Pope Francis.
Pope Francis.

Pope drops F bomb during address to thousands

"TO err is human; to forgive, divine", said the English poet Alexander Pope.

Words that may be of some comfort to his namesake (sort of) Pope Francis after he accidentally used some distinctly unholy language during a Papal address to thousands in St Peter's Square.

It wasn't, however, an attempt by the man dubbed the 'People's Pope' to further connect with ordinary Italians - though it won't have done any harm.

The leader of 1.2 billion Catholics across the world, most of whom consider him God's representative on earth, managed to cause a stir at his mass weekly Vatican address by seemingly dropping the F-Bomb with all the ease of a drunken docker in a public house.

Pope Francis, who is renowned for the common touch he has brought to his Papacy, and was recently voted Time man of the year, stumbled over the Italian word for 'example' - "caso".

Instead the word that slipped out was "cazzo" -- which means " F***" or refers to the male genitalia (depending on interpretation).

To make matters considerably worse the 77-year-old Argentinian pontiff's gaffe came at a moment of heartfelt sincerity as he appealed to the international community to seek a peaceful solution to the crisis in the Ukraine.

"I make a heartfelt appeal to the international community to support every initiative on behalf of dialogue and harmony," he said.

"A heart full of longing for possession is a heart empty of God. For this, Jesus many times chastised the rich because the risk for them to seek security in the wealth of this world is high."

"In this fxxx... in this case the providence of God is made visible as gesture of solidarity."

It didn't take long for the embarrassing slip-up to be shared widely across social media sites. The pontiff's error was quickly published on YouTube and has since garnered tens of thousands of hits.

YouTube users had some sympathy for the unfortunate Pope.

Giorgio Olori wrote: "Okay come on! He is a man too!" While another commented: "This is a Pope who is outspoken."

"He wanted to say, 'in this case' - it's a simple mistake made by a foreigner reading Italian, nothing more," another wrote.

Perhaps Pope Francis had accidentally reverted to his hard man persona. It was revealed earlier this year that he had previously worked as a bouncer in a bar in  Buenos Aires.

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