Pope Francis has compared the media’s interest in scandal to an unhealthy obsession with feces.
“The media should be very clear, very transparent, and not fall prey … to the sickness of coprophilia, which is always wanting to communicate scandal, to communicate ugly things, even though they may be true,” the pope said in an interview with Belgian magazine Tertio published Wednesday.
Coprophilia is a medical term used to describe arousal from excrement or feces.
The pope went on to say that consumers of this information were engaging in “coprophagia,” or the consumption of feces. The pope, who gave the interview in his native Spanish, excused himself for using the unusual terms.
This is not the first time the pope has used the terms when discussing news. In 2013, before becoming the head of the Church, he used coprophilia and coprophagia to describe the potentially negative effects of media.
In the interview published Wednesday, he also warned the media against committing slander or defamation, describing them as sins. He went on to criticize “disinformation,” which he defined as news that reveals “only a part of the truth, and not the rest.”
“Disinformation is probably the greatest damage that the media can do,” he said.
The pope’s comments on disinformation follow elections in the U.S. and Italy where so-called fake news is thought to have been a factor.
Francis is the leader of the 1.2 billion Catholics, and the first non-European pope of the modern era. He was elected to the post in 2013.