On his Plane out of Armenia, Pope Francis spoke to reporters, telling them that there is a need for the Church to apologise to the gay community for the way it has treated them.

He said that the Roman Catholic Church should “apologise to gay people for the way it has treated them” as they have no right to judge the gay community, and should instead, show them respect.

He said: “I will repeat what the catechism of the Church says, that they [homosexuals] should not be discriminated against, that they should be respected, accompanied pastorally.”

The Pope further urged the Church to seek forgiveness from other groups it had marginalised. He said: “I think that the Church not only should apologise… to a gay person whom it offended.

“It [the church] must also apologise 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 apologise for having blessed so many weapons.”

Meanwhile Pope Francis had before now been hailed by many in the gay community for being the most positive and merciful Pope towards them.

On the other hand, Catholics have criticised him for making comments they say are ambiguous about sexual morality.

In 2013, Pope Francis reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church’s position that homosexual acts were sinful, but homosexual orientation was not.

“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?” he said then.

He told reporters on the Plane that “there are traditions in some countries, some cultures, that have a different mentality about this question” and there are “some (gay) demonstrations that are too offensive for some”.

He suggested that those were not grounds for discrimination against or marginalisation of gay people.

Author: Ope Adedeji