There is a “fake” story circulating about Pope Francis on social media and the internet – Over 10,000 shares on Facebook and counting. When I heard it, I wondered why was this not “breaking news” in the mainstream media considering the gravity of the “reported” statements but now I know…the story was FAKE!
A link was innocently posted on Facebook and we all went agog in utter dismay at the fake announcements and statements falsely attributed to Pope Francis. The writer (who shall remain un-named) called it a “satirical post” with a disclaimer at the bottom – which is basically, as Roger Rosenblatt would say, “an essay that stands on its head and sticks out its tongue!”
I just wished he picked a different issue to tackle and not one about real people with far-reaching consequences all for traffic purposes and for his “amusement.”
The writer stated that the “Third Vatican Council ” concluded today. To put this in perspective, the last council organized by the Catholic Church was the Second Vatican Council from 1962-1965. The fake story states that Pope Francis convened this council of Catholic cardinals, bishops and theologians in the Vatican City six months ago to “finally finish the work of the Second Vatican Council.” These councils review traditional Catholic dogmas and doctrines.
Even though, I am “Pentecostal” I was intrigued because growing up, I attended a great Catholic elementary school – Holy Child International, Ikot Ekpene. I still vividly remember the sprawling pine-tree lined campus, the chiming of the Angelus and camphor scent that trailed our nuns. When we got scrapes and bruises from playing, we were comforted by heartfelt tenderness and care despite the scratchy discomfort of their amble bosoms bound and unyielding in stiff, starched grey or white habits.
The fabricator of this chaos, writes that Pope Francis said that, “Catholicism is now a “modern and reasonable religion, which has undergone evolutionary changes. The time has come to abandon all intolerance… Even atheists acknowledge the divine. Through acts of love and charity the atheist acknowledges God as well, and redeems his own soul…”
The post continues – “Through humility, soul-searching, and prayerful contemplation we have gained a new understanding of certain dogmas. The church no longer believes in a literal hell where people suffer. This doctrine is incompatible with the infinite love of God. God is not a judge but a friend and a lover of humanity… Like the fable of Adam and Eve, we see hell as a literary device. Hell is merely a metaphor for the isolated soul, which like all souls ultimately will be united in love with God.”
Really…fables? Shocking! Wait, there’s more…
He continues by falsely quoting the Pope, stating that, “God is changing and evolving as we are, For God lives in us and in our hearts. When we spread love and kindness in the world, we touch our own divinity and recognize it… In accordance with our new understanding, we will begin to ordain women as cardinals, bishops and priests. In the future, it is my hope that we will have a woman pope one day. Let no door be closed to women that is open to men!”
Where does this guy draw the line? From raising false hope to adding action scenes, he writes that:
“Banging his fist on the podium as his voice loudly echoed through St. Peter’s Basilica, these words charged on, “Those who would dare to turn immigrants away, be they legal or undocumented, turn their backs on Christ himself! A racist is not a true Christian. A racist casts aside his humanity to become a beast, a demon! He is the embodiment and personification of evil, a Satan!”
Note the subtle reference to the fallen angel clearly written about in the books of Ezekiel and Revelation as “a Satan” He exchanged the attribute of a living breathing evil being, from a noun to an abstract definition.
With each incorrect statement, this tongue-in-cheek writer, sent traditionalists into fits of confusion and hysteria. It’s like the metaphor of the rodent nibbling at your heels while simultaneously blowing on it to assuage the pain! I was ecstatic about prospect of female priests and calls for inclusion, before I found out it was all lies. Oh! just go ahead and rip my paper heart to shreds!
Here are my thoughts:
While I am all for a more progressive, humane and inclusive church in general, introducing the theory of relativity in religion, is a slippery slope that leads to instability and confusion.
I don’t see Muslims and other religions joining in a Christ-is-Lord-Hallelujah-Kumbaya session anytime soon. They are resolute and definite about Allah, Buddha, Krishna etc. So I was hesitant in believing that the largest church in the world, would consent to completely eroding the very foundation of our faith.
For people who might get confused by this fake and satirical story and wonder what believers stand for, I share some of our beliefs and pray we never have to deal with this kind of embarrassment in our community again.
“Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.”Alexander Hamilton
- The Cross – was the disgraceful and excruciating crucifixion of Jesus a colossal waste of time? Absolutely not
- The words of Jesus in John 14:6 – “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
- The promise of God the father in Malachi 3: 6 – “I am the Lord, I change not.”
The hypothesis and postulation of the men evolve every other 50 to 100 years with the assault of ‘high thoughts’. God is love, but He is also Father. He doesn’t consider His son’s suffering and crucifixion irrelevant and inconsequential. Neither will He ignore your pain or tears.
All He requires that we believe Him and come to Him, as often as we can as children to a loving parent. We also have been warned in 1 John 4 – “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world…“
With man’s limited wisdom, we have many revisions of doctrines and teachings from religious leaders, but in the spirit of Love, the truth is that God will never, ever send His children to hell no matter what. A child of God believes in Him. The Church’s mandate is to GO…help more people become God’s children.
“It’s not about right doing…it’s about right believing.” Joseph Prince
Doctrines come and go. That is the assurance we have in the Lord – His constancy, His love and the irrefutable promises of His Word. Read the Bible with a good devotional and find yourself in the scriptures and in His love.
Apologies and Happy New Year to Pope Francis, the Catholic Church and community. In the spirit of generosity, I pray the writer has better essay ideas in the future and makes his intentions very clear upfront.
Essays and Satirical posts are meant to make us think about serious issues and in some way, the writer of the original post accomplished that, it’s just sad that most people didn’t know that.
Sharing and portraying a satirical story as real can happen to anyone, let’s follow our instincts and double-check our facts, especially with controversial stories or inflammatory information.
Enjoy your Holiday Season and Happy New Year!