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Pope Francis Holding Things, also known as Pope Holding Eucharist, is an exploitable meme used in a series of image edits depicting a photograph of Pope Francis during communion while holding a Eucharist wafer. In memes, users typically replace the wafer with other objects and images for humorous effect, making it seem as though the Pope is holding a different item. In 2020, the meme regained popularity with Twitter Image Combination Memes, and then again in October 2022, it saw another resurgence through Twitter Video Combination Memes in which the Pope held up various videos.
On July 24th, 2013, Getty Images published a photograph taken by Buda Mendes of Pope Francis at Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady Aparecida on July 24, 2013, in Aparecida, Brazi; (shown below).
Over the next few years, the image saw several edits and variations. For example, on April 6th, 2015, Tumblr  user colorsinautumn-archive shared a variation in which the Pope holds a copy of Taylor Swift's 1989 album. The post received more than 41,000 notes in less than five years (shown below, left).
April 2015 saw several variations in which the Pope holds an album. On April 7th, Tumblr user sunlouis shared a version in which the Pope lifts a copy of the One Direction album Take Me Home. The post received more than 15,000 notes (shown below, center). This format also extended to video game discs. On August 5th, Tumblr user mostlydarksouls shared a version in which the Pope holds a copy of Dark Souls III. The post received more than 850 notes in less than five years (shown below, right).
2020 Twitter Image Combination Memes
In October 2020, a tiled variation of the meme spread on Twitter. These variants use the tiled-image technique found in Twitter Image Combination Memes. The user breaks the picture of Pope Francis into three images. In the fourth panel, just above his hands, the user adds a desperate photo, creating the illusion that Pope Francis is holding what is in that picture.
On October 12th, 2020, Twitter user @SUEHULK tweeted the earliest known variation of the meme. The meme shows Pope Francis holding a meme of Bob Ross holding a baby raccoon. The tweet received more than 775 likes in less than one week (shown below, left).
Throughout the week, others shared variations of the meme. On October 14th, Twitter user @tropicanapussy tweeted a version in which the Pope is holding Simba from the 2019 film The Lion King. The tweet received more than 54,000 likes and 6,100 retweets in less than one week (shown below, center).
On October 15th, Twitter user @SamDejarnette posted a variant that featured the top of the Pope's head in his hands and revealed the Pope's brain. The tweet received more than 92,000 likes and 12,000 retweets in less than one week (shown below, right).
2022 Twitter Video Combinations
On October 4th, 2022, the social media website Twitter added a feature that allowed users to post up to four videos in a single tweet in contrast to the previous limit of one video. Although only one video could be played at the same time, this enabled users to combine videos in a humorous fashion, similar to the Twitter Image Combination Memes, including Pope Francis Holding Things memes.
Brisket 💖🙏🥺 pic.twitter.com/RBpTv4zAEE
— CLG PunsAndBuns (@punsandbunsgg) October 6, 2022
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