On his return trip from Armenia, as has become custom, Pope Francis answered questions from the press aboard the papal plane. He answered a handful of questions concerning his trip to Armenia, its impacts on relations with Turkey, Pope Emeritus Benedict, the Pan-Orthodox council, the Brexit, and more.
The second to last question he was asked concerned German Cardinal Marx and his statement that the Catholic Church must “ask forgiveness from the gay community” for having marginalised these people.
In the official translation of his comments from the Vatican, Pope Francis answered:
“I will repeat what I said on my first trip. 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. One may condemn, not for theological reasons, but for reasons of, let’s say, political behaviour – certain manifestations are a little too offensive to others. But these things have nothing to do with the problem. The problem is that if a person in this condition has good will and seeks God, who are we to judge? And we must accompany them well. … Then there are traditions in some countries, in some cultures that have a different mentality on this problem. I think that the Church must not only ask forgiveness from the gay person who is offended, but she must also ask for forgiveness from the poor too, from women who are exploited, from children who are exploited for labour. She must ask forgiveness for having blessed so many weapons. The Church must ask forgiveness for often not behaving well – when I say the Church, I mean Christians. The Church is holy, we are sinners. Christians must ask forgiveness for having not accompanied so many choices, and so many families. …I remember from my childhood, the culture in Buenos Aires, the closed Catholic culture. I come from there. You couldn’t enter the house of a divorced family; I’m speaking of 80 years ago. The culture has changed, thanks be to God. Christians must apologise for many things, and not just this: they must ask for forgiveness, not just offer apologies. Forgive me, Lord: words we often forget”.