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. bear

    would have been hilarious is it was jeebus instead....save me jeebus (gotta be a simpsons fan to get it)

    October 11, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • sam stone

      "i don't pray very often, but if you are up there, save me superman"

      October 11, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
  2. Walter Adams

    A fortuitous error that will make the coin even more valuable? Like stamps with an error? Lust wondering.

    October 11, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
  3. Bill

    Maybe if they had studied their Jatin at bit more...

    October 11, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
  4. HorseWithTooManyNames

    Lysis! Lysis! Lysis! Lysis!
    Lysis! Lysis! Lysis! Lysis!

    Oh, I thought they were talking about General Lysis of Gamilon. 🙁

    October 11, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      I love Star Blazers. There is a live action version that was done in J.apan. Check it out on You tube.

      October 11, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
  5. Rynomite

    OMG! Prayers to Lesus are every bit as effective as prayers to Jesus! Who would have guessed?!

    October 11, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
  6. Lionly Lamb


    October 11, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
  7. Brock

    Lod dammit! With two Popes, no less!

    October 11, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Michealangelo

      Why did you paint three Jesuses??!!

      The fat one balances the two skinny ones!!!

      October 11, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
  8. Toddw

    You don't need to have taken Latin that there is no J....have we all not seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade???? "It's Latin, there is no J! Jehova starts with and I"

    October 11, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      So does IESVS

      October 11, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
  9. Bold Bigflank

    Does no one remember Indiana Jones? The word of god... jehovah. But in the latin alphabet jehovah begins with an I.

    October 11, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • Toddw

      You and I left almost the same comment at exactly the same minute, haha. Your quote is correct to the movie....I tried to remember the best I could, but same Idea!

      October 11, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
  10. Vic

    I am wondering why it is so early in honor of a new pope!

    October 11, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • tweet

      How did you celebrate your FIRST wedding anniversary?

      October 11, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
      • Oscar


        October 11, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • Vic

      Yeah.. but do they do that for every pope? I am thinking along the lines of "Sainthood."

      October 11, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
      • tweet

        Don't know @Vic, not familiar with sainthood and all that...

        I am sure you agree this Pope has made good progress in terms of reaching out to humanity with the love of God , which is commendable!

        October 11, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
        • Vic

          Well, he sure has reached out to the world with goodwill; however, as a Protestant Christian, I believe that the "Love Of God" grants "Salvation" through "Faith" ALONE in Jesus Christ as Lord and personal Savior, and apart from the "Law." That also means that Jesus Christ is the ONLY "Mediator" to God the Father, and that the Papacy is only a Human Doctrine.

          October 11, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
        • tweet

          John 14:6


          October 11, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
        • Vic

          God bless you.


          October 11, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
        • tweet

          As the catholics say: "Peace be with you" and you repeat back to them "And with you".

          God Bless you @Vic
          Peace be with you!

          October 11, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        It's a souvenir for religious tourists in Rome. Yes they do it for every Pope. The surprising thing here is it took them this long.

        October 11, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
        • Ave atque Vale

          Correct. Look here:


          Hurry. Buy now and you get a FREE Vatican postcard!

          October 11, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      Not that much about honoring but marketing $$$$.

      October 11, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
  11. Daddy_2010

    Just another religion bashing.

    October 11, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • Michealangelo

      Well if they wouldn't leave such a myriad of holes in their dogma, it wouldn't be so easy to illustrate who pathetic these pre-Iron Age gods and ideas are.

      October 11, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
  12. Dennis

    Just as a matter of curiosity, I wonder how much one of those uncollected coins will be worth in a hundred years or so...

    October 11, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • asdrel

      I would speculate it would be worth a bundle to collectors, just like US coins with errors, like double strike coins stc. Now would be a great time to get hold of some as an investment. But good luck doing so; I suspect they are not going out where someone could get them any time soon!

      October 11, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
  13. Just the Facts Ma'am...

    So the Vatican quickly recalls the coin with it's digit in the wrong place but can't seem to recall all the priests who keep putting their digits where they don't belong...

    October 11, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • John

      Since they secretly serve Lucifer that's why they put the L. The British Pound , Pound starts with P and should be represented by a P , but it's represented by a £ or L because they serve Lucifer. Go figure.

      October 11, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        The Vatican prints currency for the U.K.? huh?

        October 11, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Chris

      Recalling defective humans is a little more complicated. Maybe we've been praying to Jesus all this time and it should HAVE been Lesus. Might as well pray to lexus or jebus. All currently produce the same result.

      October 11, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
  14. Doc Vestibule

    What's the big deal?
    The Vatican didn't claim to be infallible.
    This isn't an ex-cointhedra minting.

    October 11, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Da-boom (rimshot)

      October 11, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
      • ?

        Jordy, jordy, half of catholics would fvck up the Jords Prayer if they had to say it on their own, Lesus, Lesus!

        October 11, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
  15. RixRR

    Good thing he didn't put a P in there instead of the S as well. They we would have had "Vidit ergo Lepus publicanum"- "The rabbit saw the tax collector."

    October 11, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
  16. Jess

    This is a ridiculous story. They actually spelled his name LESVS, and do you know why? Because there are no Js or Us in Latin. It wasn't a typo, it's just how things are spelled in a different language that most people know nothing about.

    Source: Someone that took two years of Latin and one year of Ancient Literature.

    October 11, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "Latin is a language as dead as dead can be.
      First it killed the Romans and now its killing me."

      – Lament of the Latin Student

      October 11, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • RixRR

      It would have been spelled IESUS. An I, not an L. As in "Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Ivdaorum."

      October 11, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
      • Dennis

        I second that. It was supposed to have been an I.

        October 11, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • PJ

      I'm going to assume you didn't pass those two years, Iessica.

      October 11, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
  17. goddog

    "(It's worth noting that Latin doesn't have a "J," so maybe we should cut the Vatican a bit of slack.)"

    Because they have never spelled the name Jesus in Latin, right? Fail.

    October 11, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • Jess

      Or a U, for that matter. No one seems too upset that the U is a V.

      October 11, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
      • Dennis

        An "L" is incorrect. It should have been "I".

        October 11, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
  18. Vic

    It might very well could have been a "mirror image" of the letter "J" mistake.

    October 11, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • Gol

      It would help if there was a "J" present to compare it to.
      Silly question...is there J's in Catholic Latin?

      October 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Gol

      Nevermind...got my answer.

      October 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Sweeney

      could be..an interesting thought!

      October 11, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
  19. Cristeros for Satan

    Praise Lesus!

    October 11, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      From your handle, I thought you would have said 'praise Jucifer'

      October 11, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
      • Cristeros for Satan

        lol Master of Juicing

        October 11, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
  20. michel germain

    Come to think of it, CNN should also think of hiring an infallible copy editor: it's SEQUERE, not SEQURE

    October 11, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • Ave atque Vale

      Yes, and they blew the "atque" as "antque" too. Several other news reports have messed up the "atque" too, so they probably picked it up from one of them - just one example of how "scribal errors" perpetuate and even become believed.

      October 11, 2013 at 2:27 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.