The Vatican recently announced it will stop minting euro coins bearing the effigy of Pope Francis—the 266th and current Pope of the Roman Catholic Church—beginning this March.
According to i.Media, a specialized press agency focused on Vatican affairs via the Holy See Press Office, the Vatican’s euros will no longer depict Pope Francis but instead his “pontifical weapons.” Included in this new design are the Vatican’s coat of arms; the pope’s motto, “miserando atque eligendo” (“he looked at him with a feeling of love and chose him” in English); and the stars of the European Union (EU).
On Jan 24, the EU’s official journal published images of the Vatican’s eight new coins, which range in denomination from one cent to two euros. The reverse design remains the same as all other euro coins.
Pope Francis, who’s commonly referred to as “the pope of the poor” because of his focus on poverty, has railed against the negative impact money can have on individuals and society.
Last November, the pontiff suggested dedicating a day on the Catholic Church’s liturgical calendar as the World Day of the Poor.
“It would be a day to help communities and each of the baptized to reflect on how poverty is at the very heart of the Gospel, and that, as long as Lazarus lies at the door of our homes, there can be no justice or social peace,” he said last November.
Earlier in 2016, during his annual Lenten message, Pope Francis warned the “proud, rich, and powerful” if they ignore the poor, they’ll suffer in the solitude of hell forever.
The Vatican has depicted Francis’ effigy on its euro coins since 2014. The first annual series of papal coins entered circulation on March 1, 2002, and depicted then Pope John Paul II.
They are legal tender throughout the EU. The agreement between the EU’s monetary union and Italy, which the Vatican relies on to mint its coins, includes a quota for the Vatican.