Pope's philosophical musings on 'the middle finger' draw baffled reactions
Pope Francis

Pope Francis on Thursday drew baffled reactions after he posted philsophical musings about the importance of the middle finger on his Twitter account.

In the post, His Holiness posited that "the middle finger, which is higher than the others, reminds us of something essential: honesty."

He elaborated on this by noting that "To be honest means not getting entangled in the snares of corruption."

Of course, in much of the world, the middle finger has a far more obscene cultural context than the virtue of honesty, as many of the pope's Twitter followers were quick to point out.

NBC News Vatican analyst Christopher White, for instance, noted that the pope's tweet was in reference to a longer speech he delivered about the importance of honesty -- but he acknowledged that "I don’t think this papal tweet really works without the full context of his speech today."

And White was far from the only one to believe something had been lost in translation with the pope's tweet.

"I'm not Catholic but I endorse this statement by His Holiness," wrote national security attorney Bradley Moss. "Probably not for the same reason as he was suggesting it but I endorse it nonetheless."

"New York Salute is a holy gesture," joked IndieWire editor Christian Blauvelt.

Conservative journalist T. Becket Adams also found humor in the message and argued that "the middle finger certainly does convey honest opinion."

Sarah McLaughlin, an anti-censorship activist at the organization FIRE, speculated that the pope's musings on the middle finger were inspired by his recent visit to Philadelphia, whose citizens are notorious for using the finger for unholy reasons.

Sonny Bunch, a cultural editor at The Bulwark, jokingly scolded the pope for posting about the middle finger on a "family website" like Twitter.

Financial planner Carolyn McClanahan, meanwhile, simply praised the pope's message as "the best tweet ever."

See more reactions to the pope's tweet at this link.