Pope Francis has said that the Catholic Church should apologise to gay people for the way it has treated them in the past.
He said that the Church has no right to judge the gay community and that they should be treated with respect.
The news has divided opinion within the Roman Catholic faith, with some people praising the pontiff for his positive attitude towards homosexuals, whereas other have accused him of being vague about his stance.
Pope Francis was speaking to reporters on his plane following his visit to Armenia. He said: “I will repeat what the catechism of the Church says, that they [homosexuals] should not be discriminated against, that they should be respected, accompanied pastorally.”
Pope Francis said the Church should seek forgiveness from those whom it had marginalised.
“I think that the Church not only should apologise… to a gay person whom it offended but it must also apologise to the poor as well, to the women who have been exploited, to children who have been exploited by [being forced to] work. It must apologise for having blessed so many weapons.”
It is not the first time Pope Francis has spoken about the Church’s relationship with homosexuality. In 2013, he said that homosexual acts were sinful, but homosexual orientation was not. At the time Pope Francis said: “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?”
The pontiff also commented on Britain’s decision to leave the EU. He said: “There is something that is not working in that bulky union, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water, let’s try to jump-start things, to re-create.”