The religious leader accidentally swears during a public speech

By Sheila Cosgrove Baylis
Updated March 03, 2014 02:55 PM

Holy moly!

Pope Francis surprised an audience gathered for his weekly blessing at the Vatican on Sunday when he accidentally let slip a swear word, BBC News reports.

Speaking in Italian, the pontiff used the word “cazzo,” which is equivalent to “f—.” He had meant to say “caso,” which means “case” and quickly corrected himself, but that didn’t stop videos of the speech from circulating on YouTube and a rash of comments about the gaffe on Twitter.

The mistake is a common one for non-native Italian speakers, NPR says, and being from Argentina, Pope Francis’s native language is Spanish.

NPR also reported the context of the slip-up, translated to English: “If each one of us does not amass riches only for oneself, but half for the service of others, in this f— … in this case the providence of God will become visible through this gesture of solidarity,” Francis said before giving the traditional Marian prayer of the Angelus.

The Italian press says that the blunder is unlikely to hurt his image. And for a Pope, he could be considered a bit of a bad boy, having owned a pair of Harley-Davidson motorcycles for a short time.