The statement comes just over one week after posters criticizing the Pope were plastered on walls of the city center of Rome Feb. 4.
Depicting a dour looking Pope Francis, they read: "Ah Francis, you've taken over congregations, removed priests, decapitated the Order of Malta and the Franciscans of the Immaculate, ignored Cardinals…but where's your mercy?"
After hearing about the posters, the Pope himself was reportedly unfazed. According to Italian news agency ANSA, Pope Francis received the news of the posters with "serenity and detachment."
The brief phrase included on the posters was written in the Roman dialect, and indicates the culprit is someone who comes from more conservative sectors of the Church, many of whom have been in sharp disagreement with the Pope regarding his decisions and ongoing reform of the curia, which he is doing with the help of the Council of Cardinals.
Established by Pope Francis shortly after his pontificate began in 2013, the council, also called "the Council of Nine," serves as an advisory body on Church governance and reform, with special emphasis on the reform of Pastor Bonus, the 1988 apostolic constitution of St. John Paul II that regulates the competencies and work of the Roman Curia.
The anti-Francis posters clearly referenced several contentious issues from his pontificate, such as the letter written to him by four cardinals in September asking for clarification on five points – called "dubia" – in Amoris Laetitia. The letter was subsequently published in November, after the Pope did not respond.