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Pope says church should ask forgiveness from gays for past treatment

Pope Francis speaks to journalists
Pope Francis speaks to journalists on his flight back to Rome on June 26, 2016, following a visit at Armenia. Photo via Tiziana Fabi/Pool/REUTERS

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (Reuters) Pope Francis said on Sunday (June 26) that Christians and the Roman Catholic Church should seek forgiveness from homosexuals for the way they had treated them.

Speaking to reporters aboard the plane taking him back to Rome from Armenia, he also said the church should ask forgiveness for the way it has treated women, for turning a blind eye to child labor and for “blessing so many weapons” in the past.

In the hourlong freewheeling conversation that has become a trademark of his international travels, Francis was asked if he agreed with recent comments by a German Roman Catholic cardinal that the church should apologize to gays.

Francis looked sad when the reporter asked if an apology was made more urgent by the killing of 49 people at a gay club in Orlando, Fla., this month.

He recalled church teachings that homosexuals “should not be discriminated against. They should be respected, accompanied pastorally.”

He added: “I think that the Church not only should apologize … to a gay person whom it offended, but it must also apologize to the poor as well, to the women who have been exploited, to children who have been exploited by (being forced to) work. It must apologize for having blessed so many weapons.”

The church teaches that homosexual tendencies are not sinful but homosexual acts are, and that homosexuals should try to be chaste.

Francis repeated a slightly modified version of the now famous “Who am I to judge?” comment he made about gays on the first foreign trip after his election in 2013.

“The questions is: If a person who has that condition, who has good will, and who looks for God, who are we to judge?”

Forgiveness, not just apology

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said that the pope, by saying “has that condition,” did not imply a medical condition but “a person in that situation.” In Italian, the word “condition” can also mean “situation.”

“We Christians have to apologize for so many things, not just for this (treatment of gays), but we must ask for forgiveness, not just apologize! Forgiveness! Lord, it is a word we forget so often!” he said.

Francis has been hailed by many in the gay community for being the most merciful pope toward them in recent history, and conservative Catholics have criticized him for making comments they say are ambiguous about sexual morality.

He told reporters on the plane “there are traditions in some countries, some cultures, that have a different mentality about this question (homosexuals)” and there are “some (gay) demonstrations that are too offensive for some.”

But he suggested that those were not grounds for discrimination or marginalization of gays.

The pope did not elaborate on what he meant by seeking forgiveness for the church “having blessed so many weapons,” but it appeared to be a reference to some churchmen who actively backed wars in the past.

In other parts of the conversation, Francis said he hoped the European Union would be able to give itself another form after the United Kingdom’s decision to leave.

“There is something that is not working in that bulky union, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water, let’s try to jump-start things, to re-create,” he said.

He also denied reports that former Pope Benedict, who resigned in 2013, was still exercising influence inside the Vatican.

“There is only one pope,” he said. He praised Benedict, 89, for “protecting me, having my back, with his prayers.”

Francis said he had heard that when some church officials had gone to Benedict to complain that Francis was too liberal, Benedict “sent them packing.”

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  • It’s a start, particularly when Benedict’s speeches conflating homosexuality with pedophilia come to mind. The real question is, what about the future? Good teachers have been summarily dismissed for entering into civil unions, not asking for the church to change its teaching on marriage, but unions that are legally recognized with rights and benefits we all enjoy. Others have to hide their sexuality for fear of being dismissed. If the church values and cherishes its gay sons and daughters, it should welcome them with open arms. To be fair, many parishes and priests do, but many more do not and continue to work to reduce gay and lesbian rights from the pulpit and cathedral. .

  • As long as the catechism says “inherent tendency towards grave moral evil”, states that there is such a thing as just and unjust discrimination against gay people, the bishops of malawi state that prison is a good thing with no rebuke from this pope, and the church continues to fight against ending all discrimination while pretending to “love” us, this pope is just blowing smoke out of his posterior.
    I will agree that he sounds better than the last two, but actions speak a lot louder than words.

  • I agree completely, Ben. “I’m sorry” will only go so far. It doesn’t address the injustice here and the horrific persecution abroad.

  • Interesting choice of words, Frank.

    The Church SHOULD ask forgiveness.

    Not WILL, not IS, not GOING TO, not MORALLY OBLIGATED TO.

    And nothing about changing the policies implemented Around the world intended to harm us.

  • And that’s the kicker , isn’t it Ben?

    What good does it do for the Catholic Church to “apologize to gays” while still opposing gay marriage and officially describing homosexual relationships as “intrinsically disordered”?

    Would you accept any such apology from Church officials at this time?

  • Christians don’t support homosexuality. Christians like homosexuals and don’t want to see them go to Hell

  • Yet ANOTHER surprise sound-bite from Pope Francis that only benefits the gay-marriage activists.

    Francis just keeps on giving out these weird one-liners that, to the busy, headlines-only media consumers, clearly seem to give papal support to Legalized Gay Marriage.

    So we need to be honest about this, on all sides. Pope Francis is the world’s first **Gay-Marriage Pope.** He’s smuggling acceptance of gay marriage through the back door, and there’s no longer any doubt of it.

    Unfortunately, there are no “recall votes”, no “do-overs”, when it comes to electing Popes. If you pick the wrong one, you stay with the wrong one for life. (Sorta like those Supreme Court justices, no?)

    So what can be done? I don’t know. But being aware of a bad situation, is always a good start.

  • Hmmm . . . so this evil sky man that nasty christians worship as a “god” is going to roast my gay brother, who works with severely disabled (blind, deaf, you name it) teens and young adults about 50 hours a week, and then who does charity work on the weekends, in evil sky fairy hell, while nasty evil christians will be hanging out in sky fairy heaven. This christian “god” sounds like a psychopath. I’m glad he’s just a figment of feeble little christian minds.

  • Some Christians don’t. Some do. I’m glad you like us, because if your general behaviors ar bible beating Christians are any guide, I’d hate to see what it is like when you actually hate someone.

    I personally don’t want to see Christians go to hell. But there you have it. but this what I see in True Christians.

    There are two major classes of Christian, as far as I can tell. Not the only ones, not all Christians.

    There are people who call themselves Christian, READ their bibles, understand very little of what Jesus had to say because they think it doesn’t apply to them or think that they are doing it by saying they are, want to go to heaven, but are afraid they are going to hell, and therefore obsess about sin, especially sexual sin. They use their beliefs as weapons against others in order to shore up their own righteousness.

    Then there are people who call themselves Christian, UNDERSTAND their bibles, follow what Jesus has to say because they know it applies to them, don’t care about heaven or hell, and therefore don’t obsess about sex and sin, preferring to be the best people they are capable of being. They use their beliefs as support for treating others well, for being kind, for avoiding judgment and self righteousness.

    In other words, faith makes some people better people, and makes others worse.

    The question is,cwhich kind of Christian are you?

  • Why. Doc, I would think you don’t believe the Catholic Church is sincere. Is that a particularcriticism of the church, or part of a more general attitude?

    They are not actually offering an apology, as well you know. And they are certainly not offering it to me, are they? I’m not sure exactly how it would work. Would Frank say, “hey, sorry about the prisons and the murders such. Our bad! Sorry!”And why would frank aplogize to me? HOw would he go about it? would he pick a few hundred gay people and treat them to a nice lunch at St. Peter’s? Would he use some of the cash they have stored to take out full page ads in a number of leading metropolitan newspapers?

    And more to the point, would you?

  • If you’ve ever read their Official Catechism, you already know that the Catholics are very sincere. Shoot, Francis himself is very sincere. So sincerity is not really the issue.

    The issue is whether you as a gay activist would accept a Catholic apology even though they officially still oppose gay marriage and say things like “intrinsically disordered.” I really don’t think so.

    By the way, kudos for questioning how “such an apology would work.” There are some real issues in that area.

  • Hey, I gotta catch some sleep, so let me answer your other question real quick.

    Are you asking **me** if I would be doing any apologies to you or other gay activists? Well, it’s always possible, honestly, depending on the situation.

    But as you suggested, there’s real issues regarding how an apology would be done. And as a Christian, I do agree with publicly opposing gay marriage and also agree with the Catholic phrase “intrinsically disordered.” America is too close to the brink already.

    So maybe no apologies for now, it seems.

  • “He’s smuggling acceptance of gay marriage through the back door”

    I love Freudian slips by anti gay types. They are so amusing. What is next? Pope Francis is trying to “shove tolerance down your throat”

    Pope Francis’s remark is like all his others on the subject. News bait, hollow useless nonsense. The church is not revising its stance on persecuting gays or even apologizing for it.

  • Engaging in homosexual sex, adultery, drunkards will lead one to hell. Its also very unhealthy.

  • Funny, the only people who find homosexuality to be unhealthy in general are antigay people, such as yourself.

    I feel fine.

  • Its time for the lgbt crowd to apologize for the what they have done to many people by denying rights and forcing their ideology down people’s throats.

  • Check out the health stats at the Center for Disease Control on homosexuality and health. You won’t find that funny.

  • Check out the statistics for black people. Obesity, high blood pressure, higher mortality and lower life expectancy.

    Check out the health statistics for the Deep South.

  • And do check out the statistic for gay women. By your logic, they are gods chosen people.

  • Don’t worry, Sandi, they won’t be going to Hell . . . because Hell is a fictional place that is a major fear-generating component of the Christian scam for controlling human thinking, beliefs, and behavior.

  • For such a holy organization that claims to have the truth, there seems to be a lot of apologizing going on these days regarding a variety of subjects. Most of the apologies are long over due. It would have been better yet if the need for an apology could have been avoided. If it was holy and held the truth to begin with, none of this would have been needed.

  • That’s exactly how I feel when Christians of your sort tell me how much they love me, then repeat every lying slander they have ever heard about gay people, right before they do everything in their power to make my life as difficult, unpleasant, expensive, and dangerous as they can.

  • Or you can just get it right the first time, and try to be the best person you can, not worrying about heaven or hell.

  • Yawn…..heard it all before……yawn. Time to assume responsibility for your own actions.

  • That means you, then. Don’t you have to go repent some sins instead of worrying about mine.

    As your God says,

    Nice little soul you got there. We wouldn’t want something to happen to it, would we?

  • Your best falls short of the perfection of the Law of God. To not fulfill the Law of God perfectly 24/7 is sin and sin is what condemns people to hell.

  • Even homosexual women have problems. This does change the fact that engaging in homosexual sex is very very unhealthy and deadly.

  • Colossians 3:5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.” Ever wonder with all of these half-truths who this person who calls himself “pope” is working for? I’ve never condemned the man as anti-christ before but he’s pushing the limit and needs to repent. Jesus said that homosexuality is a sin.

  • I repent on a regular basis Ben, because God’s will is more important than mine. I would like to see the same for you, also. God’s will is supreme, whether you accept it or not. He created us – He wrote the “instruction” booklet, and He rules, blessings to you Ben.

    Also, my soul is safe in God’s hand; thank you. Yours could be also.

  • you should start repenting of your sins right now, before you write another words about anyone else’s.

  • I’ve never paid much attention to the wrongness of the pope, except : 1 Timothy 2:5 – New International Version

    For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus…”
    Now that the pope is trying to insinuate the truth of the Bible away – He will be the one accountable for the precious people he misled and ended up in perdition because He chose to defy Jesus and His truth.
    Christians will continue to do their job of spreading the word and helping others to find Jesus. I wish he would stop getting in the way, as it seems he is doing if this story is accurate.

  • You may feel fine now but that doesn’t mean its not unhealthy for your body and soul. Smokers feel fine for years until one day they realize there is a price to pay.

  • It was gradually revealed to me over my 72 years of observing Christianity and its followers, starting with me being raised in both the Presbyterian (USA) and Assembly of God churches. It’s been a helluva ride.

  • Oh…..you read minds too? Sorry. Satan isn’t even capable of that. Jesus loves you though Ben.

  • So you no facts for your position but just your opinion. The reason we know hell exist is because the Lord Christ (Who was God in the flesh) said so and He warned people to deal radically with sin in their lives so as not to be condemned there.

  • “As a Christian,” together with thousands and thousands of other Christians, I find sexual orientation to be a God given gift and see no reason to discriminate against LBTG or even heterosexual people. That’s according to an in depth, scholarly reading of Scripture.

    Christianity does not condemn LBTG people. In fact, the Holy Bible does not mention LBTG people as they live their lives today.

  • So you know because you read it some place. No physical evidence, no eye witness reports, just a story you’ve heard ad infinitum. Nice that it’s real for you. Enjoy.

  • How many heterosexual people have LBTGs killed?
    How many heterosexual people have LBTGs denied health care?
    How many heterosexual people have LBTGs physically beaten?
    How many heterosexual people have LBTGs castrated?
    How many heterosexual people have LBTGs thrown in jail just due to being heterosexual?
    How many heterosexual people have LBTGs refused adoption rights?
    How many heterosexual people have LBTGs denied hospital visitation to their lifelong partner?

    The list really never stops. But you, JP, feel picked on? What LBTG rights have diminished your rights?

  • Homosexual sex is condemned in the Bible. To engage in it is sin and those who practice it will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

  • There is “No physical evidence, no eye witness reports” for all kinds of things in science. I guess that means these things don’t exist exist either. Enjoy.

  • don’t know
    don’t know.
    a few I suppose. Its my understanding that most of the violence done to homosexuals is done by other homosexuals.
    don’t know
    don’t know. How does one prove they are homosexual in public? What are the tests that are used to determine if a person is a homosexual or not?
    Only a married man to a woman (husband and wife) should adopt. Only they can provide balanced parenting. Homosexual couples cannot.
    talk to the hospital.

    How many homosexuals have brought much grief on their families?
    How many homosexuals have worked with the state to put businesses out of business?
    How many homosexuals want to lie to children that homosexuality is not unhealthy?
    How many homosexuals have helped to split churches up?

    Why should a person have any rights granted to them based on their sexual preferences? Where does the Constitution grant rights based on sexual preferences?

  • You have rights granted to you on the sole basis that you are heterosexual. One of them used to be something called marriage. Another one was service to your country. Another one was adoption.

    If you want to complain about churches splitting up, perhaps you should blame the Christians in those churches, rather than just gay people.

    You seem to want to claim that only heterosexuals can raise children properly. The gangs, molester protecting churches, prisons, drug rehab centers, Republican Party, and congress are full of the products of man-woman marriage.

    How many homosexuals caused grief to their families? A better question would be how many families caused grief to themselves, caused grief to their kids, caused grief to everyone.

  • Where in the Constitution does it say that “rights granted to you on the sole basis that you are heterosexual”?

    The Constitution says nothing about same sex people getting married. I have already shown that 2 same sex people getting “married” is not a marriage because it fails that test of what constitutes a marriage.

    Only a heterosexual couple can model a father and a mother. Same sex couples can’t because these are gender specific roles.

  • “Only a heterosexual couple can model a father and a mother.” I grew up in a home with a dysfunctional mother. She tried to kill herself a number of times. She was physically abusive of us, and even dangerous at times. I had one real parent my entire life until my Dad passed when I was in my late twenties and a father myself. I loved my mom, I honored her as my father taught me to do. but from the day of his death to hers, I was just the son who kept her from doing harm to herself. She was never there for me emotionally, but to honor my hero, my dad, I was always there for her.

    Your assertion is complete nonsense. It presumes a magical and nonsensical power of motherhood and fatherhood that simply do not exist. I have known and coached any number of kids with two moms or two dads who have it much better at home with two parents of the same gender than I ever did with opposite gender parents. I was raised in a single-parent home, even though my parents never separated except when Mom was in the loony bin or on meds so strong she did not know who she was or who we were. You are just clueless.

  • So your experience should be the model for what 2 parents should be like?
    How can 2 same sex couples be a mom and a dad when a father can only be a man and a mother can only be a woman?

  • Once again, you assert nonsense as your rebuttal. I grew up Mormon with the constant yammering about how Moms all had their mystical, magical Motherhood. Even in the face of my mother’s obvious and undeniable dysfunction, the Mormon Church still acted as if we all had enough faith (and sprinkled some pixie dust on the problem), we could pray it away. I got the same judgmental nonsense from Evangelical “friends” of the era. My dad was treated like he was the abusive parent for dealing with her dysfunction. The “magical, mystical Motherhood” people were just sure that he was to blame for her dysfunction, when it just turned out she was bipolar and no one then knew how to deal with it when we were young and needed her most.
    But again, I got all my parenting from my dad. I never had that magical mother effect. Your assertion that we all need both is nonsense. Not everyone gets both, even with hetero parents. Studies show that two parents do better than one, and that there is no magic to which gender or combination of genders works best; two parents beat one parent. That was my point. Even a child should have got that point, but you didn’t. It just does not fit your bigoted little paradigm about magical parents made perfect by having one of each gender. All that nonsense needs is a pretty bow.

  • “forcing their ideology down people’s throats.”
    “He’s smuggling acceptance of gay marriage through the back door, ”

    So many freudian slips. 🙂
    As I see it, there is no ideology to speak of from the LGBT crowd other than not being discriminated against, attacked in public, and being able to live their lives with the basic human dignity all others enjoy. If you have trouble with the notion of LGBT people being in your presence, well that is not anyone’s problem but yours. The price of bigotry is having to deal with the existence and presence of people you despise. Oh well.

  • 14th Amendment equal protection clause. You can’t ban something without some rational and secular justification. If the bigots weren’t so impatient and so untrusting of public opinion as to legislate gay marriage bans, we would not have the court case granting marriage equality for all.

    Not only have you lost the fight, but your efforts were entirely counterproductive. Hate backfired on the haters.

    “Only a heterosexual couple can model a father and a mother. ”

    I am sure every single parent, widow and divorcee is calling you an @$$hole at this moment.

  • That is according to *Your* understanding of the Bible. But that’s not *The* absolute reading, regardless of how desperately you want it to be so. Insisting you are correct doesn’t help.

  • The 14th amendment has nothing to do with marriage. The primary reason we have homosexual “marriage” is not because of legislation but because of corrupt courts that don’t honor the Constitution.

    It is true that the gold standard of parents are a man and a woman. Been that way for thousands of years.

  • How does a person prove they are homosexual in public? What are the tests so we can know for sure?

  • “The 14th amendment has nothing to do with marriage”

    Loving v. Virginia (1960) says otherwise. As does Grisowld v. Ct (1965). The primary reason we have marriage equality today is because bigots were impatient and knew public opinion was eventually going to go against them. Had they left well enough alone. Not been been so hateful and malicious. Not bothered with abusing the law for discriminatory ends of gay marriage bans. Then we would probably not have marriage equality for at least another decade or so due to voter apathy. You don;t get to tell anyone about honoring the Constitution until you have some understanding of it first. B1ching and moaning about judicial review and the action of the courts just means you are an ignoramus. Your opinions on such matters is less than worthless.

    The standard of parents is that they are there for children. 2 is ideal. There are lots of things which have been the way for thousands of years which are pointless and inane now.

  • How do you know I’m wrong?

    You must be post-modern who thinks no one can know what the absolute meaning of a text is. That kind of thinking is rubbish nonsense.

  • Why, you seem to be saying that a woman makes a lousy father.

    I have news for you. A lot of fathers make lousy fathers. My late partner’s father molested him, two of his sisters, and had numerous affairs before he abandoned his wife to support their six kids on coffee shop waitress’s salary.

    There is absolutely nothing in being a man that qualifies anyone for being a father, because not all men are alike. There is absolutely nothing in being a woman that qualifies anyone for being a mother, because not all women are alike.
    but there are hundreds of studies that show that kids with gay parents turn out just fine.
    I know–facts. You can prove anything with facts.

  • Satan isn’t capable of mind reading? where is your biblical source for that piece of news.

  • 1 Cor. 6:9-11. Yes, it’s absolute.

    English and Greek, AND Jesus in there too (verse 11).

    It ain’t on the Optional List, folks.

  • And you’re not the only guy asking that question. Even some gay guys are singing a different tune these days:

    “At first, I felt liberated. I dated some great guys, and was in a couple of long-term relationships. Over several years, intellectual honesty led me to some unexpected conclusions: (1) Creating a family with another man is not completely equal to creating a family with a woman, and (2) denying children parents of both genders at home is an objective evil. Kids need and yearn for both.”

    –Doug Mainwaring, “I’m Gay and I Oppose Gay Marriage”, Public Discourse, 03-08-2013

  • Don’t kid yourself Spud: even though there’s plenty of single parents who are 100% lifesavers for their kids, they have NOT abandoned the male-female gender complementarity model at all. Oh no no.
    You go tell them that “Male and Female genders are Interchangable”, and they’ll just reply, “And is THAT how you arrived on this planet?”

  • Don’t kid me. Two parents taking care of a kid, especially ones which could never be “accidental” are more likely to provide care than single parents or couples with unplanned children. Regardless of the gender of their parents.

    Of course being a short sighted bigot you fail to recognize that gay couples have been raising children openly for over a generation before marriage equality. The ability to marry allowing both parents to have full legal responsibility and ability to raise their children.

    Why do you hate families so much that you would deliberately hobble the abilit yof parents to fully take care of their children?

    Oh right, hating gays means you never have to consider their existence.

  • Nah. But regardless, you’ll keep insisting because it just has to be the way you’ve made up your mind it is. Oh well. Enjoy yourself.

  • Here is an identifiable population with marked indications of poor health outcomes in just about every measure, yet somehow, centuries of racism is blamed for that, not the “choice” of acting black. No one is claiming that black people are sick and in need of correction from the religious authorities.

  • I don’t agree with Joseph sciambra. Funny how that works.

    Sciambra claims that Jesus delivered him from homosexuality, porn and– wait for it, hahahahaha– the OCCULT. For the last two, all he needed was to turn off his computer and sell his books. no Jesus needed.

    As for the first, Exodus closed its doors a few years ago, admitting they had been selling fraud and lies for decades.

    BuT little Joey still makes his living peddling lies, which makes him a very good Christian indeed.

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