Vatican dismisses Batman hack

Fears that the Vatican’s Twitter and website might have been hacked after a somewhat strange story about Batman was posted have been infallibly dismissed.

Yesterday, the website of Pope Frank ran stories about Batman with the headline “Holy Switcheroo!” While we get the whole thing, there are those in the Roman press, not to mention the Vatican, which are not used to seeing tabloid style headlines on the Pope’s site.

Two Vatican officials said the site had not been hacked, and the reason for the unusual posting was an “internal system failure” due to a non-native English speaker posting the story on the website.

It sounds to us like the “non-native” speaker understood what he or she was writing perfectly well and had mastered the idea of penning a decent headline, it was just that some people did not get it.

The story was from the Catholic News Service. It has as its headline: “Holy Switcheroo! Batman has grown bitter, more vengeful with the years” and details the evolution of the Batman comic franchise. It was not about the unholy switcheroo which saw one Pope quit to be replaced by another which resulted in St Peters being struck by lightning.

Vatican communications adviser Greg Burke said that some people might have been thrown off by the headline.

Monsignor Paul Tighe, number two in the Vatican’s social communications office, said the office’s website runs stories about communications and regularly takes copy from Catholic News Service, the news agency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Once a story is posted, he explained, it generates an automatic tweet on the office’s Twitter handle, @pccs_va.

He admitted that even he thought that the site had been hacked. Later the story was knocked off the top of the site and was replaced by a yarn about Pope Francis saying why he selected the name Francis after St Francis of Assisi and not St Francis Xavier who brought the inquisition to Goa which resulted in 4,000 arrests and a hundred or so people being burnt at the stake.