The Vatican has reportedly launched an investigation after Pope Francis’s official account on Instagram became a source of embarrassment when it apparently “liked” a booty pic posted by a scantily-clad model.
On October 5, 27-year-old Natalia Garibotto posted her “sexy schoolgirl” picture to the photo-sharing social media platform.
It remains unclear when exactly the pontiff’s verified account gave the photo a “like,” but the pope’s official approval was still visible until Nov. 13 before it was unliked the very next day, reports the Catholic News Agency (CNA).
However, eagle-eyed social media watchers quickly noticed the pontiff’s username underneath her image – Pope Francis does have 7.4 million followers, after all – and word quickly spread of the saucy interaction, rapidly becoming a source of embarrassment for the Vatican’s social media team.
Garibotto’s management company, COY Co., capitalized on the publicity and shared the image on its own Instagram profile last Friday, joking that the company had “received the POPE’S OFFICIAL BLESSING.”
Unsurprisingly, Garibotto boasted to her 2.4 million Instagram followers that “At least I’m going to heaven.”
Meanwhile, other social media users used the opportunity to imply that the 83-year-old Pope– who has offered a number of modern, if not liberal, takes on various social issues – was some sort of “dirty old man.”
According to the Catholic News Agency, the Vatican takes the problem very seriously and has launched a full-fledged investigation to find out how the photo was liked.
As is the norm for public figures like the pope, a team of workers manages his social media accounts rather than him sitting on the papal throne and tweeting at all hours.
“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 editor of the English-language edition of Catholic 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.”
As one spokesperson for the Holy See told the Guardian: “We can exclude that the ‘like’ came from the Holy See, and it has turned to Instagram for explanations.”
Since his election as pope, Francis – whose original name is Jorge Mario Bergoglio – has been wildly popular among Catholics and non-Catholics alike, primarily for his “man of the people” style and reputation that he earned as a working-class clergyman in his native Argentina.
On Twitter, the pope enjoys 18.8 million followers, and on Instagram he has garnered 7.4 million followers.
While relatively conservative on issues of sex and morality, Pope Francis has also been critical of the rigidly chaste and prudish nature of the clergy, arguing that the obsessive focus on the “sinful” nature of human sexuality has blinded the church to more vital problems facing human society.
In 2019, the Pope’s critics were in an uproar after he told the Jesuits of Mozambique:
“One dimension of clericalism is the exclusive moral fixation on the sixth commandment…because the most serious sins are those that are more angelical: pride, arrogance, dominion…. And the least serious are those that are less angelical, such as greed and lust. We focus on sex and then we do not give weight to social injustice, slander, gossip and lies. The Church today needs a profound conversion in this area.”
However, the fact that the Pope doesn’t write his own tweets or personally administer his own social media accounts means that it’s rather impossible that he himself liked Natalia Garibotto’s now-famous booty shot.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.