During a closed-door meeting on Monday, Pope Francis cautioned Italian bishops to ensure they reject any applicants to the priesthood who might be homosexual, according to Reuters.
“Keep an eye on the admissions to seminaries, keep your eyes open,” the pope was quoted as saying by newspaper La Stampa’s Vatican Insider service. “If in doubt, better not let them enter.”
The meeting happened to come just one day after Juan Carlos Cruz, who was sexually abused by Chilean priests as a child, said the pope told him in April that God had made him gay and loves him just the way he is.
Monday’s guidance falls in line with that of previous popes and likely will reassure conservatives who do not appreciate Francis’s prior statements on homosexuality:
“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?” the pope said on his first overseas trip in 2013. In 2016, he said he had ministered to people with unfulfilled homosexual tendencies as well as homosexuals who were not able to remain chaste, as the Church asks them to.
“When a person arrives before Jesus, Jesus certainly will not say: ‘Go away because you are homosexual’,” he said.