Friday, 19 July

Pope Francis repeats homophobic slur in closed-door meeting, Italian media reports

World News
Pope Francis waves from the popemobile at St Peter's Square in the Vatican City on June 5, 2024. Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

 The pope has again used a highly disparaging word against gay people for which he had already apologized last month, ANSA news agency said on Tuesday.

Italian media had attributed to the pope the use of a vulgar Italian term roughly translating as “f*****ry,” on May 20 during a closed-door meeting with Italian bishops.

According to ANSA, Francis repeated the term on Tuesday as he met Roman priests, saying “there is an air of f*****ry in the Vatican,” and it was better that young men with a homosexual tendency not be allowed to enter the seminary.

Asked about the latest report, the Vatican’s press office made reference to a statement it had issued regarding Tuesday’s meeting with the priests, in which the pope reiterated the need to welcome gay people into the Church and the need for caution regarding them becoming seminarians.

After the initial report of his use of the word, Corriere della Sera newspaper quoted unnamed bishops who were in the room as suggesting that the pope, as an Argentine, might not have realized the Italian term he used was offensive.

Last month, a source close to the pope told CNN the phrase could also be understood as there is a “gay climate” in the seminaries.

The Vatican ruled in 2005 that the church cannot allow the ordination of men who are actively gay or have “deep-seated” homosexual tendencies. In 2016, Francis upheld this ruling.

Two years later he told Italian bishops not to accept gay candidates for the priesthood.

Francis, 87, had been credited with making substantial overtures toward the LGBTQ community during his 11-year papacy.

Some observers of the Vatican say his recent missteps undermine his authority and raise questions about his convictions and the reform path he has in mind for the Church.

Additional reporting by CNN’s Christopher Lamb and Sharon Braithwaite.