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Pope Francis apologizes for using homophobic slur during debate about gay priests

Pope Francis apologizes for using homophobic slur during debate about gay priests
Alessia Pierdomenico/Shutterstock

The Pope is apologizing for invoking a vulgar Italian term about gay men in a recent closed-door debate about LGBTQ+ priests.

Pope Francis has issued an apology after using a homophobic slur during a closed-door discussion about gay priests.

Anonymous bishops told Italian news outlets Corriere della Sera and Italian dailies La Repubblica that the Pope invoked a vulgar Italian term during their meeting last week, in which church officials were debating whether or not to allow out gay priests in the clergy.

Pope Francis reportedly disagreed with their inclusion, claiming that while the church should be welcoming of everyone, to be gay and a priest would be to lead a double life. He then said that seminaries already have too much “frociaggine," which loosely translates to “faggotness.”

The bishops said they were surprised about the Pope's use of the word, claiming simultaneously that it was a “joke” and that Francis did not know the meaning. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni issued a statement after backlash ensued, telling the Associated Press that Francis has emphasized LGBTQ+ outreach as Pope, and that he believes there is "room for everyone” in the church.

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

Francis has often been perceived as more accepting of LGBTQ+ Catholics than his predecessors. When asked by a journalist in 2013 about gay priests being included, he said, "If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?" He later upheld that the church should apologize to LGBTQ+ people for mistreating them.

However, Francis has not changed church doctrine. He approved a Vatican document in 2016 reaffirming that "persons with homosexual tendencies" are barred from Roman Catholic seminaries and priesthood. He also recently allowed priests to bless same-sex couples, though only if the blessing does not resemble a wedding nor take place as part of regular church activities.

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Ryan Adamczeski

Ryan is a staff writer at The Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel "Someone Else's Stars," and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.
Ryan is a staff writer at The Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel "Someone Else's Stars," and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.