Fake Pope Francis Quote Takes Internet By Storm

If you move in Catholic circles on Facebook, you’ve probably seen the following quote, allegedly spoken by Pope Francis at World Youth Day this week, being passed around:

“We need saints without cassocks, without veils – we need saints with jeans and tennis shoes. We need saints that go to the movies that listen to music, that hang out with their friends. We need saints that place God in first place ahead of succeeding in any career. We need saints that look for time to pray every day and who know how to be in love with purity, chastity and all good things. We need saints – saints for the 21st century with a spirituality appropriate to our new time. We need saints that have a commitment to helping the poor and to make the needed social change.

We need saints to live in the world, to sanctify the world and to not be afraid of living in the world by their presence in it. We need saints that drink Coca-Cola, that eat hot dogs, that surf the internet and that listen to their iPods. We need saints that love the Eucharist, that are not afraid or embarrassed to eat a pizza or drink a beer with their friends. We need saints who love the movies, dance, sports, theater. We need saints that are open sociable normal happy companions. we need saints who are in this world and who know how to enjoy the best in this world without being callous or mundane. We need saints.”

- Pope Francis (World Youth Day 2013)

The thing is, it’s a totally fake quote. There’s no evidence that Pope Francis ever said it.

Google around a bit, and you’ll find versions (some written as verse, many with slight variations) dating back to 2010. Some are attributed to Pope John Paul II, some to Pope Benedict XVI, some say that it is Pope Francis quoting John Paul II or Benedict XVI. One thing you will absolutely not find, however, is any quote of the text on the Vatican website or a reputable Catholic news source, because none of these popes ever said this.

If one gives it an extra moment’s thought, it seems particularly unlikely that Pope Francis would choose World Youth Day to give a shout out to global brands such as Coca-Cola and Apple, in saying that we need saints who use their products.

Of course, one of the problems with a faux Francis getting so much attention is that it draws things away from the things that Pope Francis really has been saying at World Youth Day this week, such as:

“It is true that nowadays, to some extent, everyone, including our young people, feels attracted by the many idols which take the place of God and appear to offer hope: money, success, power, pleasure. Often a growing sense of loneliness and emptiness in the hearts of many people leads them to seek satisfaction in these ephemeral idols. Dear brothers and sisters, let us be lights of hope! Let us maintain a positive outlook on reality.” [source]

and

Jesus has shown us that the face of God is that of a loving Father. Sin and death have been defeated. Christians cannot be pessimists! They do not look like someone in constant mourning. If we are truly in love with Christ and if we sense how much he loves us, our heart will “light up” with a joy that spreads to everyone around us. As Benedict XVI said here, in this Shrine: “the disciple knows that without Christ, there is no light, no hope, no love, no future” [source]

You can access all of Pope Francis’s addresses from World Youth Day on the Vatican website.

8 Responses to Fake Pope Francis Quote Takes Internet By Storm

  • “The problem with internet quotes is that you can’t always depend on their accuracy” -Abraham Lincoln, 1864

  • I thought I recalled you had a really good post on fake quotes, which I was going to link to, but I couldn’t find it at the moment.

  • Quotes falsely attributed to Mother Teresa are so numerous that the nuns set up an internet page just to correct folks’ erroneous assumptions.

    http://www.motherteresa.org/08_info/Quotesf.html

  • “I thought I recalled you had a really good post on fake quotes, which I was going to link to, but I couldn’t find it at the moment.”

    I have been meaning to do one for years although I have yet to get around to it. I have railed against fake quotes in the comboxes:

    “preach the Gospel always, if necessary, use words.”

    A good story G-Veg, but I wish to point out that Saint Francis never said that. That is a modern formulation from the 1990s.

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Francis_of_Assisi

    This popped up in the 1990s and you now see it repeated endlessly throughout Saint Blogs.

    Fake quotes are abhorrent to me since they lend authority to a phrase to which it is not entitled. With the advent of the internet fake quotes gain credence because so many people repeat them. Three examples: “We sleep safely in our beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on our behalf.” attributed to George Orwell is a fake quote that is repeated endlessly. “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.” is a favorite George Washington quote that he never uttered. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” was never said by Edmund Burke. – See more at: http://the-american-catholic.com/2013/01/02/portents-of-doom/#sthash.OQFVeozf.dpuf

  • ““The problem with internet quotes is that you can’t always depend on their accuracy” -Abraham Lincoln, 1864.” ” First good laugh I have had today.

  • “We sleep safely in our beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on our behalf.” attributed to George Orwell is a fake quote that is repeated endlessly. “We sleep safely in our beds at night because generous souls stand ready to protect and defend peace. “edited.

    “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.” is a favorite George Washington quote that he never uttered. “Government is the will of the people for the common good” edited
    “We are all called to be great saints. Don’t miss the opportunity.” Mother Angelica of EWTN.
    The quote refers to people as “that”. Persons must be referred to as “who”, because of the Holy Spirit in their souls. God is “I AM WHO I AM”. In days past, people were counted by their soul: 200 souls were aboard the boat.

  • This is a different question but related to possible false quotes. I heard on my local radio station this morning that Pope Francis was quoted on his flight back to Rome something in to the fact that he will not judge gay priests. Is this true?

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