Home » Pope Francis reported to have used derogatory phrase about homosexuals

Pope Francis reported to have used derogatory phrase about homosexuals

Pope Francis has reportedly said there is “too much faggotry” among trainee priests in remarks that will confound those who regarded him as being sympathetic to homosexuals in the Catholic Church.

The 87-year-old Argentinian pontiff reportedly made the remarks in a behind-closed-doors address to bishops last week but they leaked out to the Italian press on Monday.

He said he was opposed to trainee priests – known as seminarians – leading a “double life” by purporting to be celibate but secretly being gay.

According to multiple Italian news outlets on Monday night, citing different sources, Francis told a gathering of the Italian Bishops’ Conference: “There’s already too much faggotry” in seminaries.

The Pope famously said “Who am I to judge?” when asked about homosexuals within the Church at the start of his papacy in 2013, heralding a new, more inclusive approach to the issue.

He said that gay people should never be shunned or ostracised, telling journalists on his return flight from a visit to Brazil: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

But his remarks to Italian bishops, if confirmed, appear to throw that tolerance into question.

Rarely discussed by higher echelons

The forthright nature of the slang term shocked many of the bishops, according to Italian news reports.

It is an open secret in Rome that many seminarians and priests are gay but it is rarely discussed by the higher echelons of the Catholic Church – even though they may include gay people as well.

The Italian press speculated that the Pope might not have twigged how offensive and pejorative was the word that he used: “frociaggine”, meaning faggotry.

Although his Italian is good, his mother tongue is Spanish.

The use of the word was at odds with Francis’s prior stance on homosexuality, with him being seen as broadly tolerant, even welcoming, to gay Catholics, even though Catholic Church teaching holds that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered”. Seminarians and priests, of whatever sexual persuasion, are supposed to be celibate.

The Vatican did not respond to a request for comment on the Pope’s reported use of the pejorative phrase.

He reportedly made the comment on May 20 during a four-day meeting of the Italian Bishops’ Conference.

Last year, Pope Francis allowed priests to bless same-sex couples, sparking a backlash among conservative Catholics.