• Pope Francis said the church should apologize for marginalizing the gay community
  • He said “they should be respected, accompanied pastorally”
  • He also said the church should apologize to “anyone whom the church did not defend when it could”

Pope Francis said on Sunday, June 26,  that Christians and the Roman Catholic Church should seek forgiveness from homosexuals for the way the church had treated them.

In an interview with the press aboard a flight back to Rome from Armenia, the pontiff was asked if he agreed with recent comments by a German Roman Catholic cardinal that the Church should apologize to gay people for contributing to their marginalization, as per an article published by Reuters.

“Gay people should not be discriminated against. They should be respected, accompanied pastorally,” Pope Francis said.

He added: “The question is: if a person who has that condition, who has good will, and who looks for God, who are we to judge?”

At the mention of the gay nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida on early June, Pope Francis closed his eyes as if in pain and shook his head in dismay.

“The church must say it is sorry for not having behaved as it should many times, many times — when I say the ‘church,’ I mean we Christians because the church is holy; we are the sinners,” the pope said. “We Christians must say we are sorry.”

Like any other community of human beings, the Catholic Church is made up of “good people and bad people,” he said. “The grain and the weeds — Jesus says the kingdom is that way. We should not be scandalized by that,” but pray that God makes the wheat grow more and the weeds less, as per an article published by Catholic News Service.

Pope Francis insisted there are many good priests in the world and “many Mother Teresas”, but people often do not see them because “holiness is modest.”

“I think the church not only must say it is sorry to the gay person it has offended, but also to the poor, to exploited women and anyone whom the church did not defend when it could,” said the pope.