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making amends
January 17, 2019

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) apologized on Thursday for anti-LGBTQ comments she made while working for her father Mike Gabbard's organization, The Alliance for Traditional Marriage.

The Alliance for Traditional Marriage pushed for an amendment to Hawaii's state constitution banning same-sex marriage and advocated against pro-gay rights lawmakers, Politico reports. In the 1990s, Mike Gabbard said homosexuality is "not normal, not healthy, morally and scripturally wrong," and while running for Hawaii state legislature in 2002, Gabbard defended her father and her work for his group. Gabbard apologized for her comments in 2012, but since announcing last week that she will run for president in 2020, her past remarks are once again under scrutiny.

On Twitter, Gabbard said that she grew up in a socially conservative home and in her past, she "said and believed things that were wrong, and worse, hurtful to people in the LGBTQ+ community and their loved ones. I'm deeply sorry for having said and believed them." Now, she is a member of the House LGBT Equality Congress, and knows that "LGBTQ+ people still struggle, are still facing discrimination, are still facing abuse and still fear that their hard-won rights are going to be taken away by people who hold values like I used to. I regret the role I played in causing such pain, and I remain committed to fighting for LGBTQ+ equality." Catherine Garcia

April 12, 2018

In a letter published Wednesday, Pope Francis invited Chilean victims of sexual abuse to come to Rome, where he plans to personally ask forgiveness for the "grave mistakes of judgment and perception of the situation."

Rev. Fernando Karadima of Chile was convicted in 2011 of sexually abusing minors and ordered to retire. Several of his victims have accused one of his protégés, Bishop Juan Barros, of knowing about the abuse but doing nothing to stop it. While visiting Chile in January, Francis defended Barros, saying the victims needed to show "proof" of their claims and sharing that he had twice rejected Barros' resignation.

After his trip, the pontiff sent Archbishop Charles Scicluna to gather the testimony of victims, and 64 of them spoke with him, giving him enough information to fill a 2,300-page report, The Guardian reports. Francis wrote that he felt "pain and shame" while reading the dossier, and he summoned all of Chile's bishops to the Vatican for an emergency meeting to discuss the scandal. The clergy must come together to "re-establish confidence in the church, confidence that was broken by our errors and sins, and heal the wounds that continue to bleed in Chilean society," he said. Catherine Garcia

June 8, 2017

Greg Gianforte issued a formal apology to The Guardian's Ben Jacobs on Wednesday, writing in a letter that his "physical response to your legitimate question was unprofessional, unacceptable, and unlawful."

Gianforte is the Republican U.S. congressman-elect from Montana, and on the eve of the election, he body-slammed Jacobs after he asked him a question about the Republican health-care plan, according to Jacobs and witnesses. Gianforte's campaign then issued a statement accusing Jacobs of engaging in "aggressive behavior." During Gianforte's victory speech on election night, he apologized to Jacobs, but he went further in his letter, writing: "Notwithstanding anyone's statements to the contrary, you did not initiate any physical contact with me, and I had no right to assault you. I am sorry for what I did and the unwanted notoriety that has created for you. I take full responsibility."

He went on to say he understands the "critical role that journalists and the media play in our society," and he had "no right to respond the way I did to your legitimate question about health-care policy." Gianforte also pledged to make a $50,000 contribution to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Jacobs said Wednesday he accepted Gianforte's apology and his "willingness to take responsibility for his actions and statements. I hope the constructive resolution of this incident reinforces for all the importance of respecting the freedom of the press and the First Amendment and encourages more civil and thoughtful discourse in our country." On June 20, Gianforte is scheduled to appear in court to face a misdemeanor assault charge in connection with the altercation. Catherine Garcia

February 12, 2016

Pope Francis and the head of the Russian Orthodox church, Patriarch Kirill, sat down for a historic meeting early Friday afternoon at José Martí International Airport in Havana. The meeting between the leaders of the Eastern Orthodox and Western factions of Christianity marks the first such meeting in history and is a symbolic step in repairing relations between the two factions that split nearly 1,000 years ago.

The leaders are expected to have a conversation and then sign a joint declaration, which will likely focus on their shared concerns over Christian refugees in Syria and Iraq. Becca Stanek

February 5, 2016

The Vatican announced Friday that Pope Francis and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, will meet in Cuba next Friday, marking the first such meeting between a pope and a Russian patriarch in history. The Eastern Orthodox and Western factions of Christianity split nearly 1,000 years ago in 1054's Great Schism over issues such as papal authority and have remained "formally estranged" ever since, The Washington Post reports.

The private, two-hour meeting will take place at José Martí International Airport in Havana. It's seen as the most significant effort ever made to repair relations. Becca Stanek

December 25, 2015

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday pardoned actor Robert Downey Jr. for the 1996 drug conviction that sent him to jail. The Oscar-nominated actor was one of 91 people granted pardons for criminal convictions after proving they had rehabilitated themselves.

"By completion of his sentence and good conduct in the community of his residence since his release, Robert John Downey, Jr. has paid his debt to society and earned a full and unconditional pardon," the Christmas Eve pardon reads.

Downey Jr. was arrested in 1996 after he was pulled over for speeding and police found cocaine, heroin, and a pistol in his car; he was sent to jail in 1999 for violating his probation. Though the conviction will remain on his record, the pardon will allow Downey Jr. to serve on a jury. Samantha Rollins

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