In what some Catholics have hailed as a breakthrough in the church’s tone toward homosexuality, Pope Francis stated on Sunday that Christians owe an apology to gay people.
“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!”
The Pope went on to say that there are a number of people that deserve an apology from the Church:
“I believe that the church not only should apologize to the person who is gay whom it has offended,” he added, “but has to apologize to the poor, to exploited women, to children exploited for labor; it has to ask forgiveness for having blessed many weapons.”
The Pope says that although he cannot condone certain types of behavior, he says that we must respect and not criticize others.
Love, compassion, and forgiveness are essential parts of living a Christian life. The Pope does not aim to change any theological doctrines, but instead wants to focus on being more merciful and inclusive to gays and lesbians. We should all learn to follow this man’s loving example by remembering his words: “Who am I to judge gay people?”