Metro Weekly

Pope Francis calls on Christians to apologize to gays

In echo of comments three years ago, Pope Francis strikes a more compassionate tone towards LGBT people

Pope Francis - Photo via Korea.net / Wikimedia

Pope Francis – Photo via Korea.net / Wikimedia

In an echo of comments he made three years ago, Pope Francis once again grabbed headlines after responding to a question involving the LGBT community. This time, though, the pontiff is arguing that Christians owe apologies to gays and other groups who have been marginalized by the church.

Francis was asked about a statement from a German cardinal who suggested that the Catholic Church should apologize for being “very negative” about LGBT people. Reporters also asked whether Christians bear some responsibility for fostering anti-gay attitudes that helped fuel attacks such as the recent massacre at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, CNN reports.

“I believe that the church not only should apologize to the person who is gay whom it has offended,” Francis said, “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.”

“We Christians have to apologize for so many things, not just for this,” Francis said of the Church’s mistreatment of LGBT people, “but we must ask for forgiveness, not just apologize! Forgiveness! Lord, it is a word we forget so often!”

While the Pope’s comments were welcomed as a shift in tone regarding homosexuality, nothing the pontiff said could be interpreted as promoting a change in doctrine. Under Catholic teaching, homosexual acts are still considered sinful, although the pope has repeatedly said that is not justification for discriminating against LGBT people.

“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. “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.”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com