Pope Francis apologises for gay slur

 Pope Francis issued an extraordinary apology on Tuesday for using a vulgar gay slur in a closed-door meeting with Italian bishops.

“The pope never intended to offend or express himself in homophobic terms and he extends his apologies to those who felt offended by the use of a term, reported by others,” the Vatican said in a statement.

The meeting with more than 250 bishops took place last week, but reports of what was said only filtered out on Monday.

The 87-year-old pontiff had expressed his opposition to homosexual men entering training colleges for priests, even if they declared they would be celibate.

According to two Italian newspapers, Francis said there was already too much “frociaggine” in seminaries, using an offensive Roman term that translates as “faggotry”.

The reports made headlines around the world, for the shocking vulgarity of the language and because the comments appeared at odds with the pope’s efforts to make the Catholic Church more welcoming to LGBTQ people.

In 2013, just weeks after taking office, Francis famously said that “if someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?”

There was some speculation that Francis, the Spanish-speaking son of an Italian emigrant to Argentina, did not understand the full negative connotations of the word he was using.

The Vatican statement did not confirm explicitly what he said but referred to newspaper articles.

“As he had the opportunity to state on several occasions: ‘In the Church there is room for everyone, everyone! Nobody is useless, nobody is superfluous, there is space for everyone. Just as we are, all of us’,” the statement added.


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