Pope Francis told Italian bishops on Monday to try and monitor for any potentially gay applicants to the priesthood and to not allow them into the church.
Vatican Insider and Il Messaggero reported on Thursday that the comments were made in a closed-door meeting.
“Keep an eye on the admissions to seminaries, keep your eyes open,” the pope allegedly said. “If in doubt, better not let them enter.”
The pope’s comments come just days after Chilean gay man Juan Carlos Cruz, who was a victim of sex abuse by the clergy, claimed the pope told him privately that God made him gay and his sexuality did not matter.
“He said to me, ‘Juan Carlos, that’s not a problem,’” he told Spanish newspaper El Pais. “You have to be happy with who you are. God made you this way and loves you this way, and the pope loves you this way.”
While many see Pope Francis as trying to soften the church’s stance on LGBTQ issues, it is not uncommon for him to have an inconsistent message. In 2016, the pope told the press that Christians owe apologies to gays and other groups who have been marginalized by the church.
However, in 2015, he said that conservative Christians should be allowed to refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses if doing so violates their personal religious beliefs. And that same year, he said that the institution of marriage was threatened by redefining sexuality, but also said during a 2013 trip, “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?”