Recently I stumbled upon the image of the young Pope Francis wearing a Black Sabbath T-shirt.

Could this be real?

I'm guessing this is fake, but I am at work and can't do a complete research about it. The reason I find this may be fake is mostly due to this image found on google:

But this one could be the fake one as well (although this is quite unlikely).

  • 6
    The bottom photograph is not a fake. The top one is therefore photoshopped. This one is not :)
    – user7920
    Feb 13, 2015 at 17:06
  • 4
    LOL, we live in the age of really bad photoshopping (e.g., no detail in the robe at all, but yet clear image and text...and would clergy really walk around looking like that?). Plus one for the laugh though :-)
    – dan
    Feb 14, 2015 at 2:00
  • m.snopes.com/pope-black-sabbath-shirt According to Snopes, this photo is a total fake.
    – user29099
    Sep 27, 2015 at 0:48
  • 1
    @LangLangC: Both pictures are now retrievable again, thanks to Glorfindel's and my edits.
    – Schmuddi
    Feb 5, 2019 at 17:25

2 Answers 2


No, he couldn't have been.

He was born in 1936 and Black Sabbath was most famous in his 40's (1970's).

In the picture he is wearing a cassock, which clearly does not normally have Black Sabbath images printed on top, and he's clearly in his late 20's or early 30's.

In particular, the poster depicted as the t-shirt image

t-shirt image

shows the Master of Reality logo from 1971. The pope would have been 35 in that year.

enter image description here

However the picture without the poster is from 1966, way before Black Sabbath was even founded.

An image from 1966 of the Argentine seminarian Jorge Mario Bergoglio in the El Salvador School, where he taught literature and psychology in Buenos Aires.

  • 9
    While I agree with your conclusion, the argument that he looks like he's in his late 20s/early 30s, so can't possibly be 35 (only a couple of years older than "early 30s") is rather weak. You're saying that you can't pin his age down more accurately than plus or minus several years but you're sure he's not even slightly older than the top of some rather broad range. Feb 13, 2015 at 18:58
  • 7
    Given that you know how old he was when the photo was taken, why do you speculate about it at the start of the answer? Feb 13, 2015 at 19:51
  • 3
    @DavidRicherby because I'm not speculating. I'm describing the image. I agree it's weak evidence, but evidence nonetheless, separate from the dating by the Huffington Post.
    – Sklivvz
    Feb 13, 2015 at 20:15
  • 3
    @ArturoTorresSánchez it doesn't. Having to be 35 to wear a tshirt in a pic taken when you are 30, though, is pretty difficult.
    – Sklivvz
    Feb 14, 2015 at 7:54
  • 4
    @ArturoTorresSánchez in his youth there was no black sabbath, so, no.
    – Sklivvz
    Feb 14, 2015 at 8:22

Someone has "An image from 1966 of the Argentine seminarian Jorge Mario Bergoglio in the El Salvador School, where he taught literature and psychology in Buenos Aires." and then says that was way before Black Sabbath was formed. So to elaborate:

A search on the internet shows that original photo three times tagged with the date 1966. (I've listed all three sites below) All three sites say that this is a photo from 1966 when he taught in Buenos Aries. His birth date according to Wikipedia is 1936 (also stated above in the answers) That would make him 30 in the photo.

Irregardless of any of this - the photo is from 1966 and another look in Wikipedia says that Black Sabbath was formed in 1968 ergo the photo is definitely a fake. As to whether or not he is a Black Sabbath fan the only way to know is to ask him although reading the Wikipedia entry on him he didn't even learn English until 1980. There is, however, no detailed explanation of how much English he knew, if any, before that. That makes it even more unlikely that he was a fan of Black Sabbath - at least until 1980 or after (14 years after this photo) when he would have been able to understand the lyrics. He would have been 44 in 1980 so no longer a "youth" by most standards.




for the last site you have to actually scroll through the photos to see the correct image

  • 3
    Understanding the lyrics is not required to being fan of a band. I'm from Chile, and I loved so many UK/US bands in my youth, way before understanding the lyrics. In Spanish speaking countries that's very common.
    – Renato
    Jul 13, 2015 at 18:33

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