Praise 'Lesus'? Vatican pulls misspelled coins
The Vatican made a little error on its new medal made in honor of Pope Francis.
October 11th, 2013
11:18 AM ET

Praise 'Lesus'? Vatican pulls misspelled coins

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-editor

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(CNN) - For the love of "Lesus," the Vatican needs a copy editor - preferably an infallible one.

In honor of the first year of Pope Francis' papacy, the Vatican issued a commemorative medal Tuesday. The coin-size medals are sold in Vatican City and usually provide a steady stream of revenue for the church.

Just one problem: The Vatican misspelled the name of Jesus on the medal.

One side depicts Francis and the other a biblical phrase in Latin: Vidit ergo Lesus publicanum et quia miserando atque eligendo vidit, ait illi sequere me.

The phrase means: Jesus, therefore, saw the tax collector, and because he saw, by having mercy and by choosing, He said to him, "Follow me."

Except the tax collector on this particular coin is part of the heretofore unknown Lesus Movement.

The Vatican said the Latin phrase profoundly affected the future Pope Francis at age 17 when he heard God calling him to the priesthood. In his native Argentina and in his nascent papacy, Francis has made a point of ministering to people on the margins and preaching about mercy.

MORE ON CNN: Pope Francis: Church can't 'interfere' with gays

But when the Vatican drew up the medal, it flubbed the Latin phrase, said spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi. (It's worth noting that Latin doesn't have a "J," so maybe we should cut the Vatican a bit of slack.)

Lombardi said the Vatican is to blame for the mishap, saying the error was made "in the preparation, not the execution."

The Italian Minting Institute made about 6,000 of the "Lesus" medals and retrieved all but three or four, according to media reports, which means a few folks are holding onto some pretty valuable mistakes.

Others are having fun with the misspelled phrase on social media, with some blaming the "Lesuits" and others asking "What would Lesus do?"

Lesus wept.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Business • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Money & Faith • Pope Francis

soundoff (324 Responses)
  1. misstype

    I'd cut them some slack. Your quote has 3 typos in it.

    October 11, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
  2. Poseidon

    "it is disturbing that some persons can be so openly disrespectful to the religion of others"

    Here we go, another person who doesn't like freedom of speech. Or are you saying we can have freedom of speech as long as it doesn't hurt someone's feelings? If so then you don't have freedom of speech. Maybe you should go and live in China, North Korea, etc. I don't have to respect your ignorance or your super being overlords, I just have to not touch you physically, which, I would never do. Religious followers can be a lot like a sports fan, say something against what they love and they may hurt you.


    October 11, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • Gol

      Oddly enough...many atheists cry foul when the opposition treats them as rudely as they are treated. Are they being hypocrites?

      October 11, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
  3. Gol

    My gosh..could you imagine what a coin collector would give for an error like that?

    October 11, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
  4. Dyslexic doG

    if they put all the flawed medals in a big cave and wait for 3 days the rock in front of the cave will have magically been moved and all the medals will be gone. Of course no-one stole them or moved them ... they must have been magically transported up to heaven ...

    October 11, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
  5. The Flamingo Kid


    October 11, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Gol

      Go back to your cardboard box ya crazy.

      October 11, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
  6. dike

    that is a lewd...

    October 11, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
  7. Rickalus

    Bridgekeeper: Stop. Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three, ere the other side he see.

    Jesus: Ask me the questions, bridgekeeper. I am not afraid.

    Bridgekeeper: What... is your name?

    Jesus: My name is Lesus...no wait.....Jeee...aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

    October 11, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
  8. Dyslexic doG


    October 11, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
  9. Dyslexic doG

    should I rename myself Dyslexic doL?

    October 11, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
  10. Just the Facts Ma'am...

    Well you know what Robert Browning would say, Lesus more...

    October 11, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      October 11, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
  11. Smurf

    Some of these jokes are actually funny. However, it is disturbing that some persons can be so openly disrespectful to the religion of others. Even if you don't share a belief, one should not be so eager to offend.

    October 11, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      I'm not eager to do this but ... there is no god and all Christians are deluded infants who are afraid of the real world.

      October 11, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • pUCKLES

      Catholicism isn't a religion. IT is an organized crime and pedophile ring that is soon to be shut down.

      October 11, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      What I find funny about making fun of religion is that virtually none of them have a problem pointing the finger at another religion and laughing to themselves while they think "what idiots for believing in that non-existant (insert Hindu, Muslim, etc.) deity. It's so obvious to me they are worshiping a false God" while at the same time they are thinking "I can't believe the disrespect some show towards my God, boy will they be suprised when my Gods wrath wipes out the unbelievers..."

      Right now there is a tie between Allah, Yahweh, Jesus, Zeus, Odin, Leprechauns, Unicorns, Vishnu and the boogie man for being the creators of the universe. Not a single proponent of any group can provide any more evidence of their believed origins than any other group. They all deserve the same amount of respect as well as the same amount of derision.

      October 11, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
      • Lionly Lamb

        JtF Ma'am wrote "the creators of the universe."

        Then multiple universes or an infinite amount of big bang created universes are not a possibility..? As time does never deviate nor run short we will some day one day understand the very immensity of the Cosmos...

        October 11, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          I did not think it possible to miss my point, but apparently you did...

          October 11, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
        • Lionly Lamb

          JtF Ma'am...

          Creators of each and every one of the universes is the stock-N-trade of Celestial Creationism...

          October 11, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
  12. Dyslexic doG

    his name was actually Bwian ...

    October 11, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
  13. Fur Ball

    And his parents were Lary and Loseph a gay couple in Lerusalem?

    October 11, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
  14. yourmom


    October 11, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
  15. Journey

    They chose "unwisely" and know look like knuckleheads. Such is the price of immortality.

    October 11, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
  16. Baalzabarber

    Maybe all these years the "Pope" was a type-o and he's actually The Dope

    October 11, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • pUCKLES

      Makes perfect sense! LOL!!!!!!!!!!!

      October 11, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
  17. Og

    To recap...

    The Vatican is selling a fake gold coin, showing the fake son of a fake god with a fake name?

    October 11, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
  18. NotYoDaddy


    Maybe the entire Bible is one big misprint.

    October 11, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • Og


      October 11, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
  19. Person

    Good thing they're not Indiana Jones; they'd fall through the floor.

    October 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.