FACT CHECK: Image Claims Pope Francis Made A Satanic Hand Gesture

Jonathan Fonti | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims Pope Francis made a hand gesture that salutes the devil.

Verdict: False

The pope made the American Sign Language (ASL) sign for “I love you,” not a satanic salute.

Fact Check:

Featured in the top image are what the post claims are Satanic symbols, along with a definition of the “Horned Hand” that explains the gesture is “a sign of recognition between and allegiance of members of Satanism or other unholy groups.” A photo of Pope Francis and Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle making a hand gesture with the thumb, index and pinky fingers extended appears below that.

The viral post combines the two images to suggest Pope Francis made a hand gesture saluting Satan, saying, “It’s all in plain sight (for those who have eyes to see it).” (RELATED: Did In-N-Out Burger Print ‘Hail Satan’ On Its Soda Cups?)

However, the hand gesture the religious men are making in the photo is not satanic in nature, as the post claims. The pope was actually making the ASL sign for “I love you” at the Mall of Asia arena in the Philippines in January 2015, per the photo caption.

While the ASL sign does bear some resemblance to the “sign of the horns” some view as a satanic gesture, it has a key difference. The “sign of the horns” needs the thumb toward the palm; the “I love you” sign needs it to be extended.

The “sign of the horns” has cultural meanings unrelated to satanism, including showing spirit for sports teams at some universities and expressing enthusiasm at heavy metal concerts.

Jonathan Fonti

Fact Check Reporter
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