Pope Francis reportedly again uses derogatory word when discussing gay seminarians

Pope Francis speaks to priests Pope Francis speaks to priests of the Diocese of Rome at the Pontifical Salesian University on June 11, 2024. | Credit: Vatican Media

During a private meeting with priests on Tuesday, Pope Francis reportedly once again used a derogatory slur to refer to gay men while arguing that there is a gay culture in the Vatican.

The pope, quoting himself, recalled a conversation in which he said “there is an air of faggotry” in the Vatican, according to the Italian website Silere Non Possum (Latin for “I cannot be silent”). The website on Wednesday published a transcript of Francis’ remarks on the subject. The website does not cite the source of the quotations.

“What I said on this issue: If a young man wants to enter the seminary and has a homosexual tendency: stop him,” Francis reportedly said in response to a question about seminaries and vocations.

“This is something that the Dicastery for the Clergy has said and I support, because today the homosexual culture has progressed so much and there are good young men who want the Lord, but it’s better not to [admit them to seminary], better not to.”

“Once a monsignor who works in the Vatican said to me, ‘Your Holiness, I want to say something, I am concerned about the gay culture in here,’” the pope continued, according to Silere Non Possum.

“I said, ‘Yes, there is an air of faggotry. It’s true, there is in the Vatican. But look, monsignor, today it is an honorific for our culture. Let us be careful, not to despise people with homosexual tendencies but to accompany them, there are so many good people.

“‘Accompany them, help them. Send them to psychologists. Please, however, be careful about accepting them in the seminary.’”

It is the second time in recent weeks that the pontiff has reportedly used the Italian slur “frociaggine,” which translates to “faggotry” or “faggotness” in reference to homosexual tendencies. 

Late last month, Holy See spokesman Matteo Bruni issued an apology after the pope used the term in reference to seminaries during a private meeting with Italian bishops on May 20.

Several prominent Italian news outlets also reported that the pope had used the derogatory term at the June 11 meeting, including ANSA, which cited sources present at the pope’s closed-door meeting with approximately 160 priests at the Pontifical Salesian University in Rome on the afternoon of June 11.

In an official communication June 11, the Vatican said Francis had spoken to priests “of the danger of ideologies in the Church and returned to the issue of the admission of people with homosexual tendencies to seminaries.”

The Vatican said the pope reiterated “the need to welcome them and accompany them in the Church and the prudential indication of the Dicastery for the Clergy regarding their entry into the seminary.”

The statement did not specify which indication from the Dicastery for the Clergy the Holy Father was referring to.

The pope’s meeting with priests ordained between 11 and 39 years ago was the third and final in a recent series of encounters with the priests of Rome. The first with older priests took place on May 14 and the second with priests ordained under 10 years took place on May 29.

After each of the closed-door meetings, the Vatican provided information summarizing the pontiff’s dialogue, including only select and short quotations.

The Vatican also distributed official photos of the events but no video, audio, or complete text of the pope’s words during the question-and-answer sessions were provided.

A Vatican News report of the June 11 meeting with priests also contained no direct quotes from Francis except to say that he called Rome “mission territory.”

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Italian newspaper Il Messaggero reported this week on recent restrictions on information provided to Vatican-accredited journalists about Pope Francis and his speeches.

A closed-circuit audio feed to the Holy See Press Office, which previously allowed journalists to listen in to many of the pontiff’s smaller audiences, has been cut, and advance copies of papal speeches are only being provided in limited cases.

Vatican journalists on June 10 lodged a formal objection to the change, which the Vatican has not explained.

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