Gays and all the other people the church has marginalized, such as the poor and the exploited deserve an apology, said Pope Francis. They must be "respected, pastorally accompanied," he said.
Since Francis became pope in 2013, he has often honored Christians who have suffered for their faith in current times. He emphasized that the latest saints can serve as role models for today's Catholics.
The ex-head of a Vatican-run hospital was convicted of funneling a fortune to a local cardinal in a case that highlighted waste and lack of transparency at the Holy See. Pope Francis has sought to clean up the church.
Two inmates from the coastal city of Napoli have escaped after having lunch with the pope in the historic city of Bologna. Pope Francis has long advocated for prisoners' rehabilitation into society.
Speaking before an advisory commission, Pope Francis has addressed the problem of sexual molestation by priests. He said he has learned from his own mistakes in dealing with offenders and called such abuse a "sickness."
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