THE Pope will not visit Scotland later this year for the COP26 - prompting some reflection on a viral story from last year.

A clip of Pope Francis holding Scotch whisky and saying it is “the real holy water” was censored before the release of a documentary about Scottish seminarians in Rome.

The clip showed the Pope accept a bottle of Oban malt from some Scottish student priests at an event at the Apostolic Palace in 2019.

Vatican media said the quip should be cut from the film before it could be broadcast.

Director Tony Kearney, who made the one-hour documentary Priest School for the BBC with his company Solus Productions, said they’d filmed the Pope’s meeting with the students during the 18-month project.

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Kearney said the Pope was “really down to Earth with them all” and didn’t opt for the usual procedure when handed the bottle of whisky as a gift.

He said: “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.

“He guffawed with laughter and it was a real ice-breaker with the students and put everyone at ease.

“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.

“We were really annoyed at first, but they insisted they didn’t want the Pope to be seen to be endorsing whisky.”