Same-sex marriages are allowed in numerous states and countries. However, it seems that discrimination against gay people still exists. While many celebrities have already showed their support to the gay community, no Pope has done that until now.
Namely, the Pope asked for an apology in the name of homosexuals everywhere for the maltreatment they receive. Last Sunday, the Pope said that Christians owe apologies to homosexuals who have been insulted by the church. The Church teaches people to respect each other, not to discriminate and offend, the Pope remarked.
Pope Francis gave the statement during a press conference on his way back home, traveling from Armenia. He stated that the Church, i.e. Christians need to ask for forgiveness for their many sins, especially to the gay people.
“The Church must ask forgiveness for not behaving many times – when I say the Church, I mean Christians! The Church is holy, we are sinners!”
In the hour-long conversation with the journalists, the Pope talked about many other things that the Church should seek forgiveness for, mostly for things done in the past. Among other things, he said that Christians should apologize to the poor, to the exploited women and children, but also for using many weapons.
The media has reacted to the Pope’s statement accordingly, reporting about it as a groundbreaking moment.
This is not the first time a Pope seeks forgiveness for mistreatment of groups of people. In 2000, St. John Paul II apologized to Jewish people immigrants, women and indigenous people. However, this is the first Pope who has publicly asked for apology from the LGBT community. Indeed, LGBT people are the most marginalized group of people in the Church.
Pope Francis was motivated to state this after a German Cardinal said that the Catholic Church has to ask for apology for the negative attitude toward homosexuals. During the plane conference, one reporter asked the Pope about his opinion regarding the negative approach toward gay people by many Christians. The Pope answered that the Church teaches respect, not discrimination against people, no matter if they are gay or not.
“One can condemn, but not for theological reasons, but for reasons of political behavior…Certain manifestations are a bit too offensive for others, no? But these are things that have nothing to do with the problem. The problem is a person that has a condition, that has good will and who seeks God, who are we to judge? And we must accompany them well,” the Pope said.
He further proceeded to explain that certain gay demonstrations which are different because of tradition or culture cannot be the base for discrimination against gay people.
The gay community saluted the Pope’s statement. A gay rights group leader stated that Pope’s words are a blessing and that no other Pope has been more welcoming to the LGBT community than Pope Francis.
At the press conference, the Pope was asked other controversial questions. Thus, in other parts of the conversation, he was talking about Brexit and the term “genocide” that he has used before.
When talking about Brexit, the Pope stated that unity is better than conflict, but that they unity comes in different forms. He added that the EU countries need bigger independence and greater freedom and that there are some things that are not functioning in the European Union. However, he believes that those problems can be solved.
About the Genocide
Asked about the use of the term “genocide” which he had used when talking about the extermination of Armenians when he was back in Argentina, he answered that that’s the only word he knew and that was the reason why he used it. However, he believes that Turkey has the right to protest about it.
Are there two Popes?
Pope Francis was even asked about the existence of two Popes. Pope Benedict resigned in 2013 and there were rumors that he is still having influence in Vatican. Namely, this story was in the headlines recently because of the usage of the term “expanded papacy” by the personal secretary of Pope Benedict. Pope Francis denied the rumors and stated that there is only one Pope and that Benedict is “the wise grandpa” who takes care of him with his prayers.