Pope Rejects Macri's Donation Because It Includes 666

Reports are emerging that already frosty relations between Pope Francis and Argentine President Mauricio Macri deteriorated after the pope rejected a significant donation from Macri because the sum includes the number 666.

On June 11, the pontiff reportedly turned down a donation of 16,666,000 pesos, equivalent of around $1.2 million, which Macri had given to the Scholas Occurentes educational foundation, Christian Today reports.

An Italian newspaper reported that the pope -- who is originally from Argentina -- explained his rejection by writing "I don't like the 666." The newspaper said that including the figure in the sum seemed like it was "a joke in bad taste for Francis."

The number 666 is considered the "mark of the beast" as mentioned in the Book of Revelation.

"The Argentine government needs to address so many needs, you shouldn't be demanding a single penny from it," the pontiff wrote in a letter to the educational charity that was to receive the donation.

Pope Francis and President Macri have often found themselves on opposite sides of the political aisle, with Francis supporting progressive causes while Macri was elected on a center-right, business-friendly platform in Argentina earlier in 2016.

Some tension between the two leaders arose when Macri failed to appeal a ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in the country, according to the Buenos Aires Herald.

But the pontiff was reported to have been particularly incensed that the Argentine media presented the donation as a symbol of improving relations between the two leaders, The Guardian reports.

"Whoever thinks that by giving money, especially public funds to a foundation directly or indirectly linked to Francis, is making a gesture to the pope, is stupid," said Juan Grabois, a social activist and Vatican adviser in Argentina.

Sources: Christian Today, The Guardian / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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