Juan Carlos Cruz, who recently spent three days with the pope, told CNN that the pope made the comments to him in a private conversation.
He added: "Let us not forget that God loves all his creatures and we are destined to receive his infinite love". "You have to be happy with who you are, '" Cruz said in the interview, as translated by The Guardian.
If true, the comment would mark an unprecedented shift from the Roman Catholic Church's teachings, which say that homosexuality is a disorder and should be resisted.
In a speech to an annual assembly of the Italian bishops conference Monday, Francis blamed the priest shortage on such factors as demographic changes, scandals in the church and cultural trends that dissuade young people from making lifelong commitments and make them value instead the "dictatorship of money".More news: Impressive start for Seamus Power at AT&T Byron Nelson
"If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" the pope said.
Cruz said that the pope told him: "You know Juan Carlos, that does not matter".
Cruz is a survivor of clerical abuse who spoke privately with the pope a few weeks ago, and has since reported his conversation to Spanish newspapers.
"I welcome any statement from Pope Francis which reminds people that gay people (like anyone) should love themselves", wrote Douglas Robertson at the Independent.More news: The 2018 NBA Playoffs Have Been Awful, With Far too Many Blowouts
A separate letter released by the Vatican urged the bishops to move in the direction of "a prophetic Church, capable of putting at the center what's important: service to her Lord in the hungry, the imprisoned, the migrant, the abused".
Now the Catholic Church does not recognize or allow gay marriages.
"He said to me, that's not a problem". Some people will say that LGBT people can't exist in faith communities; that faith communities don't accept same-sex relationships or those whose gender doesn't match the one that they were assigned at birth. "I don't think he has changed church teaching but he's demonstrating an affirmation of gay Catholics, something that has been missing over the years in Rome".
Even though he has seen so much suffering and poverty, "for those who stand by Jesus, evil is an incentive to ever greater love", the pope said.More news: Gillibrand: Trump's Planned Parenthood rule 'should enrage the American public'