Pope Francis said that Christians and the Roman Catholic Church should seek forgiveness from homosexuals for the way they had treated them, Reuters reports.
Speaking to reporters Sunday aboard the plane taking him back to Rome from Armenia, he also said the church should ask forgiveness for the way it has treated women, for turning a blind eye to child labor and for “blessing so many weapons” in the past.
In the hour-long, freewheeling conversation that has become a trademark of his international travels, Francis was asked if he agreed with recent comments by a German Catholic cardinal that the church should apologize to gays.
Francis looked sad when the reporter asked if an apology was made more urgent by the killing of 49 people at a gay club in Orlando, Florida, this month.
He recalled church teachings that homosexuals “should not be discriminated against. They should be respected, accompanied pastorally”.
The pope said: “I think that the church not only should apologize … to a gay person whom it offended but it must also apologize to the poor as well, to the women who have been exploited, to children who have been exploited by [being forced to] work. It must apologize for having blessed so many weapons.”
The church teaches that homosexual tendencies are not sinful but homosexual acts are, and that homosexuals should try to be chaste.
Francis repeated a slightly modified version of the now famous “Who am I to judge?” comment he made about gays on his first foreign trip after his election in 2013.
“The question is: if a person who has that condition has goodwill and looks for God, who are we to judge?” the pope said.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said that the pope, by saying “has that condition”, did not imply a medical condition but meant “a person in that situation”.
In Italian, the word “condition” can also mean “situation”.
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