Pope says everyone must receive the COVID-19 vaccine before entering heaven – true or false?
There is currently a message doing the rounds on social media that Pope Francis made an announcement that “God has informed him of a new requirement to enter Heaven: everyone must now receive the COVID-19 vaccine before entering the pearly gates.”
The origin of the message can be traced back to the website of Babylon Bee: https://babylonbee.com/news/pope-francis-says-covid-vaccine-will-now-be-required-to-enter-heaven
The article reads as follows: “This is very important for the salvation of all people on Earth,” Pope Francis explained. “We know that God lets everybody into Heaven because He loves us all and He doesn’t really care what kind of mischief we get ourselves into in this life, but we must be wary of the greatest earthly sin of all: not getting the COVID-19 vaccine. God has informed me that He will not let you into Heaven unless you have received BOTH DOSES of this very safe vaccine.”
Here are three simple steps in separating the news from the noise
- CHECK THE SOURCE
Babylon Bee describes themselves on their website as a “Satire Website” – which means that all their articles are intentionally created to be false, funny, or are written in anger to make a point about a genuine injustice or tragic issue, but they can cause a major disturbance when they are taken for serious news.
All satire websites are required to legally state somewhere that their reports are satirical, so look for a link on the website that says “ABOUT” or “ABOUT US”. If you scroll down on the Babylon Bee website you will find the following description of themselves:
“The Babylon Bee is the world’s best satire site, totally inerrant in all its truth claims. We write satire about Christian stuff, political stuff, and everyday life.
The Babylon Bee was created ex nihilo on the eighth day of the creation week, exactly 6,000 years ago. We have been the premier news source through every major world event, from the Tower of Babel and the Exodus to the Reformation and the War of 1812. We focus on just the facts, leaving spin and bias to other news sites like CNN and Fox News.
If you would like to complain about something on our site, take it up with God.”
- USE COMMON SENSE
Common sense would lead us to understand that the Pope will never make proclamations of this nature. Using common-sense might sound like the obvious but very often the topic is something so close to the heart that the reader will believe it before weighing the facts. Remember if it is too good to be true it probably is. If the message reveals extremely important information that nobody else is talking about in reputable media sources, be very suspicious.
Another way of using common sense is by simply looking at the content of the email. If the aim of the email seems more at persuading than informing the reader, be suspicious. Hoaxers are more interested in pushing people’s emotional buttons than communicating accurate information. Read carefully and think critically about what the message says, looking for logical inconsistencies, violations of common sense, and blatantly false claims.
Then start your research…
By research we don’t mean reading up on sites you always visit. When it relates to the Catholic Church or the Pope don’t visit sites that will confirm a negative bias. Go to Catholic websites and read about the Papal institution. Do yourself a favour and watch the docudrama “A man of his Word” and try and discover the inconsistencies in what you read on social media. Watch him kiss the feet of prisoners, listen to his confession of faith, see the simplicity of his life and understand his deep relationship with Christ.
Research is looking at ALL the information, from ALL sides, and taking EVERYTHING into consideration, with an OPEN mind and a CHRISTLIKE spirit.
Research will further lead to a deeper understanding of what the Pope represents and that he, and the Church, will never make proclamations of this nature