FALSE: ‘Photo’ of Pope Francis staring at a woman’s chest

FALSE: ‘Photo’ of Pope Francis staring at a woman’s chest
Pope Francis' picture is stitched with a photo of an Argentine model who has been shown in past manipulated photos with the Pope

Claim: A photo posted on Facebook showed Pope Francis supposedly looking at a woman’s chest.

Last Thursday, January 2, Facebook user Jenifer Rabanal posted the photo with the caption, “By looking at it, the Pope is a human being after all.” The photo was shared 111 times on Facebook as of writing and got 169 reactions and 48 comments.

Facebook Claim Check, the social media network’s tool that identifies suspicious posts spread across the platform, flagged Rabanal’s post for fact checking. It was already viewed 16,100 times on Facebook as of writing, according to the tool.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: The photo of the Pope looking at a braless woman’s chest was manipulated using separate photos of Pope Francis taken in Bolivia, and of Argentine model Victoria Xipolitakis in Paraguay.

Both photos were taken in 2015 during the Pope’s homecoming tour in July that year, when he visited Ecuador, Bolivia, and Paraguay.

The unedited photo of Pope Francis first appeared in a HuffPost article dated July 9, 2015. The article, titled “Pope Perplexed By Gift Of Hammer And Sickle Carved With Crucifix,” was accompanied by a photo of the Pope with a serious look on his face as he looked closely at Bolivia’s gift.

Meanwhile, the original photo of Xipolitakis also came out in July 2015, as pointed out in a similar fact-check piece by Rappler in 2018. The real photo of the model only showed her waving to a crowd. (READ: HOAX: Pope Francis ‘kisses’ model on the chest)

According to UK tabloid Daily Express, Xipolitakis wanted to meet Pope Francis in Paraguay during his visit but was escorted away for wearing a “revealing top without a bra.” Reports said Xipolitakis and the Pope did not meet in person at that event.

The manipulated photo was first shared online in 2015 based on reverse image search, but it is being circulated again recently. – Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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