Pope Francis apologises for using homophobic slur

Pope Francis issued an extraordinary apology on Tuesday over his reported use of a gay slur in a closed-door meeting with Italian bishops last week.

“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.

During a meeting with more than 250 bishops last week, the 87-year-old pontiff was said to have used an offensive term while expressing his opposition to homosexual men entering training colleges for priests, even if they committed to celibacy.

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, with commentators noting an apparent discrepancy between the pope’s words and his previously welcoming approach to LGBTQ people.

In 2013, just weeks after taking office, he 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 after the reports emerged Monday that Francis, the son of an Italian emigrant to Argentina and whose first language is Spanish, did not understand the negative connotations of the word he was using.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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