Vatican apologises after Pope Francis allegedly uses gay slur

Pope Francis during the General Audience in St. Peter's Square. Vatican City, May 15th, 2024

The Vatican has apologised after Pope Francis allegedly used a gay slur during a behind-closed-doors meeting with bishops in Rome.

The comments were reportedly made last week, during discussions about whether gay men who remain celibate should be admitted to Catholic seminaries, where priests are trained.

During the meeting, Pope Francis is alleged to have disagreed with the idea, saying there was already too much “frociaggine” in seminaries, an Italian word which roughly translates as f****t.

After his comments were criticised, the Vatican said the pontiff – also known as the Bishop of Rome – was “aware of the articles” about the alleged use of the slur, adding that he is a supporter the LGBTQ+ community.

“As he stated on several occasions: ‘In the Church, there is room for everyone. Nobody is useless, nobody is superfluous, there is room for everyone. Just as we are, all of us’,” a Vatican spokesperson said.

“The pope never intended to offend or express himself in homophobic terms, and he apologises to those who felt offended by the use of a term reported by others.”

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Pope Francis allegedly made a controversial comment during a meeting in Rome. (Vatican Media via Vatican Pool/Getty Images)

The comments come amid the pontiff’s attempts to bridge the gap between the Catholic Church and the LGBTQ+ community, having accepted queer people from as early as the first month of his papacy in 2013, when he told reporters that if “someone is gay and searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?

More recently, he described laws criminalising LGBTQ+ people as an “injustice”, adding: “Persons with homosexual tendencies are children of God. God loves them. God accompanies them… condemning a person like this is a sin.”

Later that year, Francis was praised for saying LGBTQ+ couples’ unions could be blessed, even though the actual relationships could still be considered sinful by the Church, which remains opposed to same-sex marriage.

The pope has also said trans people can be baptised within the Church and act as godparents or witnesses to marriage under the same conditions as any other adult.

The president and chief executive of LGBTQ+ charity GLAAD, Sarah Kate Ellis, responded by saying: “Pope Francis is continuing to break down barriers that have kept LGBTQ Catholics away from full participation as members of the Roman Catholic Church and is instead calling on global leaders to create welcoming spaces for LGBTQ people.”

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