Pope Francis apologized for recent scandals Wednesday before offering his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square.
"I would like, before beginning the catechesis, on behalf of the church, to ask forgiveness for the scandals that have occurred in recent times both in Rome and in the Vatican," said Pope Francis. "I ask forgiveness."
"The word of Jesus is strong today, woe to the world because of scandals. Jesus is a realist. He says it is inevitable that there will be scandals. But woe to the man who causes scandals," he said.
The Pope's remarks were interpreted to be about a high level Polish priest, Monsignor Krysztof Olaf Charamsa, who was relieved of his duties after he announced he was gay and "proud" ahead of a major Catholic Church meeting on families.
The Pope was not talking about Rome's mayor Ignazio Marino, who resigned earlier this week amid allegations that used official funds to pay his personal restaurant bills, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said.
Pope Francis meant that there is a "responsibility of men of the church," Lombardi said, according to the BBC.
Charamsa said he decided to announce that he was in a long-time partnership with another man because wanted to challenge the "backwards" Catholic Church teaching on homosexuality. He also said after his dismissal that there were many gay priests in the Vatican.
The Vatican called Charamsa's admission "very serious and irresponsible" and stripped him of his Vatican duties.
Pope Francis has acknowledged the presence of a gay lobby in the Vatican.