This week the Pontifical Academy of Sciences hosted a workshop called “Biological Extinction: How to Save the Natural World on Which We Depend.” If you read the declaration on the workshop, or look at the workshop agenda, or read any of the articles linked on the Vatican’s website, it doesn’t seem controversial at all, and fits nicely with the role of the Church around the world.
And then…fake news!
I’m not buying it, for a lot of reasons:
- There is NO direct quote from the Pope. Couldn’t find it in the article, couldn’t find it on Vatican.va.
- It doesn’t jive with what he’s said earlier: Large Families are a gift to society.
- It doesn’t fit with the narrative of the workshop, which was focused on economic inequality, maintaining biodiversity and proper use of the Earth’s resources.
Nothing actually written by the workshop seemed out of line with the Catholic Church. If someone would like to comment and prove otherwise, please be my guest, I will gladly post again admitting I missed something.
The Pope needs to realize he has a fake news problem, and it’s hurting his Church. For reference, see the contrast between the media’s portrayal of Pope Benedict’s comments on homosexuality and Pope Francis’ comments. Despite saying almost the same thing, Benedict’s were largely ignored, while Francis’ comments were seen as changing fundamental Church doctrine. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The media is using fake news to rip apart the Catholic Church from the inside. By misquoting Pope Francis, it makes traditional-thinking Catholics think he’s extremely liberal, and it reinforces their wrong belief that Vatican II should be completely rejected. For Catholics who grew up after the 1960s, the media’s portrayal makes it look like it’s OK to accept ideas that are actually heretical (and ideas they have been pushing for some time now). For those of us in the middle, who like tradition but also try to understand the spirit of the Catechism, we get marginalized by both sides, and the media simply tries to overwhelm us with volume to silence our voices.
It’s nasty. As a military planner, this is the sort of thing I would want to do to my adversaries. The media are using fake news to tear down the Catholic Church in a way that could cause almost all persons to turn away from teaching and towards what makes us comfortable. We would do well to reject it and focus on understanding our Catechism and why we believe what we believe.
The post represents the views of the author alone, and does not represent the views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other federal agency.