Pope Francis apologizes after reportedly using LGBTQ slur

Pope Francis has apologized after reportedly using an offensive slur to refer to LGBTQ people in conversations with bishops over allowing gay men into seminaries, saying he never intended to offend anyone.

Francis, 87, allegedly told bishops convening last week in Rome not to admit homosexual men into seminaries and labeled them with a very offensive word, media including Corriere della Sera and Repubblica reported late Monday, citing sources who attended the closed-door meeting. Some of the reports also referred to a language issue, as he might have not been aware of the exact nuance of the word in Italian.

On Tuesday, the Vatican’s press service said the Pontiff was aware of reports about this in the press. He said there was “space for everyone in the Church, for everyone! Nobody is useless, nobody is superfluous, there’s space for everyone as we are.”

The Vatican added the Pope had never intended to offend anyone or to express himself in homophobic terms.

Since his papacy began, Pope Francis has taken a more welcoming stance on the LGBTQ community, receiving both praise and criticism from the Catholic community for it.

He recently said that priests should be able to bless same-sex couples in some occasions, one of the Vatican’s most progressive remarks to date. –BLOOMBERG