Fact Check

Pope Metalhead

Published Jul 10, 2015

FACT CHECK:   Does a photograph show Pope Francis in a Black Sabbath t-shirt?

Claim:   A photograph shows Pope Francis wearing a Black Sabbath t-shirt.


Example:     [Collected via email, July 2015]

Was this photo of Pope Francis photoshopped?

Origins:    In January 2015, a photo improbably showing a young Jorge Mario Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) wearing a t-shirt promoting the English rock band Black Sabbath began circulating online, frequently shared with the caption: "What if I told you Pope Francis used to be a metal head? This guy just keep getting cooler."

Although a number of sources (either seriously or jokingly) have claimed that the referenced photograph is authentic, it's nothing more than yet another digital alteration of a rather unremarkable picture. The original, untouched image was obtained by Getty Images from the Jesuit General Curia in Rome in 2013:

In this undated photograph courtesy of the Jesuit General Curia in Rome, Jesuit Priest Jorge Mario Bergoglio poses. The Argentinian Jose Mario Bergoglio, ordained from the Jesuits in 1969 at the Theological faculty of San Miguel was elected as Pope Francis on March 13, 2013 as the first ever Jesuit pontiff.

In addition to identifying the source photograph, viewers can also debunk this one by taking a closer look at Jorge Mario Bergoglio's neckline — whoever photoshopped this Black Sabbath t-shirt onto him forget to remove his clerical collar:

Last updated:      10 July 2015

Originally published:    10 July 2015

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

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