Pope Francis has offered a rare, if vague, apology for scandals involving the Roman Catholic Church, after several high-profile gaffes that were linked to the church or its clergy.
Speaking in Rome at the beginning of his weekly general audience Wednesday, Pope Francis said he asks forgiveness in the name of the church "for the scandals that have recently hit Rome and the Vatican." He did not offer details on what scandals he meant. He added, "It is inevitable that scandal happens, but woe to the man who causes [them]." His last phrase was a quote from the Bible.
The pope's comments drew applause, but also confusion about which scandals he might have meant. The Vatican has not addressed questions about what the pope was referencing.
On October third, the day before Pope Francis opened a meeting on family issues, a Vatican monsignor publicly announced he is gay, introduced his male partner to the media, and denounced the Church's stance on same-sex relationships.
A few days later, Rome's mayor, Ignazio Marino, resigned in a scandal over his personal expenses and concerns that the financially strapped city would not be prepared to handle throngs of tourists expected to come to Rome for the pope's Jubilee Year, which begins in December.
The pope has been openly scornful of Marino in recent weeks, suggesting to reporters that the mayor should not have traveled to the U.S. city of Philadelphia earlier this year when the pope visited the city.