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    Monday, July 22, 2024

    Pope Francis allegedly repeats gay slur, opposes gay men in priesthood

    Rome — Pope Francis on Tuesday reiterated his opposition to gay priests, allegedly repeating a highly pejorative slur in an encounter with clerics just two weeks after the Vatican issued an apology amid reports that he had used the same word in an earlier meeting with bishops.

    Francis reportedly repeated the slur in a meeting with 200 priests at Rome’s Salesian Pontifical University, according to major Italian outlets. The Vatican, in a statement, did not mention use of the derogatory word, but said that the pontiff had spoken of the “danger of ideologies in the Church.”

    The Vatican said the pope “reiterated the need to welcome and accompany gay men in the Church,” but had called for prudence regarding their entry to the priesthood.

    The 87-year-old pontiff has previously made landmark statements in support of same-sex civil unions, conducted LGBTQ+ outreach, and last year approved short blessings for same-sex couples by Catholic priests. But Francis, who famously said “who am I to judge” when asked about gay priests shortly after becoming pope in 2013, has also expressed caution about admitting homosexual men to seminaries. He has essentially backed a 2005 Vatican ruling that “homosexual candidates cannot become priests because their sexual orientation estranges them from the proper sense of paternity.”

    Major Italian media outlets — including Corriere della Serra, La Repubblica and ANSA — reported that the pope during Tuesday’s meeting also repeated the word “frociaggine,” which in the Roman Italian dialect roughly translates as “f-----ness.”

    Two weeks ago, a senior Vatican official confirmed to The Washington Post that the pope had used the same word in a different, May 20 meeting with bishops. Eight days after that meeting, and after reports that the pope had used the slur in the Italian news media, the Vatican offered a rare apology. Without confirming that the pope had used the word, the Vatican then said “the Pope never intended to offend or express himself in homophobic terms and he apologizes to those who felt offended by the use of a term reported by others.”

    A Vatican spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the pope’s alleged use of the word again.

    Citing sources that were present at the meeting, Corriere della Sera also quoted the pope as saying “gay people are good guys [and] have nice paths of faith.” But if they sought the priesthood, they should be instead directed to a spiritual guide or “to some psychologist.” If they became priests, the outlet quoted the pope as saying, gay men were likely to “fail while exercising their ministry.”

    Francis has been known to speak far more colloquially than past popes, and observers have argued that the pope may not realize the slur he employed is considered offensive. Though born and raised in Argentina, he hails from an Italian family and has spoken the language from a young age.

    Some theologians said the slur was less important than the pope’s obvious stance against gay men becoming priests.

    Andrea Grillo, professor of sacramental theology at the Anselmianum, a pontifical university in Rome, said “we should focus on his underlying assumption that homosexuals shouldn’t be made priests, which is the real issue here.”

    “The pope seems convinced of [the veracity of outdated] theories according to which a homosexual won’t be able to remain chaste, and thus cannot be ordained,” Grillo said. “That theory is groundless, but I have the feeling [Francis still] believes it to be true.”

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