Christians owes gay people an apology for the way it has treated them, Pope Francis has said.
The Independent reports that he made the statement on a flight from Armenia to Rome.
During the flight, the pontiff recalled Christian teaching and said: “I will repeat what the catechism of the Church says, that they [gay people] should not be discriminated against, they should be respected, accompanied pastorally.”
According to The Independent, Pope Francis also told reporters the institution should seek forgiveness from other groups it had discriminated against.
“I think that the Church not only should apologise… to a gay person whom it offended but it 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.”
The pope made the remarks after he was asked if he agreed with statements made by a senior cardinal, Reinhard Marx, who said the Church must say sorry to homosexuals
Pope Francis has been lauded by the gay community, but also criticised by conservative Roman Catholics, for his tolerance of homos*xuality.
In 2013, the pontiff said: “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?”
Yet while the leader maintains being gay is not wrong, he has said performing homos*xual acts is sinful.
On his visit to Armenia, Pope Francis used the word “genocide” to descibe the massacre of Armenians by Turks under the Ottoman Empire.
Turkey disagrees with the number of those slaughtered and denies the mass slaughter was a “genocide”. The term has significant political and financial implications for the country.