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Pope apologises for reportedly using homophobic slur

by Heather Preston

The Vatican has issued an apology after it was reported that Pope Francis had used a highly derogatory term to describe homosexuals.

In a statement, the Vatican said the Pontiff "never intended to offend or express himself in homophobic terms".

"As he stated on several occasions, 'In the Church there is room for everyone, for everyone! Nobody is useless, nobody is superfluous, there is room for everyone. Just as we are, all of us'."

The Holy See statement continued: "He apologises to those who felt offended by the use of a term reported by others."

It comes after Italian media widely reported him using the word "frociaggine" – an offensive word for LGBT people, during a private meeting.

According to Italy's largest newspaper - La Repubblica - the pontiff is alleged to have made the remark in a closed-door meeting with the Italian Bishops Conference last week.

The slur was allegedly used in reaffirming the Vatican's ban on allowing gay men to enter seminaries and be ordained as priests – stating that priesthood colleges were already too full of homosexual trainees.

Another national paper - Corriere della Sera - suggested the Pope who is originally from Argentina - may not have known it was an offensive term.

The reports sparked criticism, with one London-based LGBT+ Catholic group describing the language as disappointing and offensive.

Pope Francis has widely been regarded as having a more accepting approach to the LGBT community than previous leaders of the Catholic Church.

In 2013, at the start of his papacy, he famously said: "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?"

Last year he described laws that criminalise homosexuality as "unjust" and formally approved allowing priests to bless same-sex couples, as long as such blessings do not give the impression of a marriage ceremony.

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