From the AP, Nicole Winfield reporting, we learn [emphasis mine]:
Bolivian President Evo Morales’ controversial gift of a “Communist crucifix” to Pope Francis threatened to overshadow the pope’s visit to Bolivia on Thursday, with the Vatican and Bolivia both insisting that no offense was intended or taken.
Morales gave Francis the crucifix carved into a hammer and sickle upon Francis’ arrival in Bolivia Wednesday, immediately raising eyebrows given Morales’ past attacks on the church and his socialist bent.
It turns out, the crucifix was originally designed by a Jesuit activist, the Rev. Luis Espinal, who was assassinated in 1980 by suspected paramilitaries during the months that preceded a military coup. Francis, a fellow Jesuit, stopped his motorcade to pray at the site where Espinal’s body had been dumped.
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Thursday the pope had no idea that Espinal…
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