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Home Vatican Updates We Decoded the Pope's Facial Expressions—Here's What We Got!

We Decoded the Pope’s Facial Expressions—Here’s What We Got!

His face says it all!

Argentinian by nationality, Italian by origin—this is the mix that makes our beloved Pope Francis a true phenomenon of expressiveness and communication.

The Pope’s gift of gab is well known. His official words, speeches, and even his improvised dialogue with the people he meets present a practically perfect verbal communication manual. (Read: My Pope recommends: The Five Love Languages)

But beyond just words, Lolo Kiko is also a good example of what we call non-verbal communication. This refers to his gestures, movements of the body, and above all, facial expressions that convey thoughts very truthfully.

Experts say that human beings use facial muscles to express six basic emotions: happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, and disgust. But recently, it has been discovered that man actually has 21 different facial expressions! They can be in combinations. For instance, one can be happy-surprised, sad-angry, and so on. (Read: Exclusive: Pope Francis Revisits His Italian Heritage)

Pope Francis is a striking example of all these combinations. He is known to “talk” constantly with his facial expressions, which can depict laughter, pain, and worry. And that is the beauty of our Lolo Kiko: His expressions are all very natural—and through his face, we can often understand his state of mind, making him an open book. 

Read on to know the different facial expressions of Pope Francis and what they mean!

The Pope’s Expression: Upset

Photo from Gettyimages

This looks like a joking expression, almost like a caricature. But the downward curves of his closed mouth tell us that he is a bit upset.

The Pope’s Expression: Confident

Photo from Gettyimages

His happy and lively eyes plus the movement of the mouth give the Pontiff a sneaky and confident air—like a witty grandfather.

The Pope’s Expression: Delighted

Photo from Eidon

The Pope must have met the gaze of a child who is greeting him. He returns the little one’s greeting.

The Pope’s Expression: Satisfied

Photo from Gettyimages

The smile with closed lips tells us that the Santo Papa is peacefully satisfied. This is further indicated by the outward jutting of the chin.

The Pope’s Expression: Sad-Angry

Photo from La Presse

He wrinkles his eyebrows and his face is grim. The expression of anger is confirmed by the raised index finger—a warning.

The Pope’s Expression: Pleasantly Surprised

Photo from Gettyimages

The maximum opening of the eyes and mouth, and even the raised eyebrows, manifest two emotions: He is both stunned and happy.

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