The actor was caught in the religion-compromising act of smoking a cigarette while dressed in full pope regalia in the gardens of Villa Medici in Rome on Wednesday.
Law is starring as the fictional pope Pius XIII (formerly known as Lenny Belardo) in the upcoming HBO miniseries The Young Pope, but his offscreen habits aren't exactly up to papal standards.
(While the good book doesn't make any direct references to smoking, tobacco addiction is generally regarded as a sinful act based on interpretations of Biblical verse, which reminds Christians that the body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.)
But the actor does have some holy precedence in the matter. According to CatholicWorldReport.com, at least a handful of popes indulged in tobacco use. Pius X and Pius XI smoked cigars, John XXIII smoked cigarettes, and Pope Benedict XVI is rumored to smoke (usually either Marlboro Reds or Gold) but doesn't do so openly.
The smoking also fits into Law's bad boy/hip pope image for the show. In the miniseries, directed by Paolo Sorrentino, he plays the first Italian-American pontiff and "examines his fears, conflicts, struggles and the search for meaning and the need for love," Deadline reports.
The miniseries is due to air in 2016.