Pope Francis is accused again of insulting homophobia

During a meeting with priests in Rome on Tuesday, Pope Francis repeated an anti-gay slur, the same offensive term he was accused of using two weeks ago. The Vatican, in summarizing the meeting, said only that the pontiff had warned against allowing gay men into Roman Catholic seminaries.

The Vatican did not respond to reports from two of Italy's most important news agencies, ANSA and Adnkronos, that he had again used the word “faggot”, an offensive Italian slang term referring to gay men. The reports cited anonymous sources who they said were present at the meeting.

The New York Times could not independently verify the pope's use of the term. A Vatican spokeswoman declined to comment late Tuesday.

The context in which Francis is said to have used the insult remained unclear. The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported on Wednesday that it had used the term to report the words of a bishop. “A bishop came to me and said: 'There is too much fagotism here in the Vatican,'” the pope told the Corriere.

Francis was accused of using the same term last month in a private meeting with Italian bishops, according to several people at the meeting who spoke anonymously to Italian media.

That news sparked a widespread reaction and prompted an apology from the pope, released through the director of the Holy See press office, who said: “The pope never intended to offend or express himself in homophobic terms, and extends his Apologies to those who were offended by the use of a term, reported by others.”

According to Vatican News, the Holy See's online news site, Tuesday's meeting took place at the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome. There, his summary reads, the pope “spoke of the danger of ideologies in the Church” and reiterated that while the Church should welcome people “with homosexual tendencies,” it should exercise “prudence” in admitting them to seminaries.

The Vatican said the closed-door meeting also addressed “pastoral” and “current” issues, such as substance abuse, low voter turnout in elections and wars in the Middle East, Ukraine and elsewhere.

Francis has been widely credited with taking steps to welcome LGBTQ people into the Roman Catholic Church, conveying a mostly inclusive message and deciding to allow priests to bless same-sex couples.

But previous reports of the pope's use of the homophobic slur have shocked and alienated some LGBTQ people inside and outside the church.

After the news in May, a gay priest wrote in America Magazine, a Jesuit publication, that he was “shocked and saddened” by the remarks and added: “We need more than just an apology for Pope Francis' homophobic insults.” .

Italian politician Alessandro Zan, a gay man and a prominent supporter of LGBTQ people, wrote on social media at the time: “There is no such thing as too much 'faggot'. There are too many homophobes.”

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