Bootnotes

Irony's lost on old Pope Francis: Pontiff decrees fake news a 'serious sin'

Oo, awkward

By Kat Hall

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Christmas is typically a busy time of year for the Holy Father, but thankfully Pope Francis has found time to decree that made-up stories are a "serious sin".

In fact, @Pontifex plans to dedicate his upcoming annual communications message to this pressing world problem of "fake news", according to Associated Press. He told Catholic media on Saturday that journalists perform a mission that is among the most "fundamental" to democratic societies.

But he reminded them to provide precise, complete, correct and unbiased reports.

The Pope said: "You shouldn't fall into the 'sins of communication': disinformation, or giving just one side, calumny that is sensationalised, or defamation, looking for things that are old news and have been dealt with and bringing them to light today."

He said those actions are a "grave sin that hurts the heart of the journalist and hurts others".

Francis has not shied away from addressing the problems brought by technology since his papacy began in 2013. He has previously told followers to put their smartphones away at dinner, warning that they risk damaging family life, and said happiness cannot be found in apps.

Anyway, thank God someone has taken the unprecedented step of speaking out against made-up stories that have no bearing in fact but are nonetheless taken as gospel... ®

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