The Roman Catholic Church should apologise to gay people for the way it has treated them, Pope Francis has said. Speaking to reporters on Sunday as he flew back to Rome from Armenia, the pope was asked if he agreed with comments by German Cardinal Reinhard Marx that the Church needed to say sorry for the way it has treated the gay community.
The pontiff also said the Church should seek forgiveness from other people it had marginalised such as women, the poor, and children forced into labour. "We Christians have to apologise for so many things, not just for this (treatment of gay people), but we must ask for forgiveness. Not just apologise — forgiveness," he said.
He said some politicized behaviors of the homosexual community can be condemned for being "a bit offensive for others." But he said: "Someone who has this condition, who has good will and is searching for God, who are we to judge?""We must accompany them," Francis said. Francis uttered his "Who am I to judge?" comment during his first airborne press conference in 2013, signaling a new era of acceptance and welcome for gays in the church. Francis followed up by meeting with gay and transgender faithful, and most significantly, by responding to claims that he met with anti-gay marriage campaigner Kim Davis during his US visit.
Meanwhile he said the only personal meeting he held in Washington was with his gay former student and his partner. Despite such overtures, however, many gay Catholics are still waiting for progress after a two-year consultation of the church on family issues failed to chart concrete, new pastoral avenues for them.