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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Pope Francis Did NOT Say Masturbation Is No Longer A Sin

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Mon, 18 Feb 2019 21:50:36 Z)

Did Pope Francis declare masturbation is no longer a sin for followers of the Catholic Church? No, that's not true: the quote was made up by a Spanish website with a well hidden satire disclaimer and it later translated the story for its English language version.

The story went viral via an article published on February 17, 2019 by There Is News titled "Pope Francis says that masturbation is no longer a sin" (archived here) which opened:

There is no day that the Supreme Pontiff does not appear in the media all over the world, after saying something controversial or inappropriate that makes other members of the church feel bad.

The last surprise that Pope Francis has given us happened last Thursday when, after a converstaion about youth and its problems, he said that "masturbation is no longer considered a sin, Church must open its mind and updated about life, and must advance with it. Every man and woman has practiced it at least once, we can't deny it, so we can't continue saying that it is a sin, It is part of life and nature, and we must assume it".

Screenshot of https://thereisnews.com/pope-francis-says-that-masturbation-is-no-longer-a-sin/

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

Pope Francis says that masturbation is no longer a sin

There is no day that the Supreme Pontiff does not appear in the media all over the world, after saying something controversial or inappropriate that makes other members of the church feel bad. The last surprise that Pope Francis has given us happened last Thursday when, after a converstaion about youth and its

On December 7, 2018 the Spanish language sister site published this version of the hoax:

El Papa afirma que la masturbación ya no se considera pecado

No hay día que pase que el sumo Pontífice no salga en los Medios de Comunicación habiendo dado la nota con algún gesto, acto o comentario inesperado, provocando ello que desde curas a obispos se echen las manos a la cabeza evidenciando gran asombro.

Back then a Spanish religious humor website already felt it had to put the record straight:

¿El Papa Francisco ha dicho que esto ya no es pecado?

Viene circulando por todos lados un artículo del sitio web haynoticia.es en el que se afirma que el Papa Francisco ha declarado que la masturbación ya no es pecado. Y aunque es una noticia evidentemente falsa, voy a aclarar (una vez más) qué fue lo que en realidad ocurrió.

The site There Is News carries a "Legal Warging" (archived here) that reads:

Legal Warging

The site "There is news" (http://thereisnews.es) (hereinafter referred to as TIN) is a humor site whose purpose is entertainment.

The content of TIN is fiction and does not correspond to reality.

All references, names, brands or institutions that appear on the site are used as contextual elements, as in any novel or fiction account.

(Note that the site thereisnews.es doesn't exist, only the .com version is live).

The warning is deliberately made hard to find: the link in the footer is quasi-unreachable through the use of infinitely scrolling ads.

The site is the English language version of the Spanish satire site Hay Noticia, which is owned by Spanish humor website/collective La Fabrica de la Comedia S.C.

We wrote about thereisnews.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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Lead Stories uses the Trendolizer™ engine to detect the most trending stories from known fake news, satire and prank websites and tries to debunk them as fast as possible. Read more about how we work and how we select stories to check here.

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