If you had to pick one man on Earth who probably doesn’t know how to use emojis or hashtags, you’d be pretty safe picking the Pope.
Pope Francis wrote Sunday on his official Twitter account, “Today we give thanks to the Lord for our new #Saints. They walked by faith and now we invoke their intercession.”
The Pope was was giving thanks to five new saints that were canonized on Sunday morning, sending out the celebratory message to his 18.1 million followers on the platform, where he goes by the handle “Pontifex.”
But on Twitter, a New Orleans logo emoji showed up next to “Saints” — as in the National Football League’s New Orleans Saints.
Today we give thanks to the Lord for our new #Saints. They walked by faith and now we invoke their intercession.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) October 13, 2019
New Orleans Saints linebacker Alex Anzalone was among the first to express his gratitude. “Wow, are we blessed or what?!??” Anzalone tweeted.
You’ll be shocked to hear that Twitter went wild with the rogue emoji.
“Putting all my money on the Saints today,” wrote sports reporter Matt Miller.
Putting all my money on the Saints today.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) October 13, 2019
“Thank you holy father for the gambling tip,” wrote another on Twitter.
Then there was this:
— Cruz Oxenreider (@TheRealCruzOx) October 13, 2019
“The Hail Mary doesn’t generally work in football, so I don’t see why advice from the Pope would,” wrote another.
“Looked good on papal, never panned out on the field,” wrote yet another.
“And we must ask the Lord to forgive the #Saints for their trespasses, which cost them 10 yards on a key third and long.”
And we must ask the Lord to forgive the #Saints for their trespasses, which cost them 10 yards on a key third and long.
— Vic Vela (@VicVela1) October 13, 2019
Pope Francis was in the news last week when controversy erupted after atheist Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari published a serious charge in an article for the center-left outlet La Repubblica — namely, that the Pope previously told him in a private interview that Jesus Christ was not God. If true, this would be a blatant statement of heresy that denies the Nicene Creed and the Catechism.
According to Catholic News Agency, Scalfari, who has interviewed the Pope on several occasions, said he discussed the topic of Jesus’ divinity some time in the past. He allegedly challenged Pope Francis about church teaching by noting several scriptures of Christ expressing agony, which apparently led Scalfari to believe that Jesus was not divine. In response, Pope Francis allegedly told him, “They are the definitive proof that Jesus of Nazareth, once he became a man, even if he was a man of exceptional virtue, was not a God.”
Immediately after the article went public, the Vatican issued a rather tepid statement denying Scalfari’s claims, saying it was not a “faithful account” of what Pope Francis said.
“As already stated on other occasions, the words that Dr. Eugenio Scalfari attributes in quotation marks to the Holy Father during talks with him cannot be considered a faithful account of what was actually said but represent a personal and free interpretation of what he heard, as appears completely evident from what is written today regarding the divinity of Jesus Christ,” Matteo Bruni, the director of the Holy See’s press office, said in a statement.
After significant backlash over the wording in Bruni’s denial, Dr. Paolo Ruffini, the Vatican’s prefect of the dicastery for communications, effectively called Scalfari a liar and affirmed that Pope Francis believes in rudimentary Catholic teaching about the divinity of Jesus.