By now you’ve probably seen your Facebook timeline or Twitter feeds erupt with posts by Catholics sharing an alleged news piece by Diversity Chronicle about Pope Francis declaring all religions equal.

Some of the more exuberant posts probably say ‘Hurrah for Pope Francis for saying it like it is’ or ‘I love Pope Francis for this’ etc. 

Here’s the problem: Every single word in that piece is a lie. It’s fake. 

 

I’ve been inundated with people asking me on a daily basis about this piece, and here I’ve compiled a para by para (and in some cases line by line) critique of the piece, and hope it helps you understand why it is important not to believe a single word of it. For your own soul’s sake.

(The original text will be copy pasted, and will be in italics to differentiate between that and my own commentary. I will not be pasting the entire text as much is simply filler text).

First and foremost: Diversity Chronicle is a satire site. Not a single article on the site is true. The founder of the site writes the pieces, and has himself in the Disclaimer said “The original content on this blog is largely satirical.” and ” My name is Erik Thorson. I created this blog for my own personal amusement.”

If the above two lines haven’t already convinced you, read on. I’ve had to paste the disclaimer here also for those who know it is satire and are wondering why I’m taking it seriously. I’m taking it seriously because others are taking it as truth.

The headline: POPE FRANCIS CONDEMNS RACISM AND DECLARES THAT “ALL RELIGIONS ARE TRUE” AT HISTORIC THIRD VATICAN COUNCIL

A headline is usually a summary of the most important element of a news piece, and indicates what the piece will be reporting about. Here it uses the word ‘declare’. By placing it in the headline, Diversity Chronicle is making it appear as though this is from a public speech by Pope Francis. It isn’t. He never said this.

For the last six months, Catholic cardinals, bishops and theologians have been deliberating in Vatican City, discussing the future of the church and redefining long-held Catholic doctrines and dogmas. The Third Vatican Council, is undoubtedly the largest and most important since the Second Vatican Council was concluded in 1962.

There has been no Third Vatican Council. If you speak to your elders who were in their 20s and 30s in the 1960s, they will tell you that the Second Vatican Council was a big deal. Every major newspaper and channel in the world covered its key moments, and its opening and closing were front page news. If a Third Vatican Council was called today in the world of social media and instant news as well as mobile viral communication, everyone would have known. A simple search on a search engine will show you that only this site claims there’s been a Third Vatican Council. Why isn’t it on the Vatican’s home page?

Pope Francis convened the new council to “finally finish the work of the Second Vatican Council.”

This sentence is a major red flag. The Second Vatican Council’s work never required ‘finishing’. It was authoritative, its teachings, findings and decisions articulated in all its finality in a volume creatively called The Second Vatican Council by various Catholic publishers. Secondly, to say it requires finishing is to claim something was left incomplete. Again, a simple search online on the ‘Second Vatican Council’ will tell you everything you need to know. The sad bit is, so many Catholics today have no idea how this Council positively affected their lives, hence they believe the words ‘requires finishing’. 

While some traditionalists and conservative reactionaries on the far right have decried these efforts, they have delighted progressives around the world.

How can anyone decry efforts that haven’t been made? In the same vein, how can any progressives delight in something that hasn’t happened?

The Third Vatican Council concluded today with Pope Francis announcing that Catholicism is now a “modern and reasonable religion, which has undergone evolutionary changes.

If there had indeed been a Third Vatican Council and it had concluded ‘today’, surely major Catholics news sites and the Vatican’s websites would be talking about it. They aren’t. Because it never happened. 

Also, ‘modern and reasonable religion’? Not a single doctrine of the Church has changed in 2000 years. Hence, it’s always been ‘modern’ in a way. Whatever Pope Francis has been really saying over the past year that has made the media and the public happy with him has been true Catholic teaching since the beginning of the Church. To claim the religion has undergone ‘evolutionary changes’ is an outright lie, in short.

The time has come to abandon all intolerance.

This is not something new Pope Francis has said. Since his election to the Papacy, he’s always said intolerance is wrong. To claim he’s said ‘the time has come’ is once again to manipulate this to get clicks.

We must recognize that religious truth evolves and changes. Truth is not absolute or set in stone.

Here’s what Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘truth’ as: “in accordance with fact”

and on ‘religious truth’ as mentioned above: “a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality”.

Truth never changes. That’s why truth is maintained as the utmost standard of fact. To say that religious truth changes is to say that nothing in that religion is true. Truth definitely IS set in stone and is absolute. 

 

Even atheists acknowledge the divine.

By this line alone you should have stopped and closed your browser. If atheists acknowledged the divine, they wouldn’t be atheists.

Through acts of love and charity the atheist acknowledges God as well, and redeems his own soul, becoming an active participant in the redemption of humanity.”

First of all, this paragraph is highly insulting to atheists. Secondly, you can’t be an ‘active’ participant in redemption unless you acknowledge Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour who died for your sins. That is what active participation means. 

In fact, the Catholic meaning of ‘active participation in redemption’ simply means one thing: partaking in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. They must be confused atheists.

“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.

False, The Church has never said hell doesn’t exist literally. In fact, the dogma of hell has always and forever will be a fact in Christianity. If it didn’t believe in hell, why doesn’t it do away with the Sacrament of Reconciliation?

This doctrine is incompatible with the infinite love of God. God is not a judge but a friend and a lover of humanity. God seeks not to condemn but only to embrace.

God is indeed infinite love. In His infinite love He sent His own Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins that we may not suffer hell. If hell didn’t exist, why would God want His son to die such a horrifying death? The Creed says ‘He went down into Hell’. So either for 2000 years we’ve been reciting falsehoods in the Creed or this is another falsehood.

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” Pope Francis declared.

The Catholic Church has always maintained that Adam and Eve existed. How, what the story means, etc are all not to be taken literally, however their existence itself has never been contested by the Church. To claim that Pope Francis ‘declared’ it a fable is to lie. Period.

Also, to say all souls ultimately will be united in love with God is to say once again that the Sacrament of Reconciliation is no longer needed. In fact, it is to say Mass is no longer needed, by proxy.

In a speech that shocked many, the Pope claimed “All religions are true, because they are true in the hearts of all those who believe in them. What other kind of truth is there? 

I’d like to know who this speech ‘shocked’, if no one reported the speech in the first place. 

Secondly, if the Pope had indeed claimed all religions true, why haven’t any Muslim, Hindu or Jew leaders said anything? Because they know he hasn’t made any such claims. Also, to ask what other kind of truth is there is to reduce ‘facts’ to mere emotions. What I ‘feel’ in my heart to be true is true. That’s not truth, that’s anecdote.

Our church is big enough for heterosexuals and homosexuals, for the pro-life and the pro-choice! 

Red flag again. No, not the homosexuals bit. Enough has been truthfully said by Pope Francis and ethically reported over the last year on his and the Church’s stance on love for homosexuals. No, what I’m talking about is ‘Pro-choice’. 

Pope Francis has never once wavered in his opposition to abortion. In fact, the strongest and angriest words he’s had since his election – after poverty and global hunger – has been for abortion. It has been categorically stated by Him and previous Popes and the Church that abortion will never, ever be compatible with Church teaching. 

This statement was not just a lie, it was a slap in the face of unborn children.

…even communists are welcome and have joined us. We all love and worship the same God

Communists worshiping the same God as Christianity? 

One statement in the Pope’s speech has sent traditionalists into a fit of confusion and hysteria. 

Whoever wrote this really likes their hyperbole. ‘Fit of confusion and hysteria’. Really? Where? I haven’t seen any news or anything such thing by any traditionalists. You’d think if it was SO huge, someone would have said something by now.

The Bible is a beautiful holy book, but like all great and ancient works, some passages are outdated.

Wow. The Church has taught for always taught that the Bible – the eternal Word of God – is infallible and has been written for all time, with its teachings the inerrant, divine Word of God’s own tongue’. The above line is a lie.

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. 

You’d think if the above was true and was really spoken by him, women around the world would have said something. No? Especially feminists and those who fight for equality.

Wagging his finger sternly with righteous indignation, the Pope shouted “Racism today is the ultimate evil in the world.and raising his voice and pounding the podium in front of him. 

Wagging his finger? With righteous indignation? He shouted? Pounded the podium? Which means somewhere there’s a video of this, right? No. There isn’t. So how did this write know he did this?

Also, anyone who’s seen Pope Francis speak knows two things: he hardly ever uses a podium and he never shouts or raises his voice.

Whether we call God, Jesus, Adonai, Allah or Krishna, we all worship the same God of love

Krishna? The Hindu concept of gods is radically different from any concept of the Abrahamic Jehovah/Yahweh/Allah. This in itself is a red flag. A Pope would never make such a mistake.

We will consider excommunication for those whose souls willingly dwell in the darkness and evil of intolerance and racism. 

Excommunicate? The rules which state when a Catholic will be excommunicated are extremely, extremely harsh and are only brought into effect under very dire circumstances. That is why we have the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To say a Pope – someone who knows the laws of the Church inside out – would say this so flippantly is to be a fool.

There is an entire paragraph and more claiming that Cardinal Arinze of Nigeria has called Pope Francis a heretic and is leaving the Church. This is false. Cardinal Arinze is a firm friend of Pope Francis and one of the leading voices of Catholicism in Africa. He has made no such statement, in fact he is in full support of Pope Francis’ efforts for Africa. Another lie, in fact a massive one, considering that this fake article has been extensively shared on African websites.

In an angry and vitriolic rant revealing deep self-hating tendencies, the African Cardinal Arinze stated

Cardinal Arinze is a soft-spoken, humble and loving man. This above is a fabrication claiming the Cardinal has problems he does not have.

Finally:  with reports of some small parishes and a few cardinals and bishops defecting, 

Not a single Cardinal or Bishop has defected to this date after Pope Francis’ election. 

As you can see, the entire article is a fabrication. I don’t hold the author accountable as he has clearly stated it is satire. All of it.

I hold accountable those Catholics who have such little faith in their own Church that they would sway with anything that sounds good to them. In fact, many Catholics like this article because they feel ‘finally, atheists and others will see that we are a modern church’. 

We’ve always been a modern Church. Modern doesn’t mean changing the truth. It means changing how you expose the truth. 

Here’s hoping that when the Third Vatican Council does take place, we know what happened at the Second Vatican Council in the first place!

Otherwise we’d be like people who watch The Dark Knight Rises without having watched the first two, and then claim to know all that the third movie refers to from those two films. 

Let’s stop being cafeteria Catholics. Let’s own our faith and our Holy Father.