In a major blunder, an ITV News journalist wrongly announced the death of the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, on Saturday.
Newsreader Kylie Pentelow was reporting live about the Pope’s call on COVID vaccination, in which she first said, “He said that vaccines should be made available to those most in need,” and followed it erroneously with “His death was announced”. She immediately realized her mistake and excused herself, according to a Mirror report.
TV broadcaster Scott Bryan posted a clip of the incident on Twitter and wrote, “ITV just announced the death of The Pope by accident,” adding, “Someone get this newsreader a drink STAT. We all make mistakes. Just to confirm, The Pope is not dead.”
A news executive producer, Pat McMenamin, commented, “I once killed Bob Dylan in a similar fashion.”
The slip occurred when Pentelow was reporting on the Pope’s speech from December 25 on vaccine equality, in which he also discussed relationships, conflicts, and crises around the world.
The 85-year-old was making his annual Christmas address from the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. He said, “We continue to witness a great number of conflicts, crises and disagreements. These never seem to end; by now we hardly even notice them. We have become so used to them that immense tragedies are now being passed over in silence, we risk not hearing the cry of pain and distress of so many of our brothers and sisters.”
“On the international level, too, there is the risk of avoiding dialogue; the risk that this complex crisis will lead to taking shortcuts rather than setting out on the longer paths of dialogue. Yet only those paths can lead to the resolution of conflicts and to lasting benefits for all,” the Pope added, reported Mirror.