Vatican Launches Probe After The Pope Liked A Model’s Butt On Instagram

The Vatican said it has launched an investigation after Pope Francis’s official Instagram account "liked" a photo of a Brazilian model's butt.

In the photo, model Natalia Garibotto was wearing a school girls outfit and standing in front of a locker, with her exposed butt hanging out of a skirt. Pope Francis's account was listed among the many Instagram users that presumably decided to click the heart icon below the racy photo.

Pope fans noticed that he liked the post on Friday, November 13th, and his endorsement stayed up on the post until the following day when his account "unliked" it.

Photo: AP

The model's management recognized the strange incident with a repost of the image on its own account on Friday, saying that they “received the POPE’S OFFICIAL BLESSING”.

Garibotto, who has 2.4 million Instagram followers, reportedly joked, “At least I’m going to heaven.”

According to the Catholic News Agency (CNA), an investigation is underway at the Vatican to determine how this happened.

Was the pope's account hacked somehow, was an employee playing a prank, or does the pontiff just have good taste?

A Vatican spokesperson told the Guardian that the pope himself was not responsible for endorsing the model's post.

“We can exclude that the ‘like’ came from the Holy See, and it has turned to Instagram for explanations,” the spokesperson said.

Pope Francis is the first pope to truly take advantage of social media to spread his message. On Instagram, his "franciscus" account has over 7.4 million followers.

On Twitter, the pope is followed by 18.8 million people, which made him the most popular world leader on the site in 2017.

No other accounts are followed by the pope's official social media profiles, not even the great Natalia Garibotto.

https://twitter.com/snootid/status/1327756019750088704

However, the pope is reportedly like many celebrities, who rarely post on their own social media accounts. Instead, he delegates the task out to assistants and employees.

“The pope is not like Donald Trump, he’s not sitting around using his phone or computer to tweet all day long,” said Robert Mickens, the Rome-based editor of the English-language edition of the Catholic daily newspaper La Croix.

“He does, for example, approve the tweets – but not the likes – and on very rare occasions he has said he would like to tweet something because of a developing situation or emergency. So he would have nothing to do with this – it’s the communications department, and how this happens … who knows,” Mickens said.

Francis is the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas, the first from the Southern Hemisphere, and the first pope from outside Europe since the Syrian Gregory III, who reigned in the 8th century. Francis is also one of the most outspoken Popes in generations.

Earlier this year, Francis became the first Catholic pope to openly endorse same-sex civil unions. The comments were made in “Francesco,” a new documentary about his life that recently premiered at the Rome Film Festival.

The film features a series of new interviews where the pope discussed some of the issues that were most important to him, including the environment, poverty, racial and income inequality, and discrimination.

Francis maintains the traditional views of the Church regarding abortion, clerical celibacy, and the ordination of women, but has initiated a dialogue on the possibility of deaconesses and has made women full members of dicasteries in the Roman curia. He has faced criticism from theological conservatives on many questions, including admitting civilly divorced and remarried Catholics to communion with the publication of Amoris Laetitia.

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John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war.