Pope Francis, adresses the volunteers during an encounter on the last day of WYD (World Youth Day) on August 6, 2023 in Alges, Oeiras, Portugal Source: António Pedro Santos - Pool/Getty Images

Reports: Pope Francis Dropped Anti-Gay Slur in Closed-Door Meeting

Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 2 MIN.

Pope Francis made headlines in 2013 when he famously asked, "Who am I to judge?" about gay clerics. Fast forward to last week when, reports say, the pope decried "faggotry" in seminaries.

The reports originated with two Italian newspapers, Corriera della Sera and La Repubblica, which "claim[ed] that the 87-year-old pontiff made a homophobic slur in a closed-door meeting last week," CNN relayed.

The two newspapers "claimed the Pope had said there is 'frociaggine' – which translates in English to 'faggotry' – in some of the seminaries," the CNN story recounted. "The remarks took place in the context of proposals from the Italian bishops to amend guidelines on candidates to seminaries."

During the meeting, they were "reportedly discussing whether out gay men should be admitted to Catholic seminaries, where priests are trained," UK newspaper the Guardian wrote, "a topic that the Italian bishops conference (CEI) is said to have been pondering for some time."

"During the discussion, when one of the bishops asked Francis what he should do, the pope reportedly reiterated his objection to admitting gay men, saying that while it was important to embrace everyone, it was likely that a gay person could risk leading a double life," the Guardian recounted. "He is then alleged to have added that there was already too much 'frociaggine'... in some seminaries."

According to the Italian newspaper, "unnamed bishops... said that the pontiff meant the derogatory term as a 'joke,'" but Corriera della Sera offered another explanation, noting "that the Argentine pope, who speaks Italian as a second language, may not have been aware of how offensive his language was," CNN detailed, "adding that the remark was greeted with incredulous laughter by the bishops."

"A source close to the Pope told CNN that it could also be understood as there is a 'gay climate' in the seminaries," the writeup added.

"Since he was elected pope in 2013, Francis has sought to adopt a more inclusive tone towards the LGBTQ+ community in his public statements, much to the disdain of conservative cardinals," the Guardian recalled, before noting that Francis "approved a ruling in December allowing priests to bless unmarried and same-sex couples in what was a significant change of position for the Catholic church."

by Kilian Melloy , EDGE Staff Reporter

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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