Pope Francis accused of repeating homophobic slur that prompted Vatican apology

Pope Francis has again been accused of using a highly offensive term to describe gay men in a closed-door meeting, two weeks after the Vatican apologized over his use of the same slur.

The Italian news agency ANSA, citing unnamed sources, reported that Francis used the Italian word in a meeting on Tuesday afternoon in which he suggested gay men should be welcome in the Church but not in seminaries.

The Pope is alleged to have used the term in a non-public meeting with Roman priests at the The Salesian Pontifical University.

Two sources in the room told NBC News last month that the Pope used the phrase in another closed-door meeting with bishops on May 20. The Vatican was moved to issue a rare apology “to those who were offended.”

In response to a request for comment on the new allegation, the Vatican referred NBC News to a statement it had issued regarding Tuesday’s meeting with priests. The pope had reiterated the need to welcome “people with homosexual tendencies” into the Church and the need for caution “regarding their entry into the seminary,” the statement said.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said there were no plans for further comment.

The Holy See’s official news outlet, the Vatican News, reported on the meeting but did not mention the discussion of homosexuality nor the Pope’s alleged use of the offensive term.

After outrage over the pontiff’s use of the term in May, Bruni said in a statement that Francis was welcoming of everyone into the Catholic faith.

“As he has had the opportunity to state on several occasions, ‘In the Church there is room for everyone, for everyone! No one is useless, no one is superfluous, there is room for everyone. Just as we are, everyone,'” Bruni said.

“The pope never intended to offend or express himself in homophobic terms, and he extends his apologies to those who were offended by the use of a term, reported by others,” Bruni added at the time.

The alleged comments came as a surprise to some as Francis, 87, is known for having more liberal views than many of his predecessors when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community, as well as on other issues such as the role of women in the Catholic Church and the environment.

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