Pope apologizes over gay slur


Pope Francis issued an extraordinary apology on Tuesday over his reported use of a gay slur in a closed-door meeting with Italian bishops last week.

"The pope never intended to offend or express himself in homophobic terms and he extends his apologies to those who felt offended by the use of a term, reported by others," the Vatican said in a statement.

During a meeting with more than 250 bishops last week, the 87-year-old pontiff was said to have used an offensive term while expressing his opposition to openly homosexual men joining training colleges for priests, even if they committed to celibacy.

According to two Italian newspapers, Francis said there was already too much "frociaggine" in seminaries, using an offensive Roman term which translates as "faggotry".

The reports made headlines around the world and drew dismay from both LGTBQ groups and practicing Catholics.

Some commentators suggested the Argentine pope did not know what he was saying.

The Vatican statement did not confirm that he used the word but referenced newspaper articles.

"As he had the opportunity to state on several occasions: 'In the Church there is room for everyone, everyone! Nobody is useless, nobody is superfluous, there is space for everyone. Just as we are, all of us'," the statement said.

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