Pope Francis Invites Famous Comedians to Vatican to Promote 'Love' as He’s Accused of Using Homophobic Slur Again

105 comedians from 15 countries have been invited to an audience with the pope on Friday, June 14

<p>Stefano Costantino/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty</p> Pope Francis

Stefano Costantino/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

Pope Francis

Pope Francis is bringing together comedians from around the world to "celebrate the beauty of human diversity," news of which came as he was accused of once again using a homophobic slur, which prompted an apology from the Vatican just two weeks ago.

On June 11, the Italian news agency ANSA reported that the pope, 87, used a derogatory term for gay people while speaking with Roman priests in a closed door meeting, per CNN and NBC News.

According to ANSA, which cited unnamed sources, the religious leader allegedly used a word in Italian, which translates as a derogatory term for gay people, while suggesting that gay men should be welcomed into the Church, but not necessarily seminaries, the outlets reported.

<p>Vatican Media via Vatican Pool/Getty</p> Pope Francis in 2023

Vatican Media via Vatican Pool/Getty

Pope Francis in 2023

The Vatican has not issued a statement on the new allegations, but in May, director of the Holy See Press Office Matteo Bruni told PEOPLE that the pope “is aware of the articles that have recently been published about a conversation held behind closed doors, with members of the Italian Bishops’ Conference."

"As he has had the opportunity to say on several occasions: 'There is room for everyone, for everyone in the Church! No one is useless, no one is superfluous, there is room for everyone. Just in the way that we are, all of us,' " Bruni added. "The Pope has never intended to offend or express himself in homophobic terms, and he apologizes to those who have felt offended by the use of a term, reported by others."

Related: Pope Francis Apologizes Following Reports of Him Saying Offensive Term Toward Gay People

News of the pope being accused of using the derogatory term again comes just days after it was announced that more than 100 comedians from 15 countries will be visiting with the pope at the Vatican on June 15.

Among the stars expected to make their way to Italy for the gathering are Whoopi Goldberg, Stephen Colbert, Jim Gaffigan, Conan O’Brien, Tig Notaro, Chris Rock, Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Merchant.

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Per Reuters, the Vatican said in a statement that the purpose for the meeting is "to celebrate the beauty of human diversity and to promote a message of peace, love and solidarity."

Related: Pope Francis Clarifies Blessing Same-Sex Unions — 'That Cannot Be Done' — But Says 'Everyone' Can Be Blessed (Exclusive)

On the June 12 episode of The View, Goldberg spoke about the upcoming trip. “So Pope Francis, as you may or may not know, has invited a whole bunch of funny people from all over the world to celebrate the beauty of human diversity and recognize the significant impact that the art of comedy has on the world of contemporary culture," the star said.

The Sister Act actress continued, "I’m especially interested in speaking with people from around the world, since we don’t get to do that very often.”

A rep for Goldberg did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment about making the trip in light of the allegations against the pope.

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