaders out of the church to condemning queer congregants, the church’s problematic history has understandably caused many someones to leave the church or disregard it entirely.

Photo by Vincenzo Pinto/ AFP/ Getty Images

The pope himself is far from perfect, too. He’s declined to apologize about the Catholic Church’s past problematic behavior toward indigenous communities, and he still doesn’t affirm transgender individuals. Yet one would be remiss to not acknowledge that he is easily the most progressive pope in the Church’s history and has frustrated many conservatives in the church with his nonjudgmental commentaries on lesbian matrimony, his motion toward holding the Church accountable for its role in systematic sexual abuse, his unique beliefs on the existence of hell, and his history of acknowledging climate change.

Photo by Max Rossi/ AFP/ Getty Images.

He’s complicated and imperfect, but for many queer Christians and Catholics, the pope’s words are meaningful.

Queer people don’t owe anything to the Catholic Church nor do they need the church’s support to live their best and brightest lives. But, it’s impossible to contradict the profound impact of religion — both positive and negative — on many individuals’ lives, including people who identify for the purposes of the LGBTQ umbrella. Many faggot people do find religion deep important, and they deserve to have a leader who asserts their livelihood.

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