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. Reality # 2

    A gentle judge judges justly now becomes " a gentle ludge ludges lustly".

    James jostled Jean while Jean jostled Joan or " Lames lostled Lean while Lean lostled Loan


    October 14, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
  2. Michael

    Du u tink Spelling mtarers r u so dumm yuu cnat raed this.

    October 14, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • Thinker...

      You made a mistake: spelling was spelled correctly. It was grammatically wrong though (capital S) so you get points there.

      October 14, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • Observer

      Poor spelling can be an indication of a lack of education.

      October 14, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
      • Grammer troll

        It could also indicate dyslexia, anxiety, stress, visual problems or a hurried state. The truly important thing is that we all ignore the poster's points and point out all the grammar and syntax errors as viciously as possible.

        October 14, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
        • Grammer troll

          Oops Grammar...I'm off to flog myself with a cat o nine tails be back shortly. 😉

          October 14, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
        • Heh

          I generally only point out errors to posters I like – I want them to look good. The rest can swing in the wind...

          October 14, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
  3. Darrell

    maybe it's more a message about, "less us" and "more Him"

    October 14, 2013 at 4:00 am |
    • maria

      Yes....In Latin diphthongs are usually contracted. Laesus is then possibly read lesus and it means:

      laesus m (feminine laesa, neuter laesum); first/second declension
      1. hurt
      2. offended
      3. thwarted
      4. betrayed
      First/second declension

      October 14, 2013 at 10:54 am |
  4. AtheistHuman

    Why would you put the gardeners name on a coin??

    October 13, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • 99

      You have a gardener?

      October 13, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
  5. retiredmike

    Yes, it is a spelling error. The correct spelling is Lexus for luxury driving.

    October 13, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • Bob


      October 13, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
  6. Burgermeister

    Someone's never seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

    October 13, 2013 at 8:19 am |
  7. Realist

    autism, you mean.

    October 13, 2013 at 7:39 am |
  8. Realist

    also noticed the word pedophile is spelled differently when speaking of the disorder, paedophilia

    These spellings must offend the pope, bishops and cards. They want to be called pedos

    October 13, 2013 at 7:37 am |
    • Rob

      So what do all the atheist pedos like to be called?

      October 13, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
      • Cleetus Alreetus Alrightus


        October 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
  9. S1N

    That's fine. Jebus isn't real, so it won't mind.

    October 13, 2013 at 1:21 am |
  10. Chris

    'Head fake to defer attention away from the shenanigans at the Vatican bank...."pay no attention to the man with the bags of cash under his robes"

    October 12, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
  11. blablablaaaaaaaaa

    The next Pope will be Pope Lesus the Mol.ester IV. Amen!

    October 12, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
  12. ExperiencedOptimist

    It's an encrypted message from the Knights Templar.

    October 12, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
  13. Bryan


    October 12, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
  14. Jeffmcc

    Haha they are probably serious about this as they don't follow the Bible anyways...

    October 12, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
  15. BillFl9

    Oh! LESUS PHRIST!!! How could they do something like that?

    October 12, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    "Lesus" means "Jesus" in latin

    October 12, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • Chuck

      No ... "Jesus" in Latin is "Iesvs" with a capital "i".

      October 12, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
  17. easchner

    That's hijarious.

    October 12, 2013 at 4:17 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.