Pope Francis (Jorge Bergoglio) sits at the altar while attending the Vigil With Young People in Parque de Gracia (Tagus Park), the night before the Final Mass, on August 05, 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal Source: Horacio Villalobos/Getty Images

Reports Say Pope Francis Repeated Homophobic Slur for Which He Previously Apologized

Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 2 MIN.

Pope Francis reportedly repeated the same homophobic Italian word for which he apologized a couple of weeks ago. The alleged repeat of the slur purportedly occurred in the same setting he used the offensive term the first time – a meeting in which he expressed doubts about openly gay men going into seminary.

"The Italian news agency ANSA, citing unnamed sources, reported that Francis used the Italian word in a meeting on Tuesday afternoon in which he suggested gay men should be welcome in the Church but not in seminaries," NBC News relayed.

"In response to a request for comment on the new allegation, the Vatican referred NBC News to a statement it had issued regarding Tuesday's meeting with priests," the article said. "The pope had reiterated the need to welcome 'people with homosexual tendencies' into the Church and the need for caution 'regarding their entry into the seminary,' the statement said."

Francis' predecessor, Benedict, tried to shift blame for the pedophile priest scandal onto gay clerics and seminarians, and also blamed the sexual revolution of the 1960s for the actions of predatory men of the cloth.

Addressing the question of admitting gay men into seminaries during a closed-door meeting last month, Francis used the term "frociaggine," saying that there was "faggotry" in some seminaries. The slur shocked many, though some pointed out that Italian is not Francis' native language while others referenced the pontiff's frequently vernacular speaking style.

NBC News noted in the new report that, at the time of the first reported use of the slur, Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni reiterated Francis' longtime message that queer people of faith are as welcome in the church as anyone else.

"As he has had the opportunity to state on several occasions, 'In the Church there is room for everyone, for everyone!'" NBC quoted Bruni as saying. "No one is useless, no one is superfluous, there is room for everyone. Just as we are, everyone," Bruni said.

"The pope never intended to offend or express himself in homophobic terms, and he extends his apologies to those who were offended by the use of a term, reported by others," Bruni emphasized at the time.

The reported use of the homophobic term seemed a jolting contrast with Francis' normally pastoral remarks concerning non-heterosexual and non-cisgender individuals. He famously said "Who am I to judge?" during his first press conference after becoming the head of the Catholic Church – a quote that marked him out from the start as more accepting than Benedict had been.

Just as "Who am I to judge?" became a shorthand for Francis' more accepting views, Benedict was notorious for having declared that being gay was an "intrinsic moral evil" and maintaining that same-sex orientation was an "objective disorder."

by Kilian Melloy , EDGE Staff Reporter

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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