Pope Francis has said that the Roman Catholic Church should apologise to gay people for the way it has treated them.
He told reporters that the Church had no right to judge the gay community, and should show them respect.
The pontiff also said the Church should seek forgiveness from other people it had marginalised – women, the poor, and children forced into labour.
The Pope has been hailed by many in the gay community for his positive attitude towards homosexuals.
But some conservative Catholics have criticised him for making comments they say are ambiguous about sexual morality.
Speaking to reporters on his plane returning from Armenia, the Pope 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 marginalized.