Some news viewers in the United Kingdom were likely momentarily in shock as a British news anchor made a most unfortunate statement about Pope Francis on live television.
According to the Daily Mail, Kyie Pentelow of British broadcasting station ITV, mistakenly announced the death of Pope Francis while reporting on the Catholic leader’s Christmas Day address. The segment was quickly ended after the shockingly egregious reporting error was aired.
ITV just announced the death of The Pope by accident pic.twitter.com/GS5RNCdm5b
— Scott Bryan (@scottygb) December 25, 2021
The segue into the erroneous announcement was bizarre, as Pentelow was reporting on COVID-19 vaccines and getting them to those “most in need,” before abruptly revealing that the pope had died.
As the Daily Mail noted, Pope Francis had prayed on Christmas Day for the COVID-19 pandemic to come to an end, and pushed for Western countries to get more COVID-19 vaccines to poorer nations.
Pentelow took an expected beating on social media, with plenty of users taking time to opine on the current state of the pope.
“This has just made me laugh so much. Good old Pope Francis still alive and well!,” one user wrote. “Christmas Day episodes are always so predictable. There’s either always a death or a wedding. Sometimes both, but always at least one,” another user added.
On a more serious note, because of the spike in COVID-19 cases in Italy, along with most of the rest of the world, St. Peter’s Square, which would usually be jam-packed with worshipers over the Christmas holiday, was barren compared to previous years.
As far as the famous mass that takes place on Christmas at St Peter’s Basilica, roughly 2,000 members of the public attended the ceremony, along with some 200 religious leaders. Everyone in attendance was asked to wear a mask and keep social distancing rules in mind.