VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - As the Vatican remains silent on Pope Francis' latest remarks on homosexuality, the LGBT community is embracing his words.
"Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter," the Holy Father reportedly said to sex abuse victim Juan Carlos Cruz. "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."
Reaction from the LGBT community has been swift, with gay magazine The Advocate publishing the headline "The Pope's Gay-Supportive Words Could Change the Church Forever," and New Ways Ministry's Francis DeBernardo calling the remarks "tremendous."
"It would do a lot better if he would make these statements publicly," said DeBernardo, "because LGBT people need to hear that message from religious leaders, from Catholic leaders."
New Ways Ministry is a gay advocacy group condemned by the Vatican, but often promoted by Jesuit priest Fr. James Martin, who has also praised the Holy Father for his recent remarks. "The pope is saying what every reputable biologist and psychologist will tell you, which is that people do not choose their sexual orientation," he told the Associated Press.
In keeping with its policy not to comment on Pope Francis' private remarks, the Vatican has offered no response to the Holy Father's purported words. Assuming the accuracy of reports, they remain private, unofficial remarks that carry no magisterial weight and thus offer no theological change in Church teaching on human sexuality.
On homosexuality, the Catechism teaches that its "psychological genesis remains largely unexplained." A faction of Catholics within the Church, including Fr. Martin, New Ways Ministry and other dissident groups, push the "born that way" theory in the hope of normalizing homosexuality, with Martin even claiming that ex-gays don't lead "a fully integrated life."
Even after the scientific world confirmed that there is no "gay gene," LGBT activists have touted recent studies claiming a genetic predisposition toward homosexuality — studies debunked by scientists.
Jeffrey Barnett of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute said of the research, "This study is way, way, way too small to draw any meaningful conclusion. None of their findings meets the accepted thresholds for statistical significance in a genome-wide association study," going on to say the conclusions "are utter speculation and don't belong anywhere near a modern genetic study."
Gil McVean, a researcher at Oxford University, noted that "the results have not been replicated in an independent study and the level of evidence presented doesn't meet the threshold of significance typically required within the field," adding, "I don't think the work would have been published if it were on a less controversial topic. It is, at best, preliminary."
As the "born that way" myth continues its propagation in the media, with more states banning "conversion therapy" (a pejorative for reparative therapy — counseling to help individuals get rid of unwanted same-sex desires), thousands of licensed professionals and clients have launched a lawsuit against major LGBT advocacy groups accusing them of perpetrating mass fraud.
The National Task Force for Therapy Equality, made up of counselors and clients, lodged a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission last year, charging the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) of "mass deception and fraud in their efforts to ban counseling by licensed professionals for clients distressed with unwanted same-sex attractions and gender identity conflicts."
LGBT activists typically mischaracterize reparative therapy, claiming that it involves shaming, shock therapy and other forms of psychological, mental and even physical torture. But the research of the late Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, a pioneer in reparative therapy, as well as the uptick in ex-gay groups, belies such propaganda, a number of individuals testifying to having not only left the homosexual lifestyle, but embracing a normal, heterosexual orientation.
Nicolosi practiced as a licensed psychologist in California, and was a founding member and president of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), whose goal is to help same-sex attracted clients overcome unwanted homosexual desires. According to its website, "It is the only secular group in the U.S. which protects the rights of therapists to counsel clients with unwanted homosexuality."