Pope Francis talks to journalists on his flight back to Rome on Sunday, following a visit to Armenia. — Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images
Aboard a flight home from Armenia, Pope Francis fielded a pointed question from reporters: Did he agree with German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who, in the wake of the Orlando shooting, said gays deserve an apology from the Church?
His answer was frank.
“I believe that the Church not only should apologize to the person who is gay whom it has offended,” the Pope told reporters, “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.”
Marx, a close adviser to Pope Francis, had told a conference in Dublin that the Church must apologize for having consistently marginalized gay people in the course of its history. At the mention of the Orlando shooting, the Catholic News Service reports the Pope closed his eyes as if in pain — then expanded on Marx’s comments.