Pope Francis said Sunday that Christians owe apologies to gays and others who have been offended or exploited by the church, remarks that some Catholics hailed as a breakthrough in the church’s tone toward homosexuality.
“I repeat what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: that they must not be discriminated against, that they must be respected and accompanied pastorally,” Francis said at a press conference aboard the papal plane returning from Armenia.
“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!”
As he often does during unscripted moments — particularly papal news conferences — the Pope spoke expansively, saying the church should seek forgiveness for a number of historical slights committed in its name.