The pope smiling with the word 'frociaggine' written over top

Giulio Napolitano/Shutterstock (Licensed)

Frociaggine memes are the latest gay trend

Pope Francis isn’t going to live this one down.


Rachel Kiley


Frociaggine memes have suddenly taken social media by storm, thanks to a scandal involving the pope. If you’re not familiar with the word, you’re not alone. (And no, it’s not a new Starbucks drink or a character in J.R.R. Tolkien reboot.) But in order to nail this meme down—and to be sure it’s the kind of meme you should be posting in the first place—you’ll need a little more context.

What Does ‘Frociaggine’ Mean?

The word “frociaggine” is Italian, and not precisely translatable to English. It comes from the root word “frocio,” which is a derogatory term for gay men. Therefore, the rough translation is also a queer slur, “f****try.”

Origin of Frociaggine Memes

Where did frociaggine memes originate? Well, it all comes back to the pope.

On May 27, Italian newspapers Correire della Sera and La Repubblica reported that anonymous sources claimed Pope Francis had used the term “frociaggine” during a private meeting with Italian bishops. The discussion had revolved around whether or not gay men should be allowed to enter seminary, which can prepare candidates for priesthood.

Despite the fact that priests are generally expected to be celibate, the Vatican has explicitly prohibited gay men from being ordained. Pope Francis allegedly reiterated this stance in a less than ideal manner, saying there’s too much “frociaggine” in seminaries already.

your holiness did you perchance say F*GGOTRY
byu/frogonamushroom_ inCuratedTumblr

Considering this pope has had a gentler attitude towards LGBTQ+ people than his predecessors, the news was soon splashed across headlines as some expressed shock and homophobes celebrated.

The Vatican ultimately released a statement on his behalf. They said he “never intended to offend or express himself in homophobic terms, and he extends his apologies to those who were offended by the use of a term, reported by others.”

But the news had already captured people’s attention. And a new opportunity for memes had already been born.

What Are Frociaggine Memes?

Memes related to the pope’s use of a slur, whether a faux pas or not, immediately cropped up after the news broke. 

This has partly been a result of how the word “frociaggine” in and of itself has such an interesting sound to it (at least to Westerners). And it’s partly been a reaction from people frustrated with the pope’s wishy-washy stances regarding the LGBTQ+ community.

frociaggine meme
byu/TransSylvania from discussion

Mostly, people have been using it interchangeably with “gay,” in the same irreverent sort of way that f****t itself has been reclaimed by gay men in recent years. 

frociaggine meme featuring Jennifer Coolidge from White Lotus saying 'These frociaggine, they're trying to murder me.'
frocciagine meme that says 'And just like that it's hot frocciagine meme summer.'
frocciagine meme of Bradley Cooper in Maestro
frocciagine meme about art

These memes are still in their infancy, and may shift as time goes on—assuming they survive beyond the typical news cycle.

Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.

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