Pope Francis reportedly gets candid about gay men in closed-door meeting — but now, he’s apologizing

Pope Francis issued an apology on Tuesday after he reportedly used a slur in a closed-door meeting when referring to gay men.

During a private meeting with Italian bishops last week, Pope Francis was asked whether gay men should be admitted to seminaries. Not only did Francis issue a firm denouncement of LGBT seminarians, but he reportedly claimed there is already too much “frociaggine” in seminaries.

‘Italian is not his mother tongue.’

“Nei seminari c’è già troppa frociaggine,” Francis reportedly said in Italian.

The translated sentence means, “There is already too much faggotry/faggotness in the seminaries.”

An Italian news outlet reported that Francis’ response, and his use of the apparent slur, “was received with some incredulous laughter rather than embarrassment.”

In a statement on Tuesday, the Vatican appeared to confirm the reports, reiterated Francis’ previous inclusive statements regarding LGBT Catholics, and issued an apology.

“Pope Francis is aware of articles that recently came out about a conversation, behind closed doors, with the bishops of the CEI (Italian Bishops Conference),” said the Holy See Press Office.

“As he has had the opportunity to state on several occasions, ‘In the Church there is room for everyone, for everyone! No one is useless, no one is superfluous, there is room for everyone. As we are, everyone,'” the statement continued. “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, as reported.”

Still, it’s possible that Francis was not using “frociaggine” in a derogatory way.

The Washington Post reported:

A second Vatican official familiar with the pope’s private conversations, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive issue, said the pontiff has used the word “frociaggine” on previous occasions — not as a catchall for homosexual men, but for anyone, gay or straight, who forms closed, gossipy cliques.

Moreover, Italian is not Francis’ native language, and thus it’s possible he was not aware of the idiomatic meaning of “frociaggine.”

“Italian is not his mother tongue. When he was a boy, the family spoke more in Piedmontese, which is different, and in short it was clear that Francis was not aware of how heavy and offensive the word is in our language,” one bishop told an Italian news outlet.

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