Vatican Protects Pope Francis’ Image: Can’t Be Seen Endorsing Whisky – Come again? Is this a wind-up?

Vatican Protects Pope Francis’ Image: Can’t Be Seen Endorsing Whisky – Come again? Is this a wind-up?

Pope Francis guffawed with laughter at his own joke – whisky is the real holy water

From the Daily Record… 

Footage of Pope Francis holding up a bottle of Scotch and proclaiming it “the real water of life” was censored by the Vatican ahead of a new documentary about seminarians at the Scots College in Rome.

The footage featured the Holy Father accepting a bottle of Oban malt from a group of Scottish student priests at a reception at the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace last year.

But Vatican media insisted Il Papa’s quip was cut from the film – narrated by Daniela Nardini – before broadcast this Sunday.

Director Tony Kearney, whose Solus Productions made the one-hour documentary Priest School, followed the Scots seminarians over 18 months in 2018 and 2019.

He said: “We filmed the students meeting with the Pope in the Apostolic Palace. One of them was tasked with giving the Pope a bottle of malt, because they know he likes whisky.

“He was really down to earth with them all and when they handed him the bottle, instead of just handing it to his assistant as he normally would with a gift, he held it up and said ‘Questa e la vera acqua santa’, which means ‘This is the real holy water.’

“He guffawed with laughter and it was a real ice-breaker with the students and put everyone at ease.

“But we’d agreed that the Vatican’s media office would be allowed to approve all of our footage before we broadcast it. So we sent them the files and when they sent it back, that bit of him saying that was cut out.

“We were really annoyed at first, but they insisted they didn’t want the Pope to be seen to be endorsing whisky. I think it’s quite funny how guarded his image is.


It’s interesting that the Vatican acted swiftly to protect the Pope’s “image” on this occasion when a loud silence followed his assurances to atheists that they would be saved no matter what, no need even to believe in God let alone become a Catholic, and silent, too, on the confusion caused by Amoris Laetitia and the Pope’s endorsement of those living in adulterous unions receiving Holy Communion.  Then there’s the whole pagan worship scandal within the Vatican itself.  How did that go with the papal “image”?  These are just the first examples which spring to mind of a Pope whose “image” is the least of his worries.  It’s his lack of divine and Catholic Faith which really matters and he’s proven himself to be short of that, big time.  And that is definitely nothing to laugh about.  You’re welcome to share your shock thoughts about this Pope’s “image” – robustly if you please, but within our House Rules 😀      Source

Comments (45)

  • Josephine

    That’s ridiculous. I know it may be a bit irreverent but a joke like that is not going to damage Pope Francis’ image – and his image is not important anyway, it’s the office of the papacy that is important but he’s shown nothing but contempt for that.

    It says something about the students at the college as well that they would think of giving him whisky for a gift instead of something pious like a large sized miraculous medal, for example. He could definitely use one of those, LOL!

    April 16, 2020 at 1:25 pm
    • editor


      Your second paragraph suggests you don’t know a lot about the Scots College in Rome, so I will say no more, for now!

      April 16, 2020 at 4:05 pm
  • Lily

    LOL! What a scream! I think what the Vatican were really worried about was him seeming to endorse holy water !

    April 16, 2020 at 1:46 pm
    • editor


      That’s priceless. Absolutely priceless!

      April 16, 2020 at 4:07 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    The Vatican would have done a better job protecting the pope’s image by stopping his bizarre chit chats with the likes of Eugenio Scalfari. As Ed would say…gimmestrength!

    April 16, 2020 at 2:22 pm
    • editor


      Well said – there are so many occasions of scandal where the Vatican spokesman should have spoken out to try to undo the damage caused by Francis’ statements, non-statements and behaviour This one is, arguably at least, way down the scale of concern.

      April 16, 2020 at 4:09 pm
  • RCAVictor


    I had to laugh when I saw that one of your tags for this thread was “Whisky”!

    I think there are two ways to look at this censorship: one, the image this Pope constantly cultivates for himself of humility, compassion for the poor and downtrodden, concern for the environment, the Chief Medical Officer of a field hospital, etc. etc. ad nauseam is just a slick PR package having nothing to do with reality. Reality, in his case, is much closer to “The Dictator Pope.” Or perhaps he should also be called “The PR Pope.” Or…”The Tippling Pope”?

    Two, the mere fact that a Pope has an “image,” and the staff to cultivate it, is a telling sign of the devastating profanation of the Church and of the Papacy, and of the complete surrender of same to Madison Avenue – i.e. the world. And to a particularly nasty, anti-Catholic corner of the world, to boot: the United Nations.

    The only “image” of a Pope we should be registering is of one doing his job faithfully – and that, with dignity, reverence and solemnity. Not sound bytes, not photo ops, not demagoguery, not irrational rants and harangues, not flattering videos…

    …and most definitely, not sporting red clown noses and taco-mamma feathers.

    April 16, 2020 at 3:14 pm
    • editor

      RCA Victor,

      I agree completely – the whole idea of a pope having to cultivate an “image” for himself runs totally counter to elementary Christian teaching on [true] humility.

      It’s obvious that he’s never read the lives of any of the great pope saints, such as Pius X. Or if he has read any, the details have not registered with him.

      April 16, 2020 at 4:12 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    I remember hearing a story about John XXIII due to his nocturnal wanderings around Rome he became known as ‘Johnnie Walker’.

    April 16, 2020 at 3:57 pm
    • editor



      April 17, 2020 at 1:17 am
  • Helen

    Editor, what’s wrong with the Scots College in Rome?

    April 16, 2020 at 4:33 pm
  • Deacon Augustine

    I am absolutely appalled that anybody could waste a decent bottle of Scotch like that!

    April 16, 2020 at 9:42 pm
    • catholicconvert1

      Whisky is the most repellent drink going and I am at a loss as to how anyone could enjoy it. It smells and tastes foul.

      April 16, 2020 at 9:53 pm
    • Athanasius

      I’ve always seen Pope Francis as more of a Buckfast man myself, on the grounds of its religious association of course.

      April 16, 2020 at 9:54 pm
      • RCAVictor


        I had to look that up since I’d never heard of it…and then laughed out loud at your inference when I found this:

        “Despite being marketed as a tonic, Buckfast has become notorious in some parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland for its association with the loutish ned culture and antisocial behaviour.”

        April 16, 2020 at 10:32 pm
      • Athanasius

        RCA Victor

        Yes, I wrote that tongue in cheek knowing the background.

        April 16, 2020 at 11:58 pm
      • editor

        RCA Victor,

        The police used to (probably still do) call Buckfast wine “Wreck the Hoose Juice” (tr. wreck the house juice) because they were called out to so many fights in homes where the inmates had been drinking Buckfast.

        I laughed heartily the first time I heard an officer of the law reveal that on a radio phone-in programme. Priceless!

        April 17, 2020 at 12:57 am
    • editor

      Deacon Augustine,

      On the other hand, maybe Papa Francis will be able to walk in the Light of the Lord a tad more faithfully, after imbibing a few “wee halfs” as the menfolk say up here. Anything’s worth a try, surely.

      Here’s a local parishioner after a drop of the hard stuff… It really and truly does work 😀

      April 17, 2020 at 12:53 am
      • RCAVictor


        That’s what I look like trying to walk during an earthquake….

        April 17, 2020 at 12:58 am
      • Deacon Augustine


        LOL. Seems to be the wrong time of day for “First footing” too!

        April 17, 2020 at 4:16 pm
  • RCAVictor

    Maybe they should re-name it “Scotch” College…

    April 16, 2020 at 9:59 pm
    • Margaret USA

      The first and last time I had Scotch was on my brother’s 21st birthday. Let me put it this way: I love the Scots (especially those on this thread) but honestly, Scotch (i.e. alcohol) doesn’t agree with me.

      Now my brother likes it, and he even brought home some for +Dad when he came home from his trip to the UK in 2003-2004 (which of course was the first thing consumed).

      To each his own… 🎶

      April 17, 2020 at 12:01 am
      • Athanasius

        Margaret USA

        Here in Scotland it’s called “the amber nectar”, but like you I can’t stomach the stuff. But then I can’t really tolerate anything more alcoholic than a wine gum, and even that gets me a bit unsteady on the feet.

        April 17, 2020 at 12:28 am
      • Margaret USA

        My alcoholic consumption is Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and Easter. When +Mom was living, she’d make a nice dinner once in a while and then have a glass of wine. So 1 bottle lasted us for a year. And I have 2 bottles left … 😉

        April 17, 2020 at 1:02 am
      • editor

        Margaret USA,

        My drink of choice is anything “soft” except Coca Cola which I allowed myself to become convinced is bad for the teeth. Not so chocolate. It’s bad for the teeth but I’m not convinced 😀

        April 17, 2020 at 1:05 am
      • RCAVictor


        There’s a lot of research data on the effects of chocolate on teeth – if you ever want to sink your teeth into it…..

        April 17, 2020 at 1:11 am
      • Margaret USA

        Dear Madame Editor,

        I saw this and immediately thought of you:

        A happy Bright Friday to everyone!

        April 17, 2020 at 9:13 pm
      • editor

        Margaret USA,

        No wonder Pope Francis didn’t look too happy when he was photographed with Donald Trump – seems he’s the only visitor who didn’t present him with a bottle of whisky – despite boasting about having a Scots mother!

        “Bright Friday”? I’m only just getting used to “Black Friday”!

        April 17, 2020 at 9:57 pm
      • Margaret USA

        Christ is Risen!

        In the Byzantine Tradition (Catholic and non-Catholic), the entire week after Pascha (Easter) is called “Bright Week”. The newly-baptized would wear their white baptismal robes during the entire week. A vestige of this was the secular custom of wearing white from Easter to Labor Day (the first Monday in September, a U.S. holiday).

        And Bright Friday is one of the few Fridays during the year on which we are allowed to eat meat. (That does NOT apply to RCs!)

        Sending you and the entire CT family (virtual) hugs.

        Christ is risen from the dead, conquering death by death, and to those in the tombs bestowing life.

        Paschal Troparion

        Margaret 🇺🇸

        April 18, 2020 at 12:46 am
      • editor


        I believe the camera captured you shopping for your last stock of wine gums – I won’t report you for buying non-essential items … this time 😀

        April 17, 2020 at 1:10 am
      • RCAVictor


        And here I thought this was Athanasius was working on his break-dancing skills….

        April 17, 2020 at 1:13 am
      • Athanasius

        That was actually before consumption of the wine gums, I hadn’t had my chocolate fix.

        April 17, 2020 at 3:55 am
      • RCAVictor

        Margaret USA,

        I’m with you: I can’t tolerate any form of alcohol (OK, except for rubbing alcohol…), whether it be wine or the hard stuff or after-dinner liqueur. It either makes me sleepy, or dizzy, or gives me a headache – or some combination thereof, or all three. And I’m mostly Italian, no less.

        I must have been off singing from some balcony when they passed out the Italian taste-buds.

        April 17, 2020 at 1:04 am
      • Margaret USA

        Seriously, my drink of choice would be wine (at least semi-sweet) if I didn’t take medication.

        April 17, 2020 at 9:15 pm
    • editor

      RCA Victor,

      Love it!

      PS – I meant I loved your suggestion about renaming the Scots College, the “Scotch College” but I extend that affection to your earthquake comment!

      I should add, too, that – unfortunately – there are those south of the border and, dare I say, across The Pond, who think we are all “Scotch” if we hail from Scotland. In fact, the people are “Scots”, the whisky is “Scotch” and everything else (I think I’m correct in saying) is “Scottish” – or as some annoying folk tend to say “Scorrish” – but it’s Scots who replace the “ts” with “rs”, inexplicable but you find even top politicians doing that. No names, no pack drill. Not ’till the police are back catching murderers and thieves, at least 😀

      April 17, 2020 at 12:54 am
      • RCAVictor


        So uh….did one of you Scots invent Scotch Tape? Or, as Buzz Lightyear once called it, “Uni-directional Bonding Strip.”

        April 17, 2020 at 1:08 am
      • editor

        RCA Victor,

        Did we? I didn’t know that. All I know about Scotch Tape is that if I were planning a kidnap, it’s the last stuff I would use to silence my victim, because I’d end up wrapped in it myself – just like at Christmas when I’m wrapping presents! Terrible stuff!

        April 17, 2020 at 1:16 am
  • Prognosticum

    Josephine basically said it all in the first post on this thread.

    Concerning Pope Francis’s image, I think that we can all rest easy. The International Mainstream Mass Media have the matter well in hand. Nothing will be allowed to tarnish it until they are good and ready, which may turn out to be after his death.

    As to the, in my opinion, barbarous idea of gifting whisky to the Holy Father, well, in any setting there is usually at least one clown who can be counted upon to lower the tone. When the setting is a house of priestly formation, such as those are fortunate if they have superiors who, being more civilised, better educated and more refined than they are, do not flinch from calling a spade a spade and kicking silly ideas into the rough. (Formation, after all, is neither incensation nor grovelling in the face of the prevailing consensus.) If, on the other hand, their superiors are pretty much from the same mould as they are, then God help the poor parish that one day is to receive them.

    All of the elements in this sorry tale point to a Church that has lost its way and is grappling to find a shred of relevance. It is hard not to compare it to a spent swimmer struggling desperately not to go under in a sea of almost total indifference. But it will not be a BBC documentary, however supposedly benign, to confer relevance, nor seminarians clowning at a Papal audience full in the knowledge that the television cameras are rolling. (How utterly and pathetically passé!)

    No, the world cannot confer relevance on the Church (cf. the Anglican Communion). The Church’s relevance can only come from one source and one source only: Christ. Until we face up to this basic fact, we will continue to stare oblivion in the face.

    April 17, 2020 at 12:42 pm
    • Athanasius


      Very profound and so true!

      April 17, 2020 at 1:50 pm
  • gabriel syme

    The combination of Francis and Whisky could possibly go a long way to explaining some of the episodes of his Pontificate so far.

    April 21, 2020 at 11:10 pm
    • editor

      Gabriel Syme

      Well said! Talk about “the obvious” – why didn’t I think of that? (say nothing!)

      April 25, 2020 at 4:56 pm

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