Pope: Christians Should Apologize for Offending Gays
He also thinks Brexit was a mistake
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2016 12:03 AM CDT
Pope Francis, left, arrives with Catholicos Karekin II at the Khor Virap's monastery, Armenia, Sunday, June 26, 2016.    (Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters pool via AP Photo)
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(Newser) – It was quintessential Pope Francis: On a plane journey back from a foreign trip on Sunday, the pontiff made a statement that once would have been considered jaw-droppingly radical. In a response to a reporter's question, Francis said the church should apologize for offending and discriminating against gays over the years, the BBC reports. "I believe that the church not only should apologize to the person who is gay whom it has offended," he 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." Francis stressed that when he says "the church," he means Christians. "The Church is holy, we are sinners!" he said.

Francis—who made waves three years ago when he asked: Who am I to judge gays?—has been hailed by gay rights groups for his groundbreaking statements, though he has reaffirmed church policy that actually having gay sex is sinful, the BBC notes. The pope was on his way home from Armenia, where he once again enraged Turkish authorities by describing the mass killing of Armenians a century ago as genocide, reports CNN. He also addressed Britain's vote to leave the EU, saying that while "something ... is not working in that unwieldy union" and EU countries should be given more independence to creatively deal with their problems, "let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater."