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Pope Francis uses anti-gay slur for the second time – but what does ‘frociaggine’ mean?

Absolutely not this again

By Jamie Tabberer

A photo of The Pope waving
The Pope (Image: Long Thiên/Wikimedia Commons)

The Pope has used the anti-gay slur ‘frociaggine’ in public for the second time in weeks, according to two prominent Italian news agencies.

The pontiff reportedly used the term again on Tuesday (11 June 2024) during a meeting with priests at Salesian Pontifical University in Rome.

The head of the Catholic Church previously generated headlines when he used the word in a meeting with bishops in the Vatican last month.

He later apologised, saying he hadn’t realised it was offensive.

“A bishop came to me and told me, ‘There is too much frociaggine here in the Vatican’” – Pope Francis

News of the 87-year-old using the term this week came via anonymous sources quoted by ANSA and Adnkronos.

“A bishop came to me and told me, ‘There is too much frociaggine here in the Vatican,’” the Corriere newspaper reported him as saying today (12 June 2024).

Vatican News confirmed that the Pope had discussed gay people in the meeting, but did not address his use of the term. The Pope “spoke about the danger of ideologies in the church”, according to the Holy See’s online news site, reiterating that although the church welcomes those “with homosexual tendencies,” it should practise “prudence.”

“Frociaggine,” roughly translating to “faggotry” in English, is a derogatory Italian word referring to homosexuals in a pejorative sense. Derived from the word “frocio” – slang for gay men – it combines the suffix “-aggine,” denoting a negative quality.

The Pope first used the term in public on Monday 20 May 2024 during the Italian Bishops Conference assembly.

Matteo Bruni, the director of the Holy See, the Catholic Church’s governing body, later said in a statement: “Pope Francis is aware of the articles that have come out recently concerning a conversation he had with bishops… behind closed doors.”

Bruni furthermore continued: “As he [the Pope] has stated on more than one occasion, ‘In the Church, there is room for everyone – everyone! Nobody is useless or superfluous, there is room for everyone, just the way we are.’”

The statement added: “The Pope never meant to offend or to use homophobic language, and apologises to everyone who felt offended [or] hurt by the use of a word.”

Image: Long Thiên/Flickr/Wikimedia Commons