Fact checks about Church figures

FACT CHECK: Pope Francis quote on eating ‘whatever you want’ during Lent is fake


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FACT CHECK: Pope Francis quote on eating ‘whatever you want’ during Lent is fake
Pope Francis’ message for Lent in 2024, on the theme ‘Through the Desert God Leads us to Freedom,’ doesn’t contain the alleged quote

Claim: In his 2024 message for Lent, Pope Francis said it’s all right to eat “whatever” one wants during Lent. 

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The claim has been posted by multiple social media users on Facebook and TikTok. 

What the video says: The posts show an alleged quote from the Pope’s message for Lent that reads:

“Eat whatever you want for Easter, the sacrifice is not in the stomach, but in the heart. They refrain from eating meat, but don’t talk to their siblings or relatives, don’t visit their parents or bother them to attend to them. Don’t share food with the needy, forbid children to see their father, forbid grandparents to see their grandchildren, criticize other people’s lives, beat their wife, etc., A good barbeque or beef stew won’t make you a bad person, just like a fish fillet won’t turn you into a saint. Better seek to have a deeper relationship with God through better treatment of others let’s be less arrogant and more humble at heart.”

The facts: The quote is nowhere to be found in Pope Francis’ official message for Lent this year which is publicly available on the official Holy See Press Office website.

The Pope’s message, on the theme, “Through the desert God leads us to freedom,” didn’t mention anything about what to eat during Lent. It centers on the Pope’s call for the public to “desire to open our eyes to reality,” stressing the need to counter a “globalization of indifference.” Pope Francis also said in his message that Lent is a time to pause and pray, “like the Samaritan in the presence of a wounded brother or sister.” 

Vatican News, the official news portal of the Holy See under the Vatican Dicastery for Communication, has a published article on the Pope’s message for Lent in 2024. The Pope’s fake quote is also nowhere to be found in that article. 

Penitential period: February 14, Ash Wednesday, marks the start of the 40-day penitential period of Lent. For Catholics, it is a period of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that commemorates the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert. It leads to Holy Week, a memorial of Christ’s passion and death, and Easter, the greatest feast of Christianity. – Lorenz Pasion/Rappler.com

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