Pope Francis is said to have made reference to a sexual fetish when hitting back at those who criticized him for not condemning Vladimir Putin by name during the war in Ukraine.
The head of the Catholic Church has repeatedly spoken about the war since the February 24 invasion of Russia, but did not name Putin directly. On April 6, he said “end this war” and “stop sowing death and destruction”.
He also condemned the killing of civilians, women and children in Bucha, but did not explicitly blame Putin. This has led some media outlets in his home country of Argentina to accuse him of not speaking out in favor of Ukraine.
The pope referred to it when responding to a letter sent to him by Argentinian journalist Gustavo Sylvestre in which he wrote that journalists who accused him of having a pro-Putin stance were guilty of “disinformation, slander, defamation and coprophilia “.
The pope had previously used the word – a technical term for a sexual fetish involving human excrement – in his criticism of the media for, he says, reporting scandalous or salacious stories, Catholic outlet Crux reported.
Pope Francis wrote on April 7 that those who accuse him of a pro-Putin stance could be paid to write such articles.
He added that it was “sad” that “such a noble calling” was “soiled”, according to a translation of the letter, which appeared on Sylvestre’s blog and reported by Crux.
It comes as the Vatican has come under fire for its decision to put a Ukrainian and a Russian side by side at a Good Friday celebration.
Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head of Ukraine’s Greek Catholic Church, said she equated the victims with their attackers. Shevchuk and the Ukrainian government called on the Vatican to change its plans.
While other Ukrainians saw the gesture as support for Russian propaganda that Russians and Ukrainians are brothers and should be part of one nation, the Vatican said the gesture simply symbolized reconciliation, The time of the straits reported.
Newsweek contacted the Kremlin and the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry for comment.
The Argentine Episcopal Conference issued a statement supporting the pope’s position on the war in Ukraine.
In a response from Bishop Ariel Torrado Mosconi of the Diocese of 9 de Julio, he said “he was crystal clear and did not mince his words: ‘Crime’, ‘atrocity’, ‘barbarism’, ‘sacrilege’ are powerful words”.
“They touch the minds and hearts of majorities far more than some of the convoluted and biased language of so many ‘opinion makers’ of the moment,” the statement added, according to Crux.
The pope actively tried to end or at least suspend the fighting and called for an Easter truce. According to Vatican NewsHe also spoke with Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church who is a supporter of Putin.
Newsweek has contacted the Vatican for comment.