The news was shared by online newspaper 7Margens, which had asked "a Vatican official" to buy one of the stamps.

“At the official post office in Praça de São Pedro, the employee who answered said that it was impossible to make the sale, as it would be withdrawn”, adds the newspaper.

The news of the withdrawal of the stamp was confirmed by Radio Renascença.

On Monday, the Vatican presented a stamp commemorating the World Youth Day (WYD) Lisbon 2023, inspired by the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, with the image of Pope Francis in the place of Infante D. Henrique and with young people in the place of navigators.

After the release of the stamp's image, several negative comments were published on social networks, which referred to the graphic imaginary of the National Propaganda Secretariat of the Estado Novo and colonialism.

The design of the stamp, released together with a commemorative stamp, with the WYD logo, was designed by Stefano Morri.

“Just as the helmsman D. Henrique leads the crew in discovering the new world, so Pope Francis leads the youth and the Church under the seal of the Vatican”, explained a note published on the Vatican news website, Vatican News.

“Bad taste”

Questioned on Tuesday by Lusa news agency, regarding the controversy generated, the Portuguese bishop Carlos Moreira Azevedo, Delegate of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, considered the image of the WYD commemorative stamp released by the Vatican to be in “very bad taste”.

For Carlos Azevedo, who works at the Vatican, the stamp “relies on a very well-known work” and “epically evokes a pastoral reality that does not correspond to that spirit”.

Also on Tuesday, the organization of World Youth Day clarified that the commemorative stamp presented by the Vatican aimed only to “promote” the meeting of young people with the Pope, removing readings that identified him with the Estado Novo or Portuguese colonialism.

Rosa Pedroso Lima, a spokeswoman for the Foundation WYD Lisbon 2023, told Lusa agency that “the stamp was made by an Italian illustrator, Stefano Morri, who has worked many times with the Vatican numismatic services” and whose reading for the illustration of the stamp is “an image of the Pope on a monument in Lisbon, symbolizing, in a kind of allegory, the boat of St. Peter and the Pope leading young people and the Church into a new era”, explained the Foundation spokeswoman.

For Rosa Pedroso Lima, “there will always be several readings of whatever is in a work of art, be it a stamp or an illustration. This is the reading that the Vatican does and the objective is to promote World Youth Day”.

Lusa agency has already questioned the Vatican's Postal and Philatelic Services to obtain information about the withdrawal of the stamp but without a response.