The Vatican had to withdraw more than 6,000 medallions minted to commemorate the beginning of Pope Francis’ papacy because of a spelling mistake.
Jesus was misspelled as “Lesus.” The Latin inscription should have been “Iesus” since the letter “J” is not used in Latin.
The phrase reads on the Vatican website: “Vidit ergo Jesus publicanum, et quia miserando atque 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.'”
The inscription is Francis’ papal motto, taken from a meditation by the 8th century English monk, the Venerable Bede, on a passage of the Gospel in which Jesus calls St. Matthew, a tax collector, to become an apostle.
The Vatican said the Latin phrase profoundly affected the future Pope Francis at age 17 when he heard God calling him to the priesthood. In his native Argentina and in his nascent papacy, Francis has made a point of preaching mercy, and reaching out to people on the margins of society.
The medallions, which went on sale on October 8, 2013 had to be pulled from circulation after the spelling error was belatedly discovered. Four of the coins had been sold. They are now worth a mint.