The longstanding stereotype that Roman Catholics imbibe more alcohol than patrons of other religions has been legitimized by none other than His Holiness.
Pope Francis was caught on video saying that Scotch whisky is “the real holy water” when a group of visiting student priests from the UK country presented him with a bottle of Oban at the Vatican. Granted, he was clearly joking, but the boozy declaration spawned a drove of headlines.
The clip itself, which has since been censored by the Vatican, was captured a year ago. It’s set to be featured in a forthcoming BBC documentary about Roman seminarians dubbed Priest School, Forbes reports. Director Tony Kearny commented on the tone of the scene in a recent Daily Record article.
“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.”
Even so, the Vatican decided to edit the joke out the footage, as church officials didn’t want the Pope praising alcohol on camera.
“We were really annoyed at first, but they insisted they didn’t want the Pope to be seen to be endorsing whisky,” Kearny added. “I think it’s quite funny how guarded his image is.”
Our takeaway? Booze on—especially if you’re a Catholic.