Pope Francis is known as being a lot cooler than some of his predecessors — he even recently went so far as to say that gay people aren’t criminals — but the pontiff really went all out on Thursday morning. In an odd tweet, Francis seemed to endorse the practice of flipping the bird, claiming that extending one’s middle digit indicated a certain level of “honesty” against the forces of corruption.
The tweet was part of a series in which Francis extolled the virtues of all the various fingers in aphoristic fashion. But something appeared to be lost in translation between the Italian and the English. Could Francis really have been endorsing such a crude gesture?
The answer is … maybe? As amused responses rolled in, Francis deleted the tweet and replaced it with one that tweaked the original wording but seemed to carry the same meaning. (Possibly. It’s still kinda hard to tell what he’s trying to say.)
The original may be gone, but the spirit of Francis’s message lives on eternally in another mold-breaking icon: