Bolivian President Evo Morales gave Pope Francis a wooden cross in the shape of the Soviet hammer and sickle.
Hopefully, he gave him the receipt, too.
The Pope's reported reaction of “eso no está bien,” is a relatively muted response to a wildly inappropriate gift.
Yes, this Pope has had some nasty things to say about capitalism, about on par with a sophomore philosophy major. But the hammer and sickle was conceived during the Russian Revolution and for years was the symbol of the Soviet state. The Soviets repressed a lot of groups in their day, the Catholic Church among them.
So yeah, hammer and sickle crucifix: bad idea.
Here are some other things world leaders should probably avoid, as they seem really into giving Francis stuff.
1. An Apple Watch
It may be the hot tech item du jour (or not), but Francis has had a bit of a love-hate relationship with technology.
He likes the internet, but in his encyclical Laudato Sii, he wrote "Human beings and material objects no longer extend a friendly hand to one another; the relationship has become confrontational."
That may be the best description of the Apple Watch I have ever read.
2. The 1996 film Evita on Blu-ray
First off, what you really meant to give him was the 1979 Broadway soundtrack with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin. But you also probably should not have given him a musical that recalls his native Argentina's fraught political history. The Pope's relationship to the military junta that ruled the nation has been questioned, and this could make things awkward.
3. A soccer ball
The guy is 78, he's not playing much any more. Come up with a better idea.
4. An invitation to your same-sex wedding.