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Student tells Pope to stop using anti-gay slurs: ‘It leads to immense pain’

"Stop using offensive language against the LGBTQIA+ community"

By Jamie Tabberer

Pope Francis
Pope Francis has a penchant for the word "frociaggine" (Image: Wikimedia Commons/Agência Brasil)

A student has urged Pope Francis to cease using anti-LGBTQ language after a series of controversies over the pontiff’s use of the word “frociaggine.”

The Pope has publicly used the word, roughly translating to “faggot” or “faggotry”, not once but twice in the last month.

The Vatican issued a rare apology over his first use of the term.

Now, Jack Lorenz Acebedo Rivera has criticised the 87-year-old to his face for his language, while while appearing with him on a student panel discussion on “Building Bridges Across Asia Pacific.”

Issuing his plea during the video panel talk on Thursday (Friday 21 June 2024), the student told the pontiff such words lead to “immense pain.”

“I myself am outcasted and bullied due to my bisexuality”

“Stop using offensive language against the LGBTQIA+ community,” said the student, who studies psychology at the Philippines’ Ateneo de Manila University. “This leads to immense pain,”

“I myself am outcasted and bullied due to my bisexuality, my gayness, my identity, and being a son of a single parent,” added the speaker, who was wearing a rainbow sash.

The Pope responded by condemning discrimination and misogyny, but failed to directly address Acebedo Rivera’s request regarding anti-gay slurs.

“The greatness of women must not be forgotten,” he said. “Women are better than men in terms of their insight and their ability to build communities.”

The talk, which was live-streamed on YouTube, was organised by Loyola University Chicago and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

“The Pope never meant to offend or to use homophobic language”

Responding to backlash over the Pope’s initial use of “frociaggine”, Matteo Bruni, the director of the Holy See, the Catholic Church’s governing body, said in a statement: “Pope Francis is aware of the articles that have come out recently concerning a conversation he had with bishops… behind closed doors.

“As he [the Pope] has stated on more than one occasion, ‘In the Church, there is room for everyone – everyone! Nobody is useless or superfluous, there is room for everyone, just the way we are.’

“The Pope never meant to offend or to use homophobic language, and apologises to everyone who felt offended [or] hurt by the use of a word.”

Image: Wikimedia Commons/Agência Brasil