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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Pope Did NOT Say He Will Address Sex Abuse Scandal Once He's Finished Talking About Climate Change

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Fri, 17 Aug 2018 13:38:23 Z)

Did Pope Francis really say he was going to address the latest sex abuse scandal to hit the Catholic Church but only after he is finished talking about climate change? No, that's not true: the statement was made up by a Christian-themed satire website, it is not real, although many people believed it at first.

The story originated from an article published by The Babylon Bee on August 16, 2018 titled "Pope Says He Will Address Sex Abuse Scandal Once He's Finished Talking About Climate Change" (archived here) which opened:

VATICAN CITY--In his first public statement on the horrifying, devastating report on sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, Pope Francis stated he would address the controversy in detail once he's done talking about climate change for a few more weeks.

The head of the Roman Catholic Church claimed he is deeply concerned with the tragic report, but is "just too swamped" with work fighting climate change, criticizing capitalism, and advocating for other issues of social justice to talk about the repulsive report at the moment.

Screenshot of https://babylonbee.com/news/pope-says-he-will-address-sex-abuse-scandal-once-hes-finished-talking-about-climate-change/

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail, possibly leading them to think it was a legitimate news article:

Pope Says He Will Address Sex Abuse Scandal Once He's Finished Talking About Climate Change

VATICAN CITY--In his first public statement on the horrifying, devastating report on sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, Pope Francis stated he would address the controversy in detail once he's done talking about climate change for a few more weeks. The head of the Roman Catholic Church claimed he is deeply concerned with the tragic ...

But "The Babylon Bee" comes with following dislaimer on every page:

The Babylon Bee is Your Trusted Source For Christian News Satire.

The story got a big boost after conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro published it for his 4 million followers on Facebook without indicating it was a piece of satire:

In reality the Pope has condemned the sex abuse scandal and claimed to be on the victims' side:

Vatican condemns sex abuse described in Pennsylvania grand jury report

VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican has condemned sexual abuse described in a Pennsylvania grand jury report and said Pope Francis is on the victims' side. "The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible," the Vatican said Thursday in a statement.

We wrote about babylonbee.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk
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