HRC Welcomes Pope Francis’ Message of Apology to LGBTQ People

by Sarah McBride

Washington, D.C. – Today, in response to recent comments from Pope Francis stating that the church should “apologize to the person who is gay whom it has offended,” the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, released the following statement:

“Pope Francis’ words are a welcome step toward bringing LGBTQ Catholics closer into the Church and healing the wounds of those who have felt pushed away from their Church and its teachings,” said Mary Beth Maxwell, HRC’s Senior Vice President for Programs, Research, and Training. “Pope Francis’ message of inclusion and love for all people continues to bring Catholic leadership more in line with the large majority of American Catholics who believe in full equality for their LGBTQ family-members, friends, neighbors, and fellow parishioners. The vast majority of American Catholics say no to hatred and no to discrimination.”

The apology from Pope Francis came in response to a question about recent comments from German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who said that in the wake of the tragic shooting in Orlando, the church owed an apology to LGBTQ people who have been marginalized by the church.  In his response, Pope Francis said, “I think the church must not only apologize [...] to a gay person it offended, but we must apologize to the poor, to women who have been exploited, to children forced into labor, apologize for having blessed so many weapons.”

HRC also welcomes recent statements of support and inclusion from other leaders in the Catholic Church following the Orlando shooting, including in open letters by Bishop Robert Lynch of Petersburg, Florida, and Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago.  In his open letter to Chicago’s LGBTQ community, Archbishop Cupich wrote, “For you [...] who are particularly touched by the heinous crimes committed in Orlando, motivated by hate, driven perhaps by mental instability and certainly empowered by a culture of violence, know this: the Archdiocese of Chicago stands with you. I stand with you.”

For more, including polling and other resources for LGBTQ Catholics, visit

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


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