Pope Francis’ gay comment which he recently dished out while in a flight returning from Armenia has left many religious leaders shocked.
On his way home from Armenia, the Pope was asked if he concurs with German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who, in the wake of the Orlando shooting, said gays deserve an apology from the Church.
Pope Francis then answered on Sunday that Christians are under moral obligations to apologize to gays and others who have been annoyed or exploited by the church – comments that some Catholics praise as a good turn out in the church’s tone toward homosexuality
“I believe that the Church not only should apologize to the person who is gay whom it has offended. 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.”
Referencing the teaching of Catechism of the Catholic Church about not disrespecting and not discriminating against gays, Pope Francis ‘ comment gives room for certain behaviours to be condemned.
According to him:
“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 at a press conference aboard the papal plane returning from Armenia.
“The Church must ask forgiveness for not behaving many times — when I say the Church, I mean Christians! The Church is holy, we are sinners!”.
“One can condemn, 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.”
This is not the first time the Papal father has asked the rhetorical question, Who am I to judge gay people? In 2013, during a media conference on the papal plane, he popped the question when asked if he supports gay right.
Some ordained Catholic priests have lauded the Pope’s apology to gays and lesbians describing it as a groundbreaking moment. They say, St. John Paul II apologized to several groups in 2000 — the Jewish people, indigenous peoples, immigrants and women, among them but no pope has ever come close to apologizing to the LGBT community.