The pontiff made the groundbreaking apology on his way back from Armenia Sunday as he spoke to reporters on his plane. One of them asked if Francis agreed with one of his top advisers, who said after the Orlando, Florida massacre that the Church should seek forgiveness from gay people for having marginalized them.
Francis recalled Church teachings that homosexuals ‘should not be discriminated against’ but should be treated with respect and ‘accompanied pastorally’.
He said: ‘I think that the Church not only should apologize […] to a gay person whom it offended but it must also apologize to the poor as well, to the women who have been exploited, to children who have been exploited by being forced to work. It must apologize for having blessed so many weapons.’
The Church teaches that homosexual tendencies are not sinful but homosexual acts are, and that homosexuals should try to be chaste.
‘The questions is: if a person who has that condition, who has good will, and who looks for God, who are we to judge?’ he asked.
‘We Christians have to apologize for so many things, not just for this,’ Francis added, referring to the treatment of gay people.
‘But we must ask for forgiveness, not just apologize! Forgiveness! Lord, it is a word we forget so often!’