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21 June, 2024
 
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Pope Francis under fire for offensive remark about gay men

Controversial comments reignite debate over Church's stance on homosexuality and ordination

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Pope Francis has ignited controversy following reports that he used a highly offensive term to describe gay men during a private meeting with Italian bishops, reaffirming his stance that they should not be ordained as priests, according to Italian media.

The incident reportedly occurred on May 20 during a closed-door session of the Italian Bishops Conference, as first reported by the political gossip website Dagospia and later covered by major newspapers La Repubblica and Corriere della Sera. Sources indicate the Pope described priesthood colleges as already too full of "frociaggine," a derogatory Italian slur.

The Vatican has not commented on the reports. La Repubblica based its story on multiple unnamed sources, while Corriere della Sera cited bishops who suggested that the Pope, an Argentinian, may not have realized the term’s offensive nature.

"It's all the fault of some bishop who broke his mandate of silence to report the gaffe," reported Il Messaggero, a national paper based in Rome. The comments were made during an informal Q&A session at the annual bishops' meeting, attended by over 200 clergy members.

Pope Francis, 87, has been recognized for leading the Roman Catholic Church toward a more inclusive approach to the LGBT+ community. His statement in 2013, "If a person is gay and seeks God and has goodwill, who am I to judge?" was seen as a landmark moment. Last year, he allowed priests to bless same-sex couples, sparking backlash from conservative factions within the Church.

However, his recent comments have cast doubt on this perceived progressiveness. In 2018, Pope Francis instructed Italian bishops to vet priesthood applicants thoroughly and reject those suspected of being gay. This aligns with a 2005 Vatican document issued during Benedict XVI’s papacy, which barred individuals with "deep-seated" gay tendencies or those who "support the so-called gay culture" from entering the priesthood.

The incident has reportedly caused embarrassment within the Vatican, with fears that it undermines the Church's efforts to appear more welcoming to the LGBT+ community. Despite the backlash, the Pope has yet to issue a statement or apology.

The controversy underscores ongoing tensions within the Church regarding its stance on homosexuality and the ordination of gay men, reflecting broader societal debates on these issues. [Sky News]

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