LGBT: Pope Francis apologizes for offensive remarks LGBT: Pope Francis apologizes for offensive remarks

LGBT: Pope Francis apologizes for offensive remarks

LGBT: Pope Francis apologizes for offensive remarks
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Pope Francis apologized Tuesday after he was quoted using a vulgar and derogatory term about gay men to reaffirm the Catholic Church's ban on gay priests.

The ensuing outcry highlighted the fact that the Church's official teaching on homosexuality often clashes with the unacknowledged reality that there are many gay men in the priesthood, and many LGBTQ+ Catholics who want to be fully part of the life and sacraments of the Church.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni issued a statement acknowledging the media storm sparked by Pope Francis' comments, which were delivered behind closed doors to Italian bishops on May 20.

On Monday, Italian media cited unnamed Italian bishops as saying that Pope Francis had jokingly used the term "faggot" while speaking in Italian during the meeting. He used the term to reaffirm the Vatican's ban on homosexuals entering seminaries and being ordained priests.

Mr. Bruni said Pope Francis was aware of these articles and recalled that the Argentine pope, who has made raising awareness of the rights of LGBTQ+ Catholics a hallmark of his pontificate, has long insisted that there had “room for everyone” in the Catholic Church.

"The Pope never intended to offend or express himself in homophobic terms, and he apologizes to those who were offended by the use of a term that has been reported by others " said Mr. Bruni.

In his statement, Mr. Bruni carefully avoided confirming that the pope had actually used the term, in keeping with the Vatican's tradition of not revealing what the pope says behind closed doors. But Mr. Bruni did not deny the remarks either.

But for those who have long advocated for greater inclusion and acceptance of LGBTQ+ Catholics, the issue is bigger than the word itself.

"More than the insult uttered by the Pope, what is damaging is the insistence of the institutional Church on banishing homosexuals from the priesthood , as if we did not all know (and do not exercise our ministry alongside) many, many homosexual, celibate and gifted priests ," noted Natalia Imperatori-Lee , chair of the religious studies department at Manhattan College.

"The LGBTQ community seems to be the constant target of casual 'mistakes' from people in the Vatican, including the Pope, who should know better ," she added.

Pope Francis was speaking to an assembly of the Italian bishops' conference , which recently approved a new document describing the formation of Italian seminarians. This document, which has not been published pending review by the Holy See , is said to have sought to open a breach in the Vatican's absolute ban on homosexual priests by introducing the question of celibacy as a primary condition for priests, whether homosexual or heterosexual.

The Vatican ban was formulated in a 2005 document from the Congregation for Catholic Education , then reiterated in a subsequent document in 2016, which states that the Church cannot admit to seminaries or ordain men who "practice homosexuality, exhibit deep homosexual tendencies or support so-called gay culture .

Priests in the Latin-rite Catholic Church cannot marry, while those in Eastern-rite churches can. Church teaching holds that homosexuals should be treated with dignity and respect, but that same-sex activities are "inherently unnatural . "

At his May 20 meeting with Italian bishops, Francis forcefully reaffirmed the Vatican's ban on gay priests, joking that "there is already an air of faggot" in the seminaries, media reported Italians, after initial information from the gossip site Dagospia .

Italian is not Francis' native language, and the Argentine pope has previously made linguistic gaffes that have raised eyebrows. The 87-year-old Argentine pope often speaks informally, using slang and even swearing in private.

However, he is known for his openness to LGBTQ+ Catholics, starting with his famous comment “Who am I to judge?” in 2013 about a priest who allegedly had a homosexual lover in his past. He ministered to transgender Catholics, allowed priests to bless same-sex couples, and called for an end to anti-gay legislation, saying in a 2023 Associated Press interview that "being gay doesn't "It's not a crime . "

However, he has at times offended LGBTQ+ people and their advocates, including in this same interview where he implied that while homosexuality was not a crime, it was a sin . He later clarified that he was referring to sexual activity and that any sexual relationship outside of marriage between a man and a woman was a sin in the eyes of the Church.

Most recently, he endorsed a Vatican document stating that gender affirmation surgery was a grave violation of human dignity .

New Ways Ministry, which advocates for the interests of LGBTQ+ Catholics, welcomed Francis' apology on Tuesday and said it confirmed that "the use of the slur was reckless colloquialism." But the group's director, Francis DeBernardo, questioned the underlying content of the pope's comments and the blanket ban on homosexuals in the priesthood.

“Without clarification, his words will be interpreted as a blanket ban on accepting any gay man into a seminary ,” DeBernardo said in a statement, asking for a clearer statement on Pope Francis' views regarding gay priests, “many of whom serve faithfully the people of God every day .

Andrea Rubera, spokesperson for Paths of Hope, an Italian association of LGBTQ+ Christians, said he was incredulous when he first read the pope's comments, then saddened when the Vatican did not issue a denial. This shows that the Pope and the Vatican still have a “limited vision” of the reality of LGBTQ+ people.

“We hope, once again, that the time has come to begin a discussion within the Church to delve deeper into the LGBT issue, particularly from the experience of the people themselves ,” he said. -he declares.

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