Faith

Pope Warns That 'Fake News' Is a 'Sickness' Comparable to Eating Excrement

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand speaks at a press conference in Gretna, La., Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016, where he announced the arrest of Ronald Gasser, in connection with the road rage shooting of former NFL player Joe McKnight. Gasser was arrested late Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, jailed on a charge of manslaughter. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Pope Francis has joined the “fake news” debate. In a new interview with the Belgian Catholic publication Tertio, the pontiff took aim at both purveyors and consumers of disinformation, utilizing some provocative language to convey his point. From Yahoo News:

Using precise psychological terms, he said scandal-mongering media risked falling prey to coprophilia, or arousal from excrement, and consumers of these media risked coprophagia, or eating excrement.

The Argentine-born pontiff excused himself for using such terms in order to get his point across while answering a question about the correct use of the media.

“I think the media have to be very clear, very transparent, and not fall into—no offence intended—the sickness of coprophilia, that is, always wanting to cover scandals, covering nasty things, even if they are true,” he said.

“And since people have a tendency towards the sickness of coprophagia, a lot of damage can be done.”

Pope Francis called disinformation a sin, which stands as a fairly solid theological point. “Thou shalt not bear false witness” and such. Notably, his criticism expounds beyond mere lies, to reporting which is true but scandalous. Presumably, he means that truthful statements should be uttered with truthful purpose, to provide real value and not merely titillate.