Message for World Communications Day
Fake Pope decries Fake News:
A Critical Commentary
Jorge Mario Bergoglio (aka “Pope Francis”) has the uncanny gift of inserting himself into every possible problem arising among human beings, except into those that the job description of the office he claims to hold actually require him to.
Clarifying that adultery is still a mortal sin that bars one from Holy Communion? Silence. Oversight in liturgical translations? Decentralized. Teaching fundamental theology? Boring. Watching over the purity of the Faith? Not his problem. Yet for every opportunity to promote “integral human development”, for every political conference, for every mudslide in Cambodia, Francis has something to say. It was no different this past Wednesday.
On the occasion of World Communications Day, the “Pope” released the following document:
- Message for World Communications Day: “‘The Truth will set you free’ (Jn 8:32). Fake News and Journalism for Peace” (Jan. 24, 2018)
What is meant by fake news? In its most general sense, fake news is simply misinformation. More specifically, it is misinformation that comes under the guise of legitimate news reporting. It is really not a new phenomenon at all — it’s just that everybody has been talking about it since an article appeared in the Washington Post in 2016 that introduced the term to a popular audience.
We will now proceed to critically examine Francis’ text. It is full of gratuitous assertions and emotionally attractive but philosophically bankrupt ideas. Indeed, it is its very own example of fake news. We will not reproduce the text in full but will only quote the most salient parts, with our own commentary interspersed.
The “Pope” says:
The effectiveness of fake news is primarily due to its ability to mimic real news, to seem plausible. Secondly, this false but believable news is “captious”, inasmuch as it grasps people’s attention by appealing to stereotypes and common social prejudices, and exploiting instantaneous emotions like anxiety, contempt, anger and frustration. The ability to spread such fake news often relies on a manipulative use of the social networks and the way they function. Untrue stories can spread so quickly that even authoritative denials fail to contain the damage.
Francis is drawing a necessary connection between fake news and “appealing to stereotypes and common social prejudices, and exploiting instantaneous emotions”. But why should this be an essential characteristic of fake news? We are not told. The claim is gratuitous, that is, it is made without evidence, yet it is far from obvious. Prejudices can be right or wrong, just or unjust, reasonable or unreasonable. If a false news story does not exhibit any stereotypes or prejudices, does that mean it is not fake news? If the “instantaneous emotion” elicited is not one of anxiety, contempt, anger, or frustration but one of joy, laughter, or relief, does that make the misinformation any less fake?
The fake Pope continues:
The difficulty of unmasking and eliminating fake news is due also to the fact that many people interact in homogeneous digital environments impervious to differing perspectives and opinions. Disinformation thus thrives on the absence of healthy confrontation with other sources of information that could effectively challenge prejudices and generate constructive dialogue; instead, it risks turning people into unwilling accomplices in spreading biased and baseless ideas. The tragedy of disinformation is that it discredits others, presenting them as enemies, to the point of demonizing them and fomenting conflict. Fake news is a sign of intolerant and hypersensitive attitudes, and leads only to the spread of arrogance and hatred. That is the end result of untruth.
Here we find more unjustified assertions. Again Francis claims there is a necessary link between fake news and “discredit[ing] others, presenting them as enemies, to the point of demonizing them and fomenting conflict.” What necessary connection is there between these things and the scourge of misinformation? Discrediting others is not necessarily wrong — especially not if the other ought to be discredited. The same goes for enemies.
Let us turn for a moment to an episode in the Gospels where a certain Protagonist discredits others, presents them as enemies even to the point of demonizing them, and thus foments conflict. You may have read this passage before:
But woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men, for you yourselves do not enter in; and those that are going in, you suffer not to enter. Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites: because you devour the houses of widows, praying long prayers. For this you shall receive the greater judgment. Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you go round about the sea and the land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, you make him the child of hell twofold more than yourselves. Woe to you blind guides, that say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but he that shall swear by the gold of the temple, is a debtor. Ye foolish and blind; for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? And whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gift that is upon it, is a debtor. Ye blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? He therefore that sweareth by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things that are upon it: And whosoever shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth in it: And he that sweareth by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon. Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you tithe mint, and anise, and cummin, and have left the weightier things of the law; judgment, and mercy, and faith. These things you ought to have done, and not to leave those undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you make clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but within you are full of rapine and uncleanness. Thou blind Pharisee, first make clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, that the outside may become clean. Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you are like to whited sepulchres, which outwardly appear to men beautiful, but within are full of dead men’s bones, and of all filthiness. So you also outwardly indeed appear to men just; but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; that build the sepulchres of the prophets, and adorn the monuments of the just, and say: If we had been in the days of our Fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore you are witnesses against yourselves, that you are the sons of them that killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. You serpents, generation of vipers, how will you flee from the judgment of hell?
How’s that for discrediting and demonizing others? And yet, what we have here is a divinely inspired account of how God Himself communicated with certain sinners. In other words, what we have here is the greatest possible opposite of fake news. It is the Good News. Could it be that Francis is the one spreading disinformation here?
Yet preventing and identifying the way disinformation works also calls for a profound and careful process of discernment.
Ah, another discernment process! We should have figured. The last one he proposed, in Amoris Laetitia, is a sure-fire way of arriving at fake news about the validity of one’s marriage bond.
We continue with the world’s most famous apostate:
We need to unmask what could be called the “snake-tactics” used by those who disguise themselves in order to strike at any time and place. This was the strategy employed by the “crafty serpent” in the Book of Genesis, who, at the dawn of humanity, created the first fake news (cf. Gen 3:1-15), which began the tragic history of human sin, beginning with the first fratricide (cf. Gen 4) and issuing in the countless other evils committed against God, neighbour, society and creation. The strategy of this skilled “Father of Lies” (Jn 8:44) is precisely mimicry, that sly and dangerous form of seduction that worms its way into the heart with false and alluring arguments.
Don’t think for a minute that Francis actually believes Chapter 3 of Genesis to be literally and historically true. He’s just pretending for the moment because it’s expedient for the argument he’s making. The man is a 21st-century Jesuit.
He writes further:
This biblical episode brings to light an essential element for our reflection: there is no such thing as harmless disinformation; on the contrary, trusting in falsehood can have dire consequences. Even a seemingly slight distortion of the truth can have dangerous effects.
Yes indeed, that is so. But now apply that insight to how Francis treats doctrinal truth:
- Francis: ‘Dialogue means Renouncing the Claim that our Ideas and Traditions Alone are Valid or Absolute’
- Francis: ‘The only Religious Certainty we have is that we are all God’s Children’
- Francis: “No One owns the Truth”
- Francis: “I feel like saying something that is perhaps heretical”
- Francis: “I’m not interested in converting Evangelicals to Catholicism”
- Francis denounces Converting the Orthodox as “Great Sin Against Ecumenism”
- Francis: “It is not right to convince others of your Faith”
- Francis doesn’t care if your child gets a Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, or Jewish education
How’s that for encouraging the dangerous effects of even a “seemingly slight distortion of the truth”?
Back to Mr. Bergoglio:
Constant contamination by deceptive language can end up darkening our interior life. Dostoevsky’s observation is illuminating: “People who lie to themselves and listen to their own lie come to such a pass that they cannot distinguish the truth within them, or around them, and so lose all respect for themselves and for others. And having no respect, they cease to love, and in order to occupy and distract themselves without love they give way to passions and to coarse pleasures, and sink to bestiality in their vices, all from continual lying to others and to themselves.” (The Brothers Karamazov, II, 2).
Here we have to congratulate Francis. He found a way to include the word “bestiality” in a document about lying. That’s quite an accomplishment. Was this the trade-off for not bringing up those nasty c-words again he’d mentioned twice before?
We return to his text:
So how do we defend ourselves? The most radical antidote to the virus of falsehood is purification by the truth. In Christianity, truth is not just a conceptual reality that regards how we judge things, defining them as true or false. The truth is not just bringing to light things that are concealed, “revealing reality”, as the ancient Greek term aletheia (from a-lethès, “not hidden”) might lead us to believe. Truth involves our whole life. In the Bible, it carries with it the sense of support, solidity, and trust, as implied by the root ‘aman, the source of our liturgical expression Amen. Truth is something you can lean on, so as not to fall. In this relational sense, the only truly reliable and trustworthy One – the One on whom we can count – is the living God. Hence, Jesus can say: “I am the truth” (Jn 14:6). We discover and rediscover the truth when we experience it within ourselves in the loyalty and trustworthiness of the One who loves us. This alone can liberate us: “The truth will set you free” (Jn 8:32).
At first sight this may all sound very profound and noble because Francis indicates that only God is the source of all truth. How conservative!
But what about the rest of what he says? It would have been a perfect opportunity for him to repeat and then elaborate on the traditional definition of truth once provided by Aristotle and endorsed by St. Thomas Aquinas: Truth is “the conformity of thing and intellect”, that is, the conformity of the mind to reality (see Disputed Questions on Truth, q. 1, a. 1). This definition was always good enough for the Church, but is it good enough for Francis? Of course not. No, the enlightened Modernists know better than to repeat such peasanty black-and-white olden-day thought, and so Francis talks about how truth supposedly has something to do with leaning on something and claims it must be personally experienced — before kindly informing us that truth also has to involve a search for relationship:
Freedom from falsehood and the search for relationship: these two ingredients cannot be lacking if our words and gestures are to be true, authentic, and trustworthy. To discern the truth, we need to discern everything that encourages communion and promotes goodness from whatever instead tends to isolate, divide, and oppose.
Only someone like Francis could get away with putting out such utter rubbish. If a college student were to write this in a term paper, the professor would write in the margin: “gratuitous” and “you’re not proving your thesis, you’re only making claims.”
So Francis asserts: “To discern the truth, we need to discern everything that encourages communion and promotes goodness from whatever instead tends to isolate, divide, and oppose.” Aside from the question what this abstruse statement even means, we notice that he provides not a shred of evidence to back up his curious claim. Can truth not isolate, divide, and oppose? Why should that be a characteristic peculiar to falsehood?
Let us turn to the Scriptures once more. Our Lord Himself, who is “full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14), warned that His doctrine would isolate, divide, and oppose people:
Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword. For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s enemies shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me.
Does this sound like it “encourages communion”?
The Bergoglian drivel continues:
Truth, therefore, is not really grasped when it is imposed from without as something impersonal, but only when it flows from free relationships between persons, from listening to one another.
Somehow, this “impersonal imposition of truth from without” worked really well for the Church for 2,000 years, especially for the Apostles. After simply preaching a sermon to people with whom he had no meaningful relationship (see Acts 2:22-36), Pope St. Peter made massive converts on the day of Pentecost: “They therefore that received his word, were baptized; and there were added in that day about three thousand souls… And the Lord increased daily together such as should be saved” (Acts 2:41,47). Thank heavens they didn’t have Vatican II or the Novus Ordo Sect around in those days, else they would have started an interreligious dialogue and would still be talking today.
Returning now to Francis, it gets worse. The papal pretender has the chutzpah to come up with an entirely novel and pragmatic definition of truth:
Nor can we ever stop seeking the truth, because falsehood can always creep in, even when we state things that are true. An impeccable argument can indeed rest on undeniable facts, but if it is used to hurt another and to discredit that person in the eyes of others, however correct it may appear, it is not truthful. We can recognize the truth of statements from their fruits: whether they provoke quarrels, foment division, encourage resignation; or, on the other hand, they promote informed and mature reflection leading to constructive dialogue and fruitful results.
To disseminate such baloney in a document supposedly dedicated to truth is pretty audacious. Since when is the truth of an argument determined by the motive for which it is made? Quite simply, I can tell the truth for a bad motive, and I can tell a lie for a good motive. In both cases there is sin, but the nature of truth and falsehood is not touched in the slightest.
To claim, as Francis does, that truth uttered with the intent of discrediting or hurting another becomes a lie, is absurdity on stilts! Aside from that, we must repeat that the intention of discrediting someone is not necessarily wrong — some people simply ought to be discredited (such individuals as Martin Luther, Margaret Sanger, and Peter Singer come to mind). Even Francis would have to agree that not all discrediting of people is to be avoided, seeing that his entire ridiculous screed here has the purpose of discrediting the purveyors of fake news in the eyes of others.
Likewise, it is simply false to say that the truth of a statement is judged by its fruits. That is untenable philosophically and unjustifiable theologically. We may say it is, in fact, fake news, contradicted even by Divine Revelation: “For the word of God is living and effectual, and more piercing than any two edged sword; and reaching unto the division of the soul and the spirit, of the joints also and the marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb 4:12).
Next, Francis has an invitation to make:
I would like, then, to invite everyone to promote a journalism of peace. By that, I do not mean the saccharine kind of journalism that refuses to acknowledge the existence of serious problems or smacks of sentimentalism. On the contrary, I mean a journalism that is truthful and opposed to falsehoods, rhetorical slogans, and sensational headlines.
Now that’s just rich: Francis speaks out against “rhetorical slogans” and “sensational headlines”, when he is the biggest author of precisely those two things! Just think about how many headlines Francis has caused since 2013 because of his constant use of vivid slogans and idiotic remarks! From denouncing “self-absorbed Promethean Neo-Pelagians” and launching a “revolution of tenderness” to asking “Who am I to judge?”, there hasn’t been a dull day yet since Francis paid his hotel bill on Day 1 in front of running cameras.
We arrive now at the last part of Francis’ message for the 2018 World Communications Day. The “Pope” ends with a version of the famous so-called Prayer of Saint Francis, properly adapted to his new “journalism for peace” doctrine:
Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Help us to recognize the evil latent in a communication that does not build communion.
Help us to remove the venom from our judgements.
Help us to speak about others as our brothers and sisters.
You are faithful and trustworthy; may our words be seeds of goodness for the world:
where there is shouting, let us practise listening;
where there is confusion, let us inspire harmony;
where there is ambiguity, let us bring clarity;
where there is exclusion, let us offer solidarity;
where there is sensationalism, let us use sobriety;
where there is superficiality, let us raise real questions;
where there is prejudice, let us awaken trust;
where there is hostility, let us bring respect;
where there is falsehood, let us bring truth.
We interrupt this post for a brief moment so you can facepalm….
After all the drama that has transpired about Francis’ exhortation Amoris Laetitia, especially his refusal to answer five specific questions (“dubia“) to help bring clarity to what the document intends to teach, he now implores, “Where there is ambiguity, let us bring clarity”! You’ve got to hand it to Mr. Bergoglio: He’s got a sense of humor.
Now that we’ve examined Francis’ fake news against fake news, let’s be clear about something: Yes, the internet is full of false reporting. There is news that is distorted, inadequate, biased, exaggerated, flawed, and sometimes simply made up entirely. The rapid spread of information through social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook adds to the problem. At the same time, even mainstream news organizations around the globe have on occasion disseminated false information, whether unwittingly and by accident or with full deliberation. While it is important to keep in mind that not everything one sees, reads, or hears about somewhere is for that reason true and accurate, we must also take great care that any attempted cure for this will not be worse than the disease. What Francis is proposing here is a revolutionary redefinition of truth under the mask of peace and charity, custom-tailored to suit the Masonic-Naturalist agenda that seeks to gag or eliminate any remaining opposition.
Speaking of fake news, the Vatican II Church has been a veritable waterfall of theological and philosophical fake news since its inception after the death of Pope Pius XII. Here are some examples:
- Martin Luther was a witness to the Gospel — fake news!
- elements of the Catholic Church exist in other religions — fake news!
- God may want adulterers to continue in their adultery — fake news!
- the United Nations is the last hope of mankind — fake news!
- heretics and schismatics have a divine mission to preach the Gospel — fake news!
- converting heretics to Catholicism is a sin — fake news!
- the existence of God cannot be proved by reason — fake news!
- God cannot be God without man — fake news!
- Christians ought not to fear the Last Judgment — fake news!
- the Church’s early martyrs died for religious liberty — fake news!
- the Church of England has validly ordained clergy — fake news!
- man-made global warming and climate change — fake news!
- no one is condemned forever because that is not the logic of the gospel — fake news!
- time is greater than space — fake news!
- abortion and brevity of conjugal life are grounds for annulment — fake news!
- the Talmudic Jews are Catholics’ “elder brothers in the faith” — fake news!
- the Luminous Mysteries are part of the Holy Rosary — fake news!
- the Novus Ordo worship service is the Catholic Mass — fake news!
- Our Lady of Fatima came to warn the world of what would ultimately be a failed assassination attempt on a man the world recognized as Pope — fake news!
- Muslims worship the same God as Catholics — fake news!
- hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of marriages declared invalid — fake news!
- Islam is a religion of peace — fake news!
- Joseph Ratzinger is a conservative, traditionalist, orthodox Catholic — fake news!
- every deceased supposed Pope since 1958 is a saint — fake news!
- genuine martyrdom is possible outside the Catholic Church — fake news!
- the Talmudic Jews have a valid covenant with God and are His Chosen People — fake news!
- John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis are Roman Catholic Popes — fake news!
This is but a tiny sampler of what is a virtually endless list of lies, errors, and heresies promoted by the Vatican II Church. To make it a complete list would be impossible, for we would be interrupted by the Second Coming of Christ before we could finish it.
The upshot of all this is that fake news is indeed a problem, but the last entity on earth that could credibly complain about it is “Club Jorge” in Vatican City. Was it not “Fr.” Antonio Spadaro of La Civilta Cattolica, the famous fellow-Jesuit and bosom buddy of “Pope” Francis, who once claimed that in sacred theology, two plus two could equal five because it “has to do with God and real life of people” (see tweet here)? This effectively means that anything is possible in theology. And that’s exactly how the Modernist squatters in the Vatican have been acting since the last true Pope was taken out of the way.
What is Francis’ document against fake news ultimately aiming at? What does he think this “papal” message will actually accomplish? Is it perhaps a first step to the setting up of an Orwellian Ministry of Truth for the whole globe? Is it the initial “papal” endorsement? It is important to think long-term. Francis is a big fan of putting the necessary premises in place so he can draw their conclusions later. Already he is praising “those institutional and legal initiatives aimed at developing regulations for curbing the phenomenon….” Really, the one thing worse than having to sift through the news to tell the true from the false is to have the Freemasonic elites and other anti-Catholic oligarchs of the world tell us what is true and what is false!
And yet it is clear that the only way to effectively combat fake news is to impose censorship. Is this where all the obsession about fake news is headed?
Censorship is not wrong as long as it is Catholic censorship imposed by a lawful Catholic authority, ecclesiastical or civil. But such is only possible or desirable in a Catholic confessional state, not in any secular or otherwise non-Catholic nation, such as all countries of the world are at this point, including the United States. There is a reason why the Catholic Church requires that any writings on faith, morals, and related subjects receive the official approval from the diocesan authorities before they are allowed to be published (typically the nihil obstat and imprimatur); there is a reason why Holy Mother Church has an Index of Forbidden Books. These things are legislated in Canons 1384-1405 of the Code of Canon Law promulgated by Pope Benedict XV in 1917.
Presumptuously appealing to the “mature conscience of the faithful” and expressing a foolish “hope in the vigilant care of the individual Ordinaries and of the Episcopal Conferences”, “Pope” Paul VI in 1966 ordered the suppression of the Index of Forbidden Books (see Notification Post Litteras Apostolicas) and later reduced the required Church approbation for books to a minimum. Despite the typical specks of plausible deniability that are always included in a document like this, whether tucked away in a subordinate clause or buried in a footnote, it is clear that the Modernist Vatican has fostered the idea that Catholics ought not to be given a spiritual babysitter who tells them what is and isn’t safe for them to read.
And now they’re complaining about the proliferation of fake news.
Oh, the irony.
Image source: Wikipedia, modified
License: CC BY-SA 3.0