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June 15, 2016

Pope Nixes Argentine Leader’s Gift That Includes Figure ‘666’

Pope Francis has turned down a pledge of approximately $1.2 million from the president of Argentina to a Vatican-backed charity, in part because the gift amount in Argentine pesos includes the number many Christians associate with the Antichrist, writes The Washington Post.

President Mauricio Macri offered 16,666,000 pesos to Scholas Occurrentes, an education organization with offices in Buenos Aires, where Francis was archbishop before his elevation to the papacy. In a communication regarding the gift, Francis reportedly objected to its possible political overtones and added in a postscript, “I don’t like the 666.”

The pope has differed with his native country’s center-right leader on policy matters, particularly austerity measures Mr. Macri has introduced to stave off inflation. Regarding the oddly specific sum of the donation, the president’s office told an Argentine newspaper that it “was calculated based on the expenditures of the [Scholas Occurrentes’] headquarters in Buenos Aires” and was solicited by the charity.