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Bolivia's President Just Gave The Pope A Hammer And Sickle Crucifix

It's pretty amazing.

Originally posted on
Updated on

Pope Francis, the first pontiff from Latin America, is in the middle of a three-country swing through South America. Here he is with Bolivian President Evo Morales on his arrival into the country on Wednesday.

More importantly here's the gift that Morales, an avowed Socialist, gave Francis as a welcome gift: a wooden hammer and sickle turned crucifix. I mean...just look at this thing.

L'Osservatore Romano / AP

The carving is a reproduction of one owned by Jesuit Father Luis Espinal Camps, a Bolivian priest who was murdered in the 1980s. Cameras clicking kept the exact words from being heard, but the pope either expressed "I didn't know" about the design or "that's not okay."

(The hammer and sickle, for those of you born after the end of the Cold War, is meant to symbolize "uniting labor and peasants" and was the ultimate Communist symbol and a part of the Soviet Union's flag.)

Either way, you can just see the delight on Francis' face at being presented with this priceless treasure. "It will look lovely on the mantle of a room that I never enter," that face seems to say.

Handout / Reuters

And let's not even get started on the symbolizing of Christ being nailed to a Communist symbol, given Marx's famous statement: "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opiate of the masses."

Video of the event from the Vatican's YouTube page does the moment more justice than a simple picture ever could.

Morales also presented the pope with a copy of a book describing the war in which Bolivia lost its coastline to Chile, a fight that it's still fighting to this day. In return, Francis presented Morales with a copy of his environmental encyclical.

Hayes Brown is a world news editor and reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

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