Scotch whisky is "the real holy water," Pope Francis joked when a group of student priests from Scotland presented him with a bottle—but Vatican censors didn't laugh when they saw the footage. The moment when the seminarians presented Francis with a bottle of Oban 14 malt was cut from a BBC documentary about their time at the Scots College in Rome, the Times of London reports. Priest School director Tony Kearney says one of the students "was tasked with giving the Pope a bottle of malt, because they know he likes whisky." "He was really down to earth with them all and when they handed him the bottle, instead of just handing it to his assistant as he normally would with a gift, he held it up and said 'Questa e la vera acqua santa,' which means 'This is the real holy water,'" Kearney says.
"He guffawed with laughter and it was a real ice-breaker with the students and put everyone at ease," Kearney tells the Daily Record. "But we’d agreed that the Vatican’s media office would be allowed to approve all of our footage before we broadcast it. So we sent them the files and when they sent it back, that bit of him saying that was cut out." He adds: "We were really annoyed at first, but they insisted they didn’t want the Pope to be seen to be endorsing whisky. I think it’s quite funny how guarded his image is." Kearney, whose documentary followed the Scottish students for 18 months, says Francis is "ahead of the curve, and the flunkies around about him need to catch up." (Read more Pope Francis stories.)