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. NOTA

    It was supposed to read Lexus. They are sponsored by Toyota now. Got to pay for those law suits somehow.

    October 11, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
  2. Zoo Keeper

    Daniel Burke knows how to pick story material. What a maroon.

    October 11, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
    • CNN Belief Blog Co-EditorCNN

      I think I'm really more of a crimson.

      October 12, 2013 at 11:56 am |
  3. Observer

    My bad.... truth always brings out the worst in me. Two Truths and I really spaz.

    October 11, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • Observer

      Keep it up, faith/hharri, etc.

      God must be really impressed with someone who LIES about who they are. If you ACTUALLY were a Christian, you'd try to be HONEST.

      October 11, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
      • Observer

        Of course there is no honesty in any alias nor can one own a nick name sorry about that ... I lose

        October 11, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
      • Observer


        You are using my name and claiming to be me.

        God hates LIARS, but apparently you don't believe in God either.

        October 11, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
      • Observer

        Mom named me observer at birth. She couldn't spell Sam

        October 11, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
      • Observer

        faith/hharri/MAX, etc.

        I am only an agnostic, but your complete disregard for God hating liars show you must be an atheist.

        Lady Gaga is an alias. Go around claiming you are Lady Gaga and see how far that goes.

        October 11, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
  4. Observer

    (Gen. 7:21) “And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, domestic animals, wild animals, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and ALL HUMAN BEINGS”

    Tough luck, kids.

    Tough luck to other living things, too.

    October 11, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
  5. Angela

    Looks like the Vatican is not the only one that makes Latin spelling mistakes: I count no less than three spelling mistakes in your Latin quote from the coin – and that without counting the misspelled "Lesus." Glad to see the Vatican makes LESS mistakes than CNN.

    October 11, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • Steve

      Dear know-it-all: the English term is "fewer," nit "less."

      October 11, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
  6. Mark

    The typo was much more severe. Actual text was supposed to be "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn."

    October 11, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
  7. rad666

    Lesus was just as real as Jesus. What's the big deal?

    October 11, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • Jimi

      But everyone knows Lesus is a girl's name

      October 11, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
  8. Bootyfunk

    wow, this guy sounds as crazy as christians who preach about christianity sweeping the globe...
    peas in a pod.

    October 11, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
  9. JenPop

    Daniel Burke, you fool!! You wrote an article about the Vatican misspelling one word in Latin and YOU had THREE other Latin spelling mistakes in your re-typing of the phrase: Vidit ergo Lesus publicanum ey (supposed to be ET) quia miserando antque (supposed to be ATQUE) eligendo vidit, ait illi sequre (supposed to be SEQUERE) me.

    Your copy editor is an idiot, too.

    October 11, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • Mary

      Thanks JenPop! I thiought that was pretty bad too.

      October 11, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
      • Mary

        And I needed to get rid of my own typo: I thought

        October 11, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • CNN Belief Blog Co-EditorCNN

      Good catches, JenPop. We've made the fixes.

      October 12, 2013 at 11:56 am |
  10. Bandofotters

    Hey CNN, commemorative medels are not legal tender. In short, they are not coins.

    October 11, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • facepalm

      We accept cash, credit card and gold COINS!

      Oh, wait, Gold coins are "coins" but not legal tender, duh!

      October 11, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
  11. Jordan

    Well this was the will of god.
    Perhaps we has it wrong all the time...

    October 11, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
  12. Lionly Lamb


    October 11, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
  13. Reality # 2

    For the Jove of Lesus, one finds the following not so glowing summary:

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion and said coins are of no value to anyone with or without Lesus or Jesus.

    October 11, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • Hey, you

      Do shut up, you freaking bore. Doesn't matter how many little numbers you put behing your name, you are booooooring.

      October 11, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
      • ed dugan

        Hey you, does the truth really hurt THAT much? Religion is a farce, the Vatican is a cesspool of financial corruption and the catholic church is a haven for pedophiles. Lesus would not be happy if he returned today.

        October 11, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
  14. Hey, you

    I'd be holding on to the coin if I had one. It can be worth mega coinage in the future. Perhaps to that Las Vegas Museum? $$$

    October 11, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
  15. Jimi

    Lesus luckin' Chlist!

    October 11, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Jesus

      I sprayed dinner laughing at that one

      October 11, 2013 at 11:44 pm |
  16. mark

    Apparently CNN needs a copy editor as well... as they misspelled the Latin word "et" as "ey". Although, it is much easier to correct a webpage than a coin/medal that has been "cast". 🙂

    October 11, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • China Mike

      I notice typos on major news websites all the time. I am surprised that there is no secondary editing done online these days. I worked as an editor for a major Chinese educational book publisher in mainland China. I checked the written English work of 16 Chinese writers. I also checked the written English work of the asst. chief editor and the chief editor. They in turned checked my work. When you are an editor, you ALWAYS have your worked double checked; it's the norm. Why? Because, we know in our head what we wrote, so our eyes tend to drift over misspells and improper word usage ("they're" instead of "their", "its" instead of "it's" and so on). It is shameful how the integrity of these news agencies like CNN, Fox, NBC, and others fail on this problem on a daily basis.

      October 11, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
      • Vic

        "They, in turn, checked my work."

        "you ALWAYS have your work double checked;"

        October 11, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
      • Ladervijd

        if a web-site as this turns a profit itself (with or without counting "self-advertisment" for other things, in this case the TV channel), especially then of course would seem nice. Tho e.g. myself i am not a paying customer in sense that i would have a premium account or so.

        October 11, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
  17. Agnes Nostic

    Oh for the love of Friste! Are you kidding me?

    October 11, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
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About this blog

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.