Pope Francis shocks bishops by allegedly saying gay men should not be admitted to church


Pope Francis has allegedly shocked bishops in Italy by using an offensive slur when saying that homosexual men should not be admitted to church seminaries because there is already ‘too much’ gay sexual activity.

The pontiff told a closed-door meeting at an episcopal conference at the Vatican that homosexual men should not be allowed into colleges to train for the priesthood, Italian media reports.

Bishops at the meeting were reportedly taken aback by the language the 87-year-old used to make the statement – the derogatory word ‘frociaggine’, which roughly translates to f*****ry.

The remark was met with ‘incredulous laughter’, bishops told newspaper Corriere della Sera. They suggested that it was an honest mistake by the Pope, for whom Italian is a second language, and that he did not know how offensive the word was.

The alleged comments, which seem to go against recent moves to amend seminary admission rules, have come as a surprise to some in the church as Francis is known for taking a more liberal view than his predecessors on LGBT rights.

Pope Francis is pictured during a meeting with the Italian Bishops' Conference at the Vatican

Pope Francis is pictured during a meeting with the Italian Bishops’ Conference at the Vatican

The comments were allegedly made in a closed-door meeting ahead of the conference. Pictured: The opening session of the 79th general assembly of the Italian Bishops Conference

When asked about his views on homosexuality in 2013, he famously said: ‘If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?’

Last year, he described laws that criminalise homosexuality as a ‘sin’ and an ‘injustice’, and allowed Catholic priests to bless same-sex couples in a significant advance for LGBT rights in the church.

However, the Pope delivered a similar message on gay seminarians – minus the reported swear word – when he met Italian bishops in 2018, telling them to carefully vet priesthood applicants and reject anyone suspected of being homosexual. 

Political gossip website Dagospia was the first to report on the alleged incident, said to have happened on May 20, when the Italian Bishops Conference opened a four-day assembly with a non-public meeting with the pontiff.

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Francis’s first language is Spanish, and though he is fluent in Italian he has made a number of linguistic faux pas in the past. 

He has previously said that if a boy is unsure about his sexuality and is facing mental health challenges he might need ‘psychiatric’ support.

It widely believed he instead meant ‘psychological’ help, words he has also confused on other occasions.

Reports about his comments at the May 20 meeting come after bishops approved a document regulating admission to Italian seminaries, according to Corriere. 

The paper reported that members ‘approved by majority vote an amendment that recognized the distinction between simple homosexual orientation and ‘deeply rooted tendencies.’

This, it suggests, means ‘in substance, that a homosexual person could be admitted to the seminary if, like the heterosexual, he gave the guarantee that he knows how to live the discipline of celibacy.’

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Francis' first language is Spanish, and though he is fluent in Italian he has made a number of linguistic faux pas in the past

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Francis’ first language is Spanish, and though he is fluent in Italian he has made a number of linguistic faux pas in the past

However, it reportedly implies ‘that it is more difficult for homosexuals because they will be living in an all-male community for many years.’

Francis’s latest remarks seemingly suggest he is taking ‘a more radical’ view on the issue, by preventing gay men from being allowed to join altogether. 

The Holy See has not approved the document, according to reports, and the issue is still under discussion.

The 2005 Vatican document, released under Pope Benedict XVI and endorsed by Francis in 2016, states that the Church ‘cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called “gay culture.”‘

There is so far no official record of the Pope’s latest comments on the issue and the Vatican has not commented.



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