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Did the Pope use a homophobic slur again? Or does he 'talk like a drag queen'?

Did the Pope use a homophobic slur again? Or does he 'talk like a drag queen'?

Image source: © Pontifex / X
Marta Grzeszczuk,
12.06.2024 10:30

Italian and international media report that Pope Francis has once again used a homophobic slur, this time in reference to "the atmosphere in the Vatican." Italian commentators have provided additional context for these statements.

On 12 June, media outlets reported that Pope Francis had once again used a homophobic term during a private conversation with the bishops. The head of the Roman Catholic Church had already faced backlash for his remarks made back in May. He later apologised to those "hurt by the use of the word."

Pope Francis has used the term "frociaggine" again

According to the ANSA news agency, Pope Francis allegedly repeated the offensive term on 11 June during a meeting with Roman priests, stating that "there is too much frociaggine here in the Vatican" and that it would be better if young men with homosexual tendencies were not allowed to study in seminaries.

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The media describe the word "frociaggine" as "extremely offensive and vulgar." Some commentators note that Francis' first language is Spanish, not Italian and that the Pope has previously made linguistic errors when speaking in languages other than his mother tongue.

Pope Francis 'talks like a drag queen'?

Meanwhile, several comments on social media from people in Italy present a different perspective. One statement on X gained viral popularity: "Please understand, practically no heterosexual Italian uses the term 'frociaggine'; it's very much a 'gay' word. As my Sardinian friend put it, the surprising thing isn't that he's homophobic, but that he speaks like a gay man from a drag queen show." In response, another person remarked: "Interesting, because isn't he Hispanic? I wonder if he learned Italian by talking to cardinals and now uses words they commonly use."

The outrage over the head of an openly homophobic institution such as the Roman Catholic Church not being a genuine ally of gay people seems startling. The exclusion of LGBTQ+ individuals, at least officially, is nothing new or surprising in this context.

Pope Francis is aware that homophobia now antagonises not only LGBTQ+ people themselves but also those who find it incomprehensible and socially harmful. Since the beginning of his pontificate in 2013, the Pope has spoken about accepting queer people, famously telling reporters, "If someone is gay, seeks the Lord, and has goodwill, who am I to judge?" However, Francis's official stance does not change the overall attitude of the Church as an institution on this issue.

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