Debunked: 5 Controversial Things Pope Francis Did NOT Say
Pope Francis did not say these things!
Throughout the past 10 years of Pope Francis’ papacy, various news outlets and individuals misquoted or twisted the Holy Father’s words and phrases.
This often leads to widespread confusion among the faithful.
Below are five things Pope Francis did not say. Some phrases were either taken out of context, or he did not say them at all.
1) “Who am I to judge?”
The media paraphrased “who am I to judge?” into something Pope Francis did not say.
Often, secular press outlets will twist his words to imply the Church approves or will change her teaching on homosexual unions.
However, the Holy Father clarified this statement in Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli’s book, “The Name of God is Mercy.”
“On that occasion I said this: If a person is gay and seeks out the Lord and is willing, who am I to judge that person?” Pope Francis said. “I was paraphrasing by heart the Catechism of the Catholic Church, where it says that these people should be treated with delicacy and not be marginalized.”
“I am glad that we are talking about ‘homosexual people’ because before all else comes the individual person, in his wholeness and dignity. And people should not be defined only by their sexual tendencies: let us not forget that God loves all his creatures and we are destined to receive his infinite love.
“I prefer that homosexuals come to confession, that they stay close to the Lord, and that we pray all together. You can advise them to pray, show goodwill, show them the way, and accompany them along it.”
2) “You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven.”
The Independent created a headline that reads, “Pope Francis assures atheists: You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven.”
However, Pope Francis never said this.
Here’s the original quote:
“First of all, you ask if the God of the Christians forgives those who do not believe and do not seek faith. Given that—and this is fundamental—God’s mercy has no limits if he who asks for mercy does so in contrition and with a sincere heart, the issue for those who do not believe in God is in obeying their own conscience.
“In fact, listening and obeying it, means deciding about what is perceived to be good or to be evil. The goodness or the wickedness of our behavior depends on this decision.”
While Pope Francis did not clarify if non-believers go to heaven, he did not say “you don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven.”
3) “The Quran and the Bible are the same.”
While Pope Francis encourages interreligious dialogue, he never said “the Quran and the Bible are the same.”
Some outlets even reported that he said Christianity and Islam should merge. However, the Vatican debunked these claims.
4) “I don’t believe in hell.”
The late Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari reported that Pope Francis denied hell’s existence in a March 2018 interview, which the Vatican debunked in a statement.
“What is reported by the author…is the result of his reconstruction, in which the literal words pronounced by the Pope are not quoted,” The Vatican said in their response. “No quotation of the aforementioned article must therefore be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father.”
Pope Francis spoke about hell in public speeches.
In 2014, he warned mafia members to repent “while there is still time, so that you do not end up in hell. That is what awaits you if you continue on this path.”
5) “Don’t breed like rabbits.”
In a 2015 interview, Pope Francis stirred controversy with this quote:
“Some think that — excuse the language — that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits. No. Responsible parenthood.”
However, many mainstream media outlets took his words out of context, resulting in mass confusion among Catholics, especially those with big families.
In this statement, Pope Francis merely encourages responsible parenthood. He never said “don’t breed like rabbits,” nor did he contradict the Church’s teaching on birth control and contraception.
Here’s the full context:
“I met a woman some months ago in a parish who was pregnant with her eighth child, who had had seven C-sections,” Pope Francis explained. “But does she want to leave the seven as orphans? This is to tempt God. I speak of responsible paternity. This is the way: a responsible paternity.”
“[That woman might say], ‘No, but I trust in God.’ But God gives you methods to be responsible. Some think that, excuse me if I use that word, in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits. No. Responsible parenthood! This is clear, and that is why, in the Church, there are marriage groups; there are experts in this matter; there are pastors one can seek [out], and I know so many, many ways that are licit and that have helped this.”
Don’t believe everything you read!
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[See also: Pope Francis Canonized Almost 1000 Saints During His Papacy – Here’s Some of Them]
[See also: When Pope Francis Got Stuck in a Vatican Elevator]
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