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Pope Francis believes all Christians owe gay people an apology, citing the church's history of marginalizing the LGBT community. The pope, taking questions from reporters during a flight home from Armenia over the weekend, minced no words when discussing the recent mass shooting at a nightclub in Orlando and the church's role in perpetuating bigotry.
"I believe that the church not only should apologize to the person who is gay whom it has offended," Pope Francis said, according to NPR, "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." The pope was specifically responding to a question centered on whether he supported German Cardinal Reinhard Marx's recent remarks, who insisted during a conference in Dublin that the church "must apologize" for the marginalization of gay people.
"The church must say it is sorry for not having behaved as it should many times, many times," Pope Francis added, according to the Catholic News Service. "When I say 'the church,' I mean we Christians, because the church is holy. We are the sinners. We Christians must say we are sorry."
This doesn't mark the first time Pope Francis has condemned the church's behavior. Last September, Pope Francis told a Philadelphia audience that he remained "overwhelmed with shame" regarding the church's widely publicized sexual abuse scandal. "I am profoundly sorry," Pope Francis said, according to USA Today. "God weeps."