Pope Francis has, this year alone; called out Donald Trump, expressed fondness for beauty vloggers, and washed the feet of Muslim refugees, practically courting headlines at every turn.
This weekend, he courted controversy with two statements, one of which was a statement he made about how Christians should apologize to gay people.
His visit to the nation of Armenia this weekend was pretty eventful. Giving an address on Friday at the presidential palace in Yerevan, the capital on the first day of his three-day trip, he described the slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman Empire forces during World War I as a genocide and prayed that such a tragedy never happens again.
The genocide terminology applied to the Armenian slaughter was vehemently opposed by Turkey as they argue that it was a war and there were losses on both sides.
He followed this up on Saturday, when he celebrated Mass in Gyumri, visited the Armenian Genocide memorial complex at Tsitsernakaberd and delivered an ecumenical prayer for peace.
According to a Vatican press release, he called the genocide the “first of the deplorable series of catastrophes of the past century, made possible by twisted racial, ideological or religious aims that darkened the minds of the tormentors even to the point of planning the annihilation of entire peoples.”
That however was not the most controversial of the Pope’s unscripted moments as on Sunday, he sounded out that Christians should apologize to gays and others who have been offended or exploited by the church.
Pope Francis’ comments were in response to a question about a German Cardinal who said that the Catholic Church and in essence Christians should apologize for being “very negative” about gays. Pope Francis has answered;
“I repeat what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: that they must not be discriminated against, that they must be respected and accompanied pastorally, the Church must ask forgiveness for not behaving many times — when I say the Church, I mean Christians! The Church is holy, we are sinners!”
He then spoke expansively on the subject, also including other groups of people that he believes that Christians owe apologies to;
“I believe that the church not only should apologize to the person who is gay whom it has offended, 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.”
This will make pope Francis the first pope to ever apologize to the LGBT community. Some Catholics are already hailing the statement as a breakthrough in the church’s tone toward homosexuality.