Leading news services AP and Reuters have issued corrections to reports last Saturday claiming that Pope Francis called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas an "angel of peace."
That translation of the Pope's comments was republished by numerous international news outlets, including Arutz Sheva.
But after initial doubts as to the accuracy of the translation ensued, several Italian-language experts confirmed to Arutz Sheva that Francis actually told Abbas that he "may" or "could" be an "angel of peace," in an attempt to persuade him to return to peace talks with Israel.
Now the mis-translation has finally been acknowledged, at least partially, with AP issuing a clarification that the Pope in fact told Abbas that he was only "a bit" of an angel of peace.
"The Associated Press erroneously omitted two words when quoting the pope. Francis told Abbas ‘you are a bit an angel of peace,’ not ‘you are an angel of peace.’ The original Italian quote was, ‘Lei e un po un angelo della pace,'” AP said.
Reuters issued a similar clarification, also reporting that the Pope actually told Abbas "you are a bit an angel of peace," at least according to an unnamed 'reporter representing several news agencies at the meeting."
Vatican chief spokesperson, Father Federico Lombardi, told Reuters he hadn't heard the Pope's statement himself, but insisted that "it is clear that there was no intention to offend anyone."
Controversy has swirled ever since the initial reports.
As leader of the Catholic world, the Pope's stance on the Arab-Israeli conflict is closely scrutinized, and the initial mis-translation was received as something of a coup by PA officials and their supporters.
But the fiasco over accurately reporting what Pope Francis even said – with outlets gushingly publishing the initial, mistaken quote, which it turns out was based on testimony from just one journalist present – also once again raises questions about the methods major news outlets employ in covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.