Pope Francis apologises after homophobic slur

Pope Francis has apologised for using a term that is offensive to the queer community.

Pope Francis has apologised for using a term that is offensive to the queer community. Photo: Getty

The Vatican has issued a stunning apology after reports that Pope Francis used a homophobic slur during closed-door discussions about gay priests.

The Pope was widely quoted as having used the Italian term “frociaggine”, roughly translating as “faggotness” or “faggotry”, as he told bishops he remained opposed to admitting gay people into the priesthood.

In a statement on Wednesday (AEST), the Vatican said Pope Francis did not intend to use homophobic language and apologised to anyone offended by it.

“The Pope never intended to offend or express himself in homophobic terms, and he apologises to those who felt offended by the use of a term reported by others,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said in an emailed statement.

Italian political gossip website Dagospia was the first to report the alleged incident, said to have happened on May 20 when the pontiff met Italian bishops behind closed doors.

Bruni said Francis was “aware” of the reports.

The Vatican spokesman reiterated that the pope remained committed to a welcoming Church for all, where “nobody is useless, nobody is superfluous, [where] there is room for everyone.”

Francis, who is 87, has been credited with making substantial overtures towards the LGBT community during his 11-year papacy. But his reported comments have caused shock and consternation, even among his supporters.

In 2013, at the start of his papacy, he famously said: “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?”

Last year he allowed priests to bless members of same-sex couples, triggering substantial conservative backlash.

-with AAP

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