As reported in the Scottish tabloid The Daily Record, filmmaker Tony Kearny was visiting the Vatican last year gathering footage for his upcoming documentary “Priest School.” While there, he captured footage of a group of Scottish student priests gifting the pontiff with a bottle of Oban single-malt Scotch.
“He was really down to earth with them all and when they handed him the bottle, instead of just handing it to his assistant as he normally would with a gift, he held it up and said ‘Questa è la vera acqua santa,’ which means: ‘This is the real holy water.’” Kearny said.
Pope Francis is known for his appreciation of fine whiskey, and he even made a similar “holy water” remark while receiving an unidentified single-malt from a Scottish priest in 2018. (Clearly, the pope believes some jokes remain evergreen.)
While whisk(e)y and the Catholic Church go back at least to the early seventh century, when it was supposedly introduced to the British Isles by visiting monks, the Vatican nevertheless requested that this clip be removed from the documentary. According to The Daily Record, there was concern that Pope Francis’s joke would be taken as a specific endorsement.
This makes sense: There are plenty of great Scotches out there, but it’s tough to compete with Papal infallibility.