Pope Francis decries governments using the ‘sin of whispering’ to the media to defame anyone who poses a threat
- During his morning homily the Pope denounced so-called ‘whisper campaigns’
- He did not name any country but said dictatorships would take control of media
- Earlier this year he called ‘fake news’ as evil and urged journalists to seek truth
Pope Francis has denounced governments and political leaders for discrediting their critics through ‘whisper’ campaigns, using the media to defame anyone who represents a threat.
During his morning homily on Thursday, Francis said such slander campaigns can infect relations in families, parishes and dioceses, as well as global politics.
He said the damage done by the ‘sin of whispering’ is particularly grave in politics ‘when a government isn’t honest and seeks to sling mud at its adversaries with whispers, defamation, calumny.’
Francis did not name any country, but said dictatorial governments are known for taking control of the media to ‘diminish anyone who represents a threat.’
Pope Francis, pictured in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican yesterday, has denounced governments and political leaders for discrediting their critics through ‘whisper’ campaigns
The Pope is this year dedicating his annual peace message to urging greater responsibility in politics.
The peace message comes ahead of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I this Sunday.
Earlier this year Francis denounced ‘fake news’ as evil and urged journalists to make it their mission to search for the truth.
Francis wrote that the first fake news dates from the Biblical beginning of time, when Eve was tempted to take an apple from the Garden of Eden based on disinformation from the serpent.
On that occasion he again did not name any politicians by name but many saw it as a reference to President Donald Trump who has frequently clashed with the media.
The two leaders met last year in the Vatican during Mr Trump’s first international trip as President.
In the message in January he called for a shared commitment to rediscovering the ‘dignity of journalism’.
He called for reporters to speak the truth with a journalism that is ‘truthful and opposed to falsehoods, rhetorical slogans, and sensational headlines’.
Pope Francis with Danish Crown Prince Frederik, left, and his wife Crown Princess Mary, right, at the Vatican today. He spoke out during his weekly homily