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Pope Francis apologizes for using vulgar term for gay men behind closed doors

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Pope Francis apologized for using harsh language about homosexuality during a closed-door meeting with Italian bishops, The Vatican said in a statement Tuesday.

Italian news outlet Dagospia broke the news on Monday that Pope Francis told the Italian Episcopal Conference in a private meeting that there is already too much “f—–ness” in some seminaries and reaffirming that homosexuals should not be allowed to enter the priesthood.

Similar reports appeared in Italian outlets Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica following the alleged comments, which were not recorded.

“Pope Francis is aware of the articles that came out recently about a conversation, behind closed doors, with the bishops of the CEI (Italian Episcopal Conference),” the Vatican said in a Tuesday statement. 

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The Vatican appeared to confirm the reports, but emphasized that the comment did not renege on Francis’ assertion that all people are called to the Church, regardless of their personal issues or sin.

“As he has said 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. Just as we are, everyone,’” the Tuesday statement continued.

The Vatican press office added that 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.”

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The Vatican has ruled since 2005 that homosexual men cannot be considered for the priesthood. The pope himself has reaffirmed this decision on multiple occasions.

Francis’ comment comes on the heels of a “60 Minutes” interview in which he rebuked his interviewer for conflating the blessings of homosexual individuals with blessings of same-sex unions.

In the conversation with “60 Minutes,” the pontiff was asked about the Vatican’s recent document approving “blessings” of individual Catholics who are in same-sex unions. The Church recognizes the sacrament of marriage as an indissoluble union between a man and a woman.

“Last year you decided to allow Catholic priests to bless same-sex couples,” journalist Norah O’Donnell said. “That’s a big change. Why?”

“No, what I allowed was not to bless the union. That cannot be done because that is not the sacrament [of marriage]. I cannot. The Lord made it that way,” the pope responded.

He continued, “But to bless each person, yes. The blessing is for everyone. For everyone. To bless a homosexual-type union, however, goes against the given right, against the law of the Church. But to bless each person, why not? The blessing is for all. Some people were scandalized by this. But why? Everyone! Everyone!”

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