Vatican issues apology after Pope Francis’s ‘homophobic’ slur

Pope Francis ‘apologises to those who felt offended by the use of a term reported by others’, Vatican spokesman says.

Pope Francis delivers his Angelus blessing from his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square
Italian is not Pope Francis's native language, and the Argentine church leader has made linguistic gaffes in the past that raised eyebrows [File: Vatican Media/Getty Images]

Pope Francis has issued an apology after he was quoted as having used a highly derogatory word to describe the LGBT community, the Vatican said.

Italian media reported on Monday that Francis used the Italian term “frociaggine”, roughly translating as “f****try”, in a private meeting last week when he was asked whether gay men should be allowed to train for the priesthood provided they remained celibate.

Italian political gossip website Dagospia was the first to report the alleged incident, said to have happened on May 20 when the pontiff met Italian bishops behind closed doors.

“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 spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement on Tuesday.

Francis was addressing an assembly of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, which recently approved a new document outlining training for Italian seminarians.

The document, which hasn’t been published pending review by the Holy See, reportedly sought to open some wiggle room in the Vatican’s absolute ban on gay priests.

The Vatican ban was articulated in a 2005 document from the Congregation for Catholic Education, and later repeated in a subsequent document in 2016, which said the church cannot admit to seminaries or ordain men who “practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called gay culture”.

Francis strongly reaffirmed that position in his May 20 meeting with the Italian bishops, joking that “there is already an air of f****tness” in seminaries, the Italian media reported, after initial reporting from Dagospia.

Bruni reiterated that the pope remained committed to a welcoming Catholic Church for all, where “nobody is useless, nobody is superfluous, [where] there is room for everyone”.

Italian is not Francis’s native language, and the Argentine pope has made linguistic gaffes in the past that raised eyebrows.

The 87-year-old has been known for his outreach to LGBTQ+ Catholics, however, starting from his famous “Who am I to judge?” comment in 2013 about a priest who purportedly had a gay lover in his past.

Source: News Agencies