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Pope Francis accused of using gay slur again in closed-door meeting

The Vatican did not address the reports by two of the most prominent news agencies in Italy, ANSA and Adnkronos, that he had again used the word 'frociaggine', an offensive Italian slang term referring to gay men

Emma Bubola Rome Published 13.06.24, 09:54 AM
Pope Francis

Pope Francis File image

Pope Francis repeated an anti-gay slur during a meeting with priests in Rome on Tuesday, Italian news outlets reported, the same offensive term he was accused of using two weeks ago. The Vatican, in summarising the gathering, said only that the pontiff had cautioned about admitting gay men into Roman Catholic seminaries.

The Vatican did not address the reports by two of the most prominent news agencies in Italy, ANSA and Adnkronos, that he had again used the word “frociaggine”, an offensive Italian slang term referring to gay men. The reports cited anonymous sources they said were present at the meeting.

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The New York Times could not independently verify the pope’s use of the term. A spokesperson for the Vatican declined to comment late on Tuesday night.

The pope was accused of using the same term last month at a private meeting with Italian bishops, according to several people present at the meeting who spoke anonymously to the Italian news media.

Those reports ignited widespread backlash and drew an apology from the pope, issued through the director of the Holy See’s press office, who 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.”

According to Vatican News, the Holy See’s online news site, Tuesday’s meeting took place at the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome. There, it said in its summary, the pope “spoke about the danger of ideologies in the church” and reiterated that while the church should welcome people “with homosexual tendencies”, it should exercise “prudence” in admitting them into seminaries.

The Vatican said the closed-door meeting also addressed “pastoral” and “current” themes, like substance abuse, low voter turnout in elections and the wars in West Asia, Ukraine and elsewhere.

Francis has been widely credited with making moves to welcome the LGBTQ+ community in the Roman Catholic Church, delivering a mostly inclusive message and deciding to allow priests to bless same-sex couples.

The previous reports about the pope’s use of the homophobic slur upset and alienated some members of the LGBTQ+ community, within and outside the church.

After the reports in May, a gay priest wrote in America magazine, a Jesuit publication, that he was “shocked and saddened” by the remarks and that “we need more than an apology for Pope Francis’ homophobic slur”.

New York Times News Service

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