Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
 / Updated  / Source: Reuters

Pope Francis has criticized the naming of the U.S. military's biggest non-nuclear explosive as "the Mother of All Bombs", saying the word "mother" should not be used in reference to a deadly weapon.

The U.S. Air Force dropped such a bomb, officially designated as the GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) on suspected ISIS fighters in eastern Afghanistan last month. The nickname was widely used in briefings and reporting on the attack.

"I was ashamed when I heard the name," Pope Francis told an audience of students on Saturday. "A mother gives life and this one gives death, and we call this device a mother. What is happening?"

Pope Francis is set to meet U.S. President Donald Trump May 24 in a potentially awkward encounter given their opposing positions on immigration, refugees and climate change.