Friday, Aug 29, 2014Friday, Aug 29, 2014
News
 

Hollande and minister under fire over papal wisecracks

Published on Feb 12, 2013 5:02 PM
 
France's President Francois Hollande watches as a guest departs the Elysee Palace in Paris on Feb 11, 2013. Mr Hollande came under fire on Tuesday after cracking a joke about Pope Benedict XVI's decision to resign because of his failing health. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP) - French President Francois Hollande came under fire on Tuesday after cracking a joke about Pope Benedict XVI's decision to resign because of his failing health.

At a press conference with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday, Mr Hollande initially observed sombrely that the Catholic church should be left in peace to organise succession.

But he could not resist adding with a smirk: "We won't be putting up a candidate!"

The Socialist leader's irreverence at a time of great consternation for many Catholics was slammed as inappropriate by former interior minister Claude Geant.

 
If you are not a subscriber, you can get instant, unlimited access here