Pope Francis says the Catholic Church should apologise for its behaviour toward gays—the first time any pope has said the church is guilty of discrimination against the LGBT community.
While returning to Rome from Armenia on Sunday night (June 26th), the pope was asked by a reporter if he agreed with a comment by a German cardinal that the Catholic church should apologise for its marginalisation of gays.
“I repeat what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says—that they must not be discriminated against, that they must be respected and accompanied pastorally,” Francis said in a freewheeling, unscripted response. “The Church must ask forgiveness for not behaving many times. When I say the Church, I mean Christians! The Church is holy, we are sinners!”
He went on to say that the Church should “not only apologise … to a gay person it offended, but we must apologise to the poor, to women who have been exploited, to children forced into labour, apologise for having blessed so many weapons,” possibly a reference to the Catholic Church’s support of war in the past, and to families going through divorce.
Pope Francis has been seen as the most welcoming pope ever to the gay community. Still, he has not changed the Church’s stance that homosexual acts are a sin.