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Pope Francis issues apology after reported use of homophobic slur

Pope Francis reads during his weekly general audience in the Paul VI hall. VATICAN CITY^ VATICAN - 10 JANUARY 2024

Pope Francis is apologizing after reports surfaced that the pontiff had used a homophobic term for LGBTQ+ people in a closed-door meeting with bishops. The Vatican issued a statement on Tuesday on behalf of Pope Francis, which said in part: “In the Church there is room for everyone, for everyone! Nobody is useless, nobody is superfluous, there is room for everyone. Just as we are, all of us.” Matteo Bruni, director of the Holy See Press Office, added: “Pope Francis is aware of articles that recently came out about a conversation, behind closed doors, with the bishops of the [Italian Bishops Conference]. The Pope never intended to offend or express himself in homophobic terms, and he apologizes to those who felt offended by the use of a term reported by others.”

CBS News reported that the Pope Francis had used derogatory language at the Italian Bishops’ Conference when asked if gay men should be allowed to train as priests if they remain celibate. The pope reportedly said gay men should not be allowed to train as priests even if they pledge to remain celibate, and he used a homophobic slur – reinforcing longstanding Church instruction against allowing homosexual men to enter the seminary to train for the priesthood.

The remarks were first reported on the Italian tabloid website Dagospia and then by other Italian news agencies, who said that Pope Francis was reportedly speaking in Italian, which is not his first language. The Vatican’s statement continued: “The Pope never intended to offend or express himself in homophobic terms, and he extends his apologies to those who were offended by the use of a term, reported by others.”

Pope Francis has previously been respectful publicly towards the LGBTQ+ community, stating that priests should be able to bless same-sex couples in some circumstances, but stressing that the blessings would be for individuals in the couples, and not the couples themselves.

Editorial credit: Alessia Pierdomenico / Shutterstock.com

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