Pope Francis said Christians should apologize to gays and other people who have been offended by the church.
His statement, which came Sunday at a press conference aboard the papal plane, has sparked some questions and confusion over how the pope’s papacy is changing Catholicism.
"I repeat what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: that they must not be discriminated against, that they must be respected and accompanied pastorally," Francis said.
"I believe that the church not only should apologize to the person who is gay whom it has offended," he added, "but has to apologize to the poor, to exploited women, to children exploited for labor; it has to ask forgiveness for having blessed many weapons,” he added.
Francis has not made any changes to church doctrine on homosexuality, but his more “merciful” comments have led to questions.
"Just about every time Francis says anything, the liberals in the Roman Catholic Church are encouraged and the conservatives are thrown into near panic whether or not they’re ready publicly to admit that state,” said Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
"In the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope has now sowed the seeds for the expectation that his Church will change its doctrine, its official teaching, on the question of homosexuality.
“The current catechism of the Roman Catholic Church still very much in effect and continuing the teaching of the Church throughout time states that homosexuality is inherently and gravely disordered and is always disordered; it can never be blessed as a moral good. And that’s exactly what the Roman Catholic Church officially teaches. But remember that on the issue of marriage and divorce, the Pope basically said yes, that’s what the church officially teaches, but then gave his priestly authority to renegotiate that in terms of the pastoral situation."
Publication date: July 5, 2016