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Pope Francis speaks to Italian bishops in the Vatican synod hall on May 20 (CNS/Vatican Media)

The Vatican has issued an apology after Pope Francis’ use of an offensive word in Italian regarding seminarians who identify as gay. Source: CNA.

Holy See spokesman Matteo Bruni said yesterday in a press statement that Pope Francis was “aware of the articles recently published about a conversation, behind closed doors, with the bishops” of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI).

Italian media reported that the Pope had met with the CEI on May 20 in the Vatican’s Synodal Hall. At that meeting, the Pope was asked about the admission of declared gay men to the seminary. 

Telling the bishops that gay men should not be admitted to priestly formation, the Pope argued “there is too much ‘frociaggine’ in seminaries”, a slur translated as “faggotry” or “faggotness”. 

Mr Bruni told journalists that the Pope “never intended to offend or express himself in homophobic terms, and he apologises to those who felt offended by the use of a term reported by others”.

The remarks were first reported by the Italian tabloid website Dagospia and later confirmed by major Italian newspapers La Repubblica and Corriere della Sera.

The Vatican nearly two decades ago addressed the topic of gay-identified men entering Catholic seminaries.

In 2005 the Congregation for Catholic Education issued an instruction titled “Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with Regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in View of Their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders”. 

The document stated that “it is necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called ‘gay culture’”. 

The instruction went on to note the difference between those who display “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” and those “dealing with homosexual tendencies that were only the expression of a transitory problem”. 

Pope Francis upheld the ruling in 2016. In 2018 he again told Italian bishops to carefully vet candidates. 


Vatican apologises after Pope’s derogatory remark on gay men in Catholic seminaries (By Matthew Santucci, CNA


Pope Francis never intended to offend: ‘Room for everyone in the Church’ (Vatican News

Pope apologises for using ‘homophobic’ slang (OSV News

Pope apologises for any offence caused by anti-gay slur (Crux)