‘Room for everyone’: Pope issues rare apology over reported homophobic slur

Topline: The Vatican has apologised on behalf of Pope Francis after he was widely quoted as having used a highly derogatory word to describe the LGBTIQ+ community.
The bigger picture: Italian media reported on Monday that Pope Francis used the Italian term “frociaggine”, a homophobic slur for gay men, during a meeting with Italian bishops on 20 May.
The incident was first reported by the Italian political gossip website Dagospia.
Key quote: “The Pope never intended to offend or express himself in homophobic terms, and he apologises to those who felt offended by the use of a term reported by others,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said.
What else to know: Pope Francis, who has made efforts to be more inclusive during his 11-year papacy, faces challenges in balancing traditional church teachings with modern perspectives on sexuality and inclusivity.
Last year he allowed priests to bless members of same-sex couples, triggering substantial conservative backlash.

What comes next: Bruni said Francis remained committed to a welcoming church where “nobody is useless, nobody is superfluous” and “there is room for everyone”.

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