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. Lavier

    Where is Dippy when you need him?

    October 12, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
  2. Bill

    It should say "Iesus". Latin has no "j", so "i" is used with their spelling of Jesus.

    October 12, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
  3. Jake

    It was supposed to say "Jesus," right?

    October 12, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • B33tle

      No, it was supposed to say "Iesus". With a capital "I".

      October 12, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
      • Pahana

        Not quite. It should say "IESVS". Classical Latin also did not have a "U", and the alphabet did not have lower case letters.

        October 13, 2013 at 1:50 am |
        • 99

          Maybe it should have been Isis with a capital "I"

          October 13, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
  4. Sanity

    “We are fond of talking about 'liberty'; but the way we end up actually talking of it is an attempt to avoid discussing what is 'good.' We are fond of talking about 'progress'; that is a dodge to avoid discussing what is good. We are fond of talking about 'education'; that is a dodge to avoid discussing what is good.

    The modern man says, 'Let us leave all these arbitrary standards and embrace unadulterated liberty.' This is, logically rendered, 'Let us not decide what is good, but let it be considered good not to decide it.'

    He says, 'Away with your old moral standard; I am for progress.' This, logically stated, means, 'Let us not settle what is good; but let us settle whether we are getting more of it.'

    He says, 'Neither in religion nor morality, my friend, lie the hopes of the race, but in education.' This, clearly expressed, means, 'We cannot decide what is good, but let us give it to our children.”
    ― G.K. Chesterton, Heretics

    October 12, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
  5. Dave

    The L is a backwards J. Obviously meant to be a satanic perversion of Jesus name.

    October 12, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • Nathaniel

      by L-ucifer's own hand, no doubt.

      October 12, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
      • John Tucker


        October 12, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
  6. alex

    That is a very common mistake, people confuse capital i with L when the next letter is a vowel. For example, half of the world is misspelling most popular Finnish traditional song "Ievan polka" (the capitalized "ievan polka") as "Levan polka".

    October 12, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
  7. JayT

    Considering that the entire phrase is in Latin... and that the nominative name for Jesus IN LATIN is "Lesus" I'm not sure why this is even a "mistake" much less a newsworthy one.

    October 12, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • Realist

      the only mistake I can see is the catholic church,, all witchcraft.

      October 12, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  8. Harold

    There is NO letter J nor J sound in the Hebrew ,Greek ,or Latin Alphabet. In the King( J)ames Bible of 1611, ALL of the references to( J) are spelled with an capital Letter " i " ( I used the lower case intentionally). The J ultimately comes from the Alphabet Y. "Ye-Sous " which means Healing-Zeus. Although this Spiritual Being known as the Christ did live 2000 years ago, his name's or (character's) defamation is congruent with history's attempts to distort the truth based upon the actual events.

    October 12, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
  9. Sanity

    At least the Church teaches that we are all broken and need to be repaired and gives us the vision/orthodoxy to help. “Progress should mean that we are always changing the world to fit the vision, instead we are always changing the vision.” – Orthodoxy, 1908

    October 12, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • Realist

      Actually our brains are wired for success, from birth. It's what happens during childhood which changes that.

      Makes clergy abuse and the worst crime of cover ups even more evil than it already is.

      October 12, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
  10. Reality # 2

    o Think infinity and recycling with the Big Bang expansion followed by the shrinking reversal called the Gib Gnab and recycling back to the Big Bang repeating the process on and on forever. Human life and Earth are simply a minute part of this cha-otic, sto-cha-stic, expanding, shrinking process disappearing in five billion years with the burn out of the Sun and maybe returning in another five billion years with different life forms but still subject to the va-ga-ries of its local star.

    October 12, 2013 at 11:46 am |
  11. Reality # 2

    If Francis is this "new age", for the common-man pope, why did he allow these tourist trinkets to be made?

    October 12, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • Realist

      Why did he contribute to the cover ups of child abuse and continues to do so? He's as filthy as the rest of the popes, cardinals and bishops.

      October 12, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
      • Reality # 2

        FEAR, SHAME and GUILT and COVER IT ALL UP, a standard response across the board with the "walking with god clerics" now forever walking with the common man–

        Obviously ordination in any religion is not assurance of good behavior !!!!!

        Neither is coronation!!! e.g. Henry VIII, King David.

        Neither is marriage as 50% of those men convicted of pedophilia are married.

        Neither is being elected president of the USA!! e.g. Billy "I did not have se-x with that girl" Clinton, John "Marilyn Monroe" Kennedy".

        Neither is possessing super athletic skill!!! e.g. Tiger "I am so sorry for getting caught" Woods.

        Neither is being an atheist or pagan or football coach since pedophilia is present in all walks of life.

        If someone is guilty of a crime in this litany of "neithers" they should or should have been penalized as the law dictates to include jail terms for pedophiliacs (priests, rabbis, evangelicals, boy scout leaders, married men/women, football coaches), divorce for adultery (Clinton, Kennedy, Woods), jail terms for obstruction of justice (Paterno et al, Clinton, Cardinal Law) or child endangerment (Paterno in abstentia, Sandusky et al, Lynn) and the death penalty or life in prison for murder ("Kings David and Henry VIII).

        October 12, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
  12. Dave A

    in an article condescending someone for mistyping a letter– you should really be careful NOT to mistype letters in that same article. Check-out the fourth paragraph: Vidit ergo Lesus publicanum _ey_ quia miserando antque eligendo vidit, ait illi sequre me.

    October 12, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Realist

      If it's catholic, it's a cult.

      October 12, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
  13. Apotropoxy

    It was no misspelling. The coin is a tribute to Jesus' best friend, Lesus. He was the guy who paid the bill for the Last Supper.

    October 12, 2013 at 10:33 am |
  14. kim anderson

    this humble pope, Francis, who loves and teaches God's acceptance of things exactly as they are, must have gotten one giant "Jaugh" behind the closed doors of his humble quarters!

    October 12, 2013 at 10:22 am |
  15. Bill Senior

    It's no doubt that an organization that does't even know Jesus to begin with would misspell His Holy Name!

    October 12, 2013 at 9:09 am |
    • agreed

      sad that jesus had a psychological disorder and there was no help for those as him back then

      October 12, 2013 at 9:11 am |
      • Rett

        And you base this on what? Are you a psychologist or do you play on eon the internet?

        October 12, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
  16. Mike

    Is this a misspelling? Wikipedia lists the nominative form "Lesus" as the latin for Jesus. And Wikipedia is infallible.

    October 12, 2013 at 8:43 am |
    • Bill Senior

      They didn't spell it "Lesous", they misspelled it Lesus. Don't try to talk their way out of it for them unless you feel that they are already trying to talk their way out of enough as it is.

      October 12, 2013 at 9:27 am |
  17. agreed

    let's see.. call a small child a sinner. Tell the child about painful third degree burns from hell with your skin melting away, monsters in that hell and you have the beginning for child abuse <– brainwashing

    October 12, 2013 at 8:38 am |
    • agreed

      oops, forgtot.. and make sure you have pictures and statues of a dead guy on a cross with blood all over him..

      Christians are as disgusting as muslims

      October 12, 2013 at 9:12 am |
  18. agreed

    "Catholics do go to a dumpster for their religion. Keep ignoring the children with difficult lives due to the cover ups, rather than helping.. Make sure you call them liars too. Yeah, get them good, like pouring vinegar into open wounds. . Make sure you tell everyone that others did it too, so this way you don't need to set the example on helping."

    October 12, 2013 at 8:35 am |
  19. yoo

    one thing known for most definite.. jesus died and rotted on the cross until there were nothing left but bones. The christian fables written by the catholic church were no doubt, fables.

    Pilot absolutely denied any jew a burial. Pilot demanded jews stayed on the cross, even after there were nothing but bones.

    Catholics and christians got caught on their jesus resurrection lie, BIG TIME.

    October 12, 2013 at 8:34 am |
    • Jamist

      Another thing known "for sure" – Pilot didn't do much of anything in the Bible. It wasn't until much later when they started selling fountain pens that they made a name for themselves.

      If you're going to cook up pseudo-history, at least have the courtesy to get the spelling right. Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor at the time. And if you'd bothered to actually read the New Testament, you'd know that. Just like you'd know that Jesus' friends and family approached PILATE (not Pilot) to get permission to bury him.

      October 12, 2013 at 11:31 am |
      • Realist

        Actually, yoo is right on. Historical facts state that Pontius Pilate demanded Jews remain on the cross until there were nothing but bones left. Burial of a Jew was forbidden. The law.

        Makes another silly Jesus New Test..story wrong, as usual.

        October 12, 2013 at 12:23 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.