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World News

Priests apologise after joking that Pope Francis 'should go to heaven as soon as possible'

by Donna Birrell

A group of priests have apologised after saying the Pope "should go to Heaven as soon as possible".

The comment was made during an episode of a YouTube programme called 'The Sacristy of the Vendée. A counter-revolutionary priestly gathering'. In it, a priest from Toledo said, "I also pray a lot for the Pope so that he can go to heaven as soon as possible." Another priest in the group agreed, and others laughed over the comments.

The group of six Spanish-speaking priests then went on to discuss religious, social and political issues, mainly from a conservative point of view.

Following the comment, Archbishop Francisco Cerro Chaves of Toledo posted a statement on the archdiocese website expressing "profound rejection of any manifestation of disaffection towards the person and ministry of the Holy Father". He added that the priests had been told to seek forgiveness, and he made clear that the archbishopric was not responsible for or represented by the statements made by the priests.

The Sacristy of the Vendee group has now apologised on its X social media account, saying: "We are sorry for the unfortunate comment, said in a humorous tone, about 'praying for the Pope to go to Heaven as soon as possible.' It is a comment in bad taste and, although it does not express wishes for the death of the Pope as some media have maliciously spread… we understand that it can be understood that way."

Earlier this week, Pope Francis, 87, cancelled some audiences because of suffering from mild flu. He later underwent medical tests in a Rome hospital before returning to the Vatican.

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