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Pope Francis apologises after backlash over ’homophobic’ slur

Mangalore Today News Network

New Delhi, May 29, 2024: Pope Francis issued an apology on Tuesday following an outcry over him reportedly using a derogatory term to describe the LGBT community during a private meeting with Italian bishops. The Vatican clarified that the Pope had no intention of using homophobic language.


Pope Francis

"The Pope never intended to offend or express himself in homophobic terms, and he apologises to those who felt offended by the use of a term reported by others," Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni said in a statement.

The incident, which is said to have taken place on May 20 during a closed-door meeting, was reported by Italian media.

According to the reports, Pope Francis used the Italian term "frociaggine," roughly translating as "faggotness" or "faggotry".

The reports of the Pope using a homophobic slur led to significant backlash.

The Vatican emphasised that Pope Francis is "aware" of the reports and remains dedicated to fostering an inclusive and welcoming Church.

"Nobody is useless, nobody is superfluous, (where) there is room for everyone," a Vatican spokesperson reiterated.

The Pope’s controversial remarks were made during an assembly of the Italian bishops conference, which had recently approved a new document on training for seminarians. This document, pending review by the Holy See, reportedly aims to introduce some flexibility to the Vatican’s stringent ban on gay priests.

The Vatican’s stance on this issue is rooted in a 2005 document from the Congregation for Catholic Education, reaffirmed in 2016, which prohibits the admission of men to seminaries or ordination who "practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called gay culture." During the May 20 meeting, Pope Francis was reported to have jokingly stated that "there is already an air of faggotness" in seminaries.

Pope Francis, who is 87, has been recognised for his outreach to the LGBT community during his 11-year papacy.

In 2013, he famously stated, "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?"

Last year, he permitted priests to bless members of same-sex couples, a move that sparked considerable conservative backlash.

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