Pope Francis said Sunday that Christians owe apologies to gays and others who have been offended or exploited by the church, remarks that some Catholics hail as a breakthrough in the church’s tone toward homosexuality. Francis said at a press conference aboard the papal plane returning from Armenia,
“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.
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!
I believe that the church not only should apologize to the person who is gay whom it has offended, but has to apologize to the poor, to exploited women, to children exploited for labor; it has to ask forgiveness for having blessed many weapons.“
The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor at large of America magazine, called the Pope’s apology to gays and lesbians “a groundbreaking moment.”
“While St. John Paul II apologized to several groups in 2000 — the Jewish people, indigenous peoples, immigrants and women, among them — no pope has ever come close to apologizing to the LGBT community. And the Pope is correct of course. First, because forgiveness is an essential part of the Christian life. And second, because no group feels more marginalized in the church today than LGBT people.“
The Pope’s comments came in response to a question about a German Cardinal who said the Catholic Church should apologize for being “very negative” about gays. Pop Francis was also asked whether Christians bear some blame for hatred toward the LGBT community, as horrifically demonstrated in the Orlando massacre at a gay night club that killed 49 people on June 12.
Repeating the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church about respecting and not discriminating against gays, according to CNN, Pope Francis said that one could condemn certain behavior,
“One can condemn, but not for theological reasons, but for reasons of political behavior… Certain manifestations are a bit too offensive for others, no?
But these are things that have nothing to do with the problem. The problem is a person that has a condition, that has good will and who seeks God, who are we to judge? And we must accompany them well.“
That last part seems a little odd… “a bit too offensive” and “a condition”? Maybe something got lost in translation?