Pope Francis caused a bit of ruckus on the internet Thursday after he seemed to support the use of the middle finger in a Twitter post. The post, which has since been removed, highlighted the middle finger, saying it was a symbol of honesty.
“The middle finger, which is higher than the others, reminds us of something essential: honesty. To be honest means not getting entangled in the snares of corruption,” Pope Francis’ official account wrote in the now-deleted post, shared by New York Magazine.
His explanation followed a series of posts in which Pope Francis describes the attributes of each finger. He first wrote a comment on Twitter, saying, “God has placed the gift of life in your hands. From your hands tomorrow is born. From your hands, peace so lacking in this country can come about. I would like to suggest some ‘ingredients for the future:’ five of them, each corresponding to a finger on your hand.”
He started the series with the thumb, which “symbolizes prayer,” followed by the index finger which symbolizes “community,” before reaching the middle finger.
The post was removed about 50 minutes later and replaced with one subtle change; the “middle finger” was replaced with “the third finger.” The descriptive posts have since been taken down but screenshots of the tweets have continued to go viral with former Congressman Joe Walsh tweeting, “Pope Francis shouldn’t have deleted it. I thought it was an awesome tweet.”
Pope Francis has been considered one of the savviest popes compared to his predecessors by moving away from the Catholic Church’s historical views on some topics. In a recent interview with the Associated Press, he denounced the view among some within the Catholic Church that believe people within the LGBTQ+ community are criminals, saying “homosexuality isn’t a crime.” And said all of God’s children need to be treated with dignity. However, Francis didn’t go as far as to say homosexuality isn’t a sin, but did say there needs to be a distinction between a crime and a sin with regard to homosexuality.
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