Pope Francis apologises for unintentional vulgar gay slur


Pope Francis has apologised for what has been taken as a vulgar, homophobic slur.

He “never intended to offend or express himself in homophobic terms, and he apologises to those who felt offended” says Holy See press office chief Matteo Bruni.

The remarks are at odds with the pope’s track record to date.

He has made outreach to LGBTQ+ Catholics a hallmark of his papacy and has long insisted there was “room for everyone” in the Catholic Church.

Not quite closed

Bruni said the pope’s comments were delivered behind closed doors at a meeting with Italian bishops on May 20.

Italian media on Monday claimed unnamed Italian bishops said Pope Francis jokingly used the Italian term “faggotness” during the meeting.

They said he used the term when reaffirming the Vatican’s ban on allowing gay men to enter seminaries or be ordained priests.

But Brunei says Francis “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 that was reported by others”.

LGBTQ+ advocates offended

Advocates for greater inclusion and acceptance of LGBTQ+ Catholics are upset.

The offensive slur is bad enough.

But “what is damaging is the institutional church’s insistence on ‘banning’ gay men from the priesthood as if we all do not know (and minister alongside) many gifted, celibate, gay priests”.

So said Natalia Imperatori-Lee, chair of the religious studies department at Manhattan College.

She added “The LGBTQ community seems to be a constant target of offhand, off the cuff ‘mistakes’ from people in the Vatican, including the pope, who should know better”.

Comments taken out of context

Francis remarks were taken out of context says the vice president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference.

He is accusing the leaker of using the comments to divide.

“The pope is not homophobic and never was” said Bishop Francesco Savino of the southern Italian Diocese of Cassano all’Jonio.

He denied that, in his conversation with the Italian bishops on May 20, Pope Francis gave a categorical “no” to the entry of homosexuals to the seminary.

“There is not an a priori ‘no’ to them” he said.

“His true concern is the serenity of all. The pope wanted to say that the candidates [for the priesthood and entry to the seminary], whether homosexual or heterosexual, should be capable of living well their promises with respect to obedience, poverty and chastity; to love with a full heart and empty hands.”


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