Sun. Jun 16th, 2024

By Ojukwu Emmanuel Chiadikaobi

 

In a shocking revelation that has stirred considerable controversy, Pope Francis is reported to have used a derogatory term to describe gay people during a closed-door meeting at the Italian Bishops’ Conference. This incident could significantly alter the public perception of his stance towards the LGBTQ+ community.

During the conference, Pope Francis was asked whether gay men should be permitted to train for the priesthood, provided they remained celibate. The Pope firmly opposed this idea. According to multiple reports, including an initial leak to the Italian tabloid website Dagospia, he used the term “frociaggine” – a derogatory Italian slur – to describe the presence of gay men in the clergy.

This alleged comment has been confirmed by several Italian news agencies, citing numerous sources at the meeting. The use of such language by Pope Francis is particularly startling given his previously more inclusive public remarks regarding the LGBTQ+ community. Early in his papacy, he famously responded, “Who am I to judge?” when questioned about gay priests. He has also suggested that priests might bless same-sex unions under certain conditions and emphasized that gay individuals are welcome in the Church.

These progressive statements had led some supporters to believe that the Pope was moving towards a more inclusive approach regarding gay men in the priesthood. However, his categorical refusal at the conference, coupled with the alleged use of offensive language, has left many in shock and disappointment.

Defenders of Pope Francis argue that his error may stem from a misunderstanding of Italian colloquialisms, given that his native language is Spanish. Despite growing up in an Italian-speaking household in Argentina, they suggest he might not have fully understood the offensive connotations of his words.

Further complicating the matter, some reports allege that the Pope also expressed that gay individuals should be expelled from seminaries altogether, regardless of whether they act on their sexual orientation.

As of now, the Vatican has not issued a statement regarding these reports. The global Catholic community and LGBTQ+ advocates are eagerly awaiting a response or clarification from the Holy See on the Pope’s stance and his controversial remarks at the conference.

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