Lesus Christ, Our Lord and Lavior

If Catholics were to pray to Lesus Christ tonight, the Vatican ought to be forgiving: it first minted and then destroyed 6,000 papal medals with a Latin phrase that mangles the name of the savior, according to Spiegel Online. I guess it’s an easy mistake to make if you continue to conduct official church affairs in a dead language.

In Latin, the phrase should have read: “Vidit ergo Jesus publicanum et quia miserando antque eligendo vidit, ait illi sequere me” — or “Jesus therefore sees the tax collector, and since he sees by having mercy and by choosing, he says to him, follow me.”

In my native Dutch, it’s even funnier, as Lesus, phonetically, means “Read this” — and we now know that reading (or, at least, proofreading) isn’t the Vatican’s strong suit.

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.

  • momtarkle

    Leaveus, Christ…….please.

  • Alan E.

    The best part of my day was when my alarm turned on NPR at 5:30am and this was the very first story.

    My husband and I were going to go as a married lesbian same-sex couple with a kid (you know, we strike fear in the hearts of the religious right), but now I’m going to one-up that and go as a Lesuit Priest.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      For Halloween, you mean?

      • Alan E.

        Yes for halloween. Should have added that in there.

    • Itarion

      You could go as (former) Lesuit Priests in a loving and stable marriage.

      I mean, there have to be a half dozen ways to mix these things humorously.

  • JohnnieCanuck

    I always used to wonder about that part in the ceremony where we would always address Our Heavenly Father and ask Him to Lebus not into temptation.

    • Itarion

      You know, split infinitives are technically bad English, but asking someone “to lead us not” just sounds so stilted compared to asking them “to not lead us”.

      • C Peterson

        Split infinitives aren’t even technically bad English. They are entirely acceptable, and often preferred (as you note, the alternative can be pretty ugly). The myth of the split infinitive as unacceptable English was created by a small group of linguists who tried to structure English grammar after Latin… a language in which there’s no such thing as a split infinitive.

        • Itarion

          In that case, I will use them boldly, often, and without fear. You have freed me this day.

          Also, I have no idea how I picked up “split infinitive bad.” I blame my freshman English teacher, but only cause I didn’t like her, or think highly of her educational expertise.

          • Ron

            “And all dared to brave unknown terrors, to do mighty deeds, to boldly split infinitives that no man had split before―and thus was the Empire forged.”

            ― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

            • Itarion

              Don’t panic; I have a towel.

            • Matt D

              Lol, I recall that phrase from the T.V series, which although it had cheesy effects, was highly enteraining.

  • Amy

    The letter “J” is not in Latin. Though the L is still incorrect it should have been an “I”. Julius Caesar was actually Iullius for example.

    • Brian Westley

      IVLLIVS, because U->V also

      IESVS had the uppercase I mistaken for a lowercase l

      • Michael

        There are a few Latin dialects. Trust me, I have a GCSE in this stuff (actually probably my most useful one – it’s amazing how much tech jargon makes sense if you read Latin)

        Anyway, if they use a J or pronounce a C like it’s not a K then they’re using a barbaric knock-off of pure Latin and therefore posing.

        • Artor

          Church Latin is a far cry from Classical Latin, or any other living variety, like Romanshe. Likewise, I snicker at pagans who try to use Gaelic as a liturgical language, but massacre basic words like Samhain, deosil, or pronouncing Celt as if it referred to the basketball team.

      • Rilian Sharp

        U only becomes V when it’s making the w sound, ie when it’s being a semi-vowel or consonant. If it’s a vowel, then it’s written as a U, as in Marcus, cur, ubi. At least that’s how it is in my Latin book.

    • David McNerney

      Oooh! Someone’s been watching Indiana Jones.

      • Artor

        Or has a basic understanding of Latin. I already knew all this well before that movie came out. You’d think the guys at the Vatican would know their Latin better.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Joey will soon be on the case to interrogate you as to your REAL reasons for posting humorous trivia.

  • Ron

    Vatican officials later reassured followers that this was merely a copyist error. The original dies — now lost — were totally inerrant.

  • milesaway

    Lesus 2000: For all your 2000 parts.

    • b s

      Except for the naughty ones

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    What is the function of this papal medal? Is it a souvenir that tourists pilgrims pick up at the Vatican Gift Shoppe, or a prize for which you send in six box tops of Euchacrispies breakfast cereal, or what? If any of those 6,000 goofed medallions escaped destruction, would they be worth a lot of money to a collector of Catholic blundernalia?

    • Mr. Pantaloons

      According to HuffPo, four of them were sold before the mistake was caught. I imagine these will basically become something of a Holy Grail of people who enjoy highlighting the mistakes of the church.

      • Len

        “mistakes of the church”. They’ll be really hard to find then.

  • Mr. Pantaloons

    One more piece of proof that the Church has been thinking of the wrong guy this whole time.

  • momtarkle

    Who you callin’ bearded?

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Poor raging angrums. Your world is so small and petty. Just a monitor-lit basement and a set of stairs to scream up for more Hot Pockets. I hope they at least dissolve your Flintstones vitamins for you instead of making you do all the chewing your own wittle self.

    • Ron

      Angrums? or engrams?

      But Steve turned and said unto Terry, “Get thee behind me, Thetan!

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        I had to refresh my memory on Scientology, but “engrams” does seem appropriate also and god I cannot think of any witticisms while staring at that adorable freaking bear icon.

  • b s

    Welease Wodger!

    • # zbowman

      ^Made my day.

  • http://nomadwarriormonk.blogspot.com/ Cyrus Palmer

    Oh yeah! I almost forgot about this troll, his strange insults and misplaced rage. I didn’t miss him, I must say.

  • Sneezeguard

    Jevon wears his war wound like a crown.
    He calls his child Lesus.
    ‘Cause he likes the name.
    And he’s got untreated dyslexia.

  • Robster

    Jees, I’d have thought that an almighty being of some sort would at least have been able to offer a spellchecker like Windows to his mortal workforce. What a waste of bronze, mind you, they’re still living in the Bronze age so maybe they’ll recycle it into something of value for pope Frank to drink out of or even an ark, like in the Indiana Jones movie where all the bad guys sort of melt into a thick goo. If they do it properly the Vatican may melt onto a thick goo too along with Frank and his bus.

    • John


  • Mitch

    I’d try to respond to the point made in your comment, but let’s be real, there is none. Keep the nonsensical crap on pop culture youtube videos, k pumpkin?

  • Birchy

    Lesus and Jazurus! You two crack me up.. . Quit fooling around will you?

  • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

    The butthurt is strong in this one..

  • Michael Harrison

    I feel that going after a misprint is kind of picking the low-hanging fruit.

    • momtarkle

      As a fruit grower, I gotta tell you that the low hangers are usually the biggest and most enjoyable. This fruit was, I would imagine, examined by church people who should have caught the error. Loosen it up, Michael, and enjoy the humor.

      • Michael Harrison

        Oh, I have no problem with mocking the Church. It’s just that this is something any organization could screw up on, and if anything, I want to see the RCC encouraged more often to admit that it is a human organization.

        And uptight is kind of my schtick.

        • momtarkle

          (I had to look up “RCC”. There are more than one of them.)

          Sure, lots of organizations screw up. The USPO, the US Mint, countless others. I just think that you are too sensitive in claiming that folks on this blog are (necessarily) picking on the RCC.

          I hereby admit that the RCC is a human organization…….that screwed up.

          Your last sentence? Point taken.

          • Michael Harrison

            Oh, I’m not complaining about people picking on the Church. I just think that picking on them for something this minor will discourage cardinals from taking their heads out of their butts.

            • Matt D

              They haven’t taken their heads out of their butts for centuries, so this won’t discourage them anymore than it has in the past.

  • Hat Stealer

    I can understand how an error like this could happen- after all, the J and the L keys are right next to each other on a keyboard.

    • momtarkle

      Are not. Were you humorating?

      • Hat Stealer

        When I said “keyboard”, I meant the ones that the Romans used during the time of Jesus. Those do have the J and the L right next to each other.

        • momtarkle

          You think I don’t know that? Hah, I say to you! Hah!

  • Matt D

    Hm, are those Hateberry preserves I taste? That’s nasty and bitter stuff man, I’d suggest finding a more palpable jam to share with complete strangers.