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Pope Francis Apologizes Over Saying Homophobic Slur


Pope Francis has apologized following reports that he used derogatory language towards gay men. A statement from the Vatican said that the Pope did not mean to offend anyone and apologized to those who were “hurt by the word”.

At the Italian Bishops’ Conference, the pope reportedly said that gay men should not be allowed to train for priesthood, adding that there was already an air of frociaggine, a word that is equivalent to the f-word slur for gay people.

This meeting was in private, but widely reported.

“Pope Francis is aware of the articles that have come out recently concerning a conversation he had with bishops behind closed doors,” the statement quoted a director of the Holy See Matteo Bruni.

The Pope’s reported comments were first conveyed to the Italian tabloid website Dagospia and later confirmed by other Italian news agencies.

There has been shock at the reported language, particularly as Pope Francis has often talked publically about being respectful toward gay people.

Mr. Bruni said: “As he has stated on more than one occasion, ‘In the Church, there is room for everyone, everyone! Nobody is useless or superfluous, there is room for everyone, just the way we are.’ The Pope never meant to offend or to use homophobic language, and apologizes to everyone who felt offended [or] hurt by the use of a word.”

Progressive supporters of the Pope have long argued that while little has tangibly changed in terms of gay rights in Catholicism, he has changed the tone of the Church’s attitude.

When asked about gay people early in his papacy, he appeared in the headlines by responding with “Who am I to judge?”

He recently created consternation among Catholic traditionalists by saying priests should be able to bless same-sex couples and has frequently talked about gay people being welcome in the Church.

Spanish-speaking defenders of the Pope pointed out that he sometimes makes mistakes in Italian colloquialisms, and suggested that he did not appreciate the level of offense he might have caused. This is even though he grew up in an Italian-speaking household in Argentina.

But the head of the LGBT Catholic rights group DignityUSA, Marianne Duddy-Burke, called the reported comments “shocking and hurtful”, especially to gay priests who have served “God’s people faithfully and well”. “Unfortunately, even if intended as a joke, the Pope’s comment reveals the depth of anti-gay bias and institutional discrimination that still exist in our church,” she told Reuters.

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