In an interview yesterday, Pope Francis said the Catholic Church should apologize to gay people for past persecution and discrimination.
"I believe that the church not only should apologize to the person who is gay whom it has offended," the Pope said, "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."
The Holy Father made his comments after German Cardinal Reinhard Marx said Friday that the Church should apologize for being "very negative" about the LGBT community.
"The history of homosexuals in our societies is very bad, because we’ve done a lot to marginalize [them],” said Marx."As Church and society, we have to say ‘Sorry.’”
Marx also caused ripples in the Vatican by claiming the Church's complete dismissal of same-sex relationships is harmful.
“You cannot say that a relationship between a man and a man and they are faithful [that] that is nothing, that has no worth."
Pope Francis didn't go that far, of course, and maintained the Church has the right to condemn certain behavior.
"One can condemn, not for ideological reasons, but for let's say, political behavior—like certain protests that are too offensive to others and that are not related to the problem."
He acknowledged that "some traditions and cultures that have a different mentality" and reiterated his comment "Who are we to judge?" which he first declared in 2013.
The comment is too little, too late, for some activists.
"Pope Francis’ comments about the church’s ‘past treatment’ of gays doesn’t acknowledge the harm being caused in present day. The harm LGBT people face from the church is ongoing,” said Eliel Cruz, executive director of Faith In America. “The church’s teachings on homosexuality as sinful is causing this harm.”
Fielding questions aboard the papal plane after a trip to Armenia, the Pope also discussed the genocide in that country, as well as the UK's departure from the European Union and other issues.
There is something that is not working in that unwieldy union, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater," he said of "Brexit." "Let's try to jump-start things, to recreate .. today the two key words for the EU are creativity and fecundity."