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PopeWatch: Do Bad Reporters Go to Heaven?

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

 

PopeWatch is sure that everyone who reads this has also read a breathless report that Pope Francis has said that all animals go to Heaven.  The only problem with all these reports is that they are rubbish.  David Gibson takes a look at this Dog’s Breakfast in bad journalism:

When Pope Francis recently sought to comfort a distraught boy whose dog had died, the pontiff took the sort of pastoral approach he is famous for — telling the youngster not to worry, that he would one day see his pet in heaven.

“Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures,” Francis said reassuringly.

It was a sparkling moment on a rainy November day, and the setting in St. Peter’s Square only burnished Francis’ reputation as a kindly “people’s pope.” The story naturally lit up social media, became instant promotional material for vegetarians and animal rights groups, and on Friday even made it to the front page of The New York Times.

There’s only one problem: none of it ever happened.

Yes, a version of that quotation was uttered by a pope, but it was said decades ago by Paul VI, who died in 1978. There is no evidence that Francis repeated the words during his public audience on Nov. 26, as has been widely reported, nor was there was a boy mourning his dead dog.

So how could such a fable so quickly become taken as fact?

Part of the answer may be the topic of the pope’s talk to the crowd that day, which centered on the End Times and the transformation of all creation into a “new heaven” and a “new earth.” Citing St. Paul in the New Testament, Francis said that is not “the annihilation of the cosmos and of everything around us, but the bringing of all things into the fullness of being.”

The trail of digital bread crumbs then appears to lead to an Italian news report that extended Francis’ discussion of a renewed creation to the question of whether animals too will go to heaven.

“One day we will see our pets in the eternity of Christ,” the report quoted Paul VI as telling a disconsolate boy years ago.

The story was titled, somewhat misleadingly: “Paradise for animals? The Pope doesn’t rule it out.” It wasn’t clear which pope the writer meant, however.

The next day, Nov. 27, a story in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera by veteran Vaticanista Gian Guido Vecchi pushed the headline further: “The Pope and pets: “Paradise is open to all creatures.”

Vecchi faithfully recounted the pope’s talk about a new creation, and also cited Paul VI’s remark.

Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch didn’t run with the original story because it was never properly sourced and now we know why.  When it comes to journalism never underestimate laziness and an unwillingness to examine sources.

 

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

17 Comments

  1. Good question; “Do bad reporters go to Heaven?”

    I wonder about the msm and agenda biased reporting. After all, lies and heaven just don’t seem to go hand in hand.

    Dogs? Yes…there are dogs that report the news…many of them.

  2. The human heart seeks out Jesus in all venues. Seek ye the truth and all else will be added.
    .
    “”Do bad reporters go to Heaven?””. ““The Pope and pets: “Paradise is open to all creatures.”” Yes, paradise is open to all creatures, but can bad reporters get in with all their baggage?

  3. General Sherman had an opinion on journalists and salvation.
    .

    William Tecumseh Sherman:
    “I hate newspapermen. They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are. If I killed them all there would be news from Hell before breakfast.”

  4. Thanks for reporting this. We euthanized our elderly dog a few weeks ago. I really didn’t need something else to feel guilty about. I can just imagine her little furry face looking up at me in purgatory saying, “Why weren’t you willing to go spend the extra time and money on specialists for me like you did for your human children? I’m part of the family too. 10 years of fire for you!”

  5. “Why weren’t you willing to go spend the extra time and money on specialists for me like you did for your human children? I’m part of the family too. 10 years of fire for you!”

    Elderly pets are a problem since they tend to suffer so physically and they do not have the intellectual and spiritual life that humans do in such straits. When they pass from the scene it is wrenching, as Kipling knew:

    “When the fourteen years which Nature permits
    Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
    And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
    To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
    Then you will find—it’s your own affair—
    But … you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.”

    “Master, pity Thy Servant! He is deaf and three parts blind, He cannot catch Thy Commandments. He cannot read Thy Mind. Oh, leave him not in his loneliness; nor make him that kitten’s scorn. He has had none other God than Thee since the year that he was born!

    Lord, look down on Thy Servant! Bad things have come to pass, There is no heat in the midday sun nor health in the wayside grass. His bones are full of an old disease — his torments run and increase. Lord, make haste with Thy Lightnings and grant him a quick release!”

  6. Stupid and lazy reporters are nothing new. What really bothered me about this was the virtually unanimous declaration in the Catholic blogosphere that cats and dogs simply slip off into oblivion, never to be seen or heard from again, kind of like what atheists believe happen to all of us.

    Father Z quipped that if you believe dogs can go to Heaven, that also means they can go to Hell, but that is not necessarily the case. Animals certainly do not have immortal souls that are subject to judgment. They cannot tell right from wrong the way we do and could not be held responsible for their actions. But why does that mean that they cannot have immortal souls?

  7. Actually, I thought the real story here was that anyone hearing his account readily believed that Pope Francis made these comments. After all, it is consistent with his style of typically unguarded and unrestricted comments. However, if all dogs do go to heaven, I would doubt that PF would allow same for traditional Catholics.

  8. Pope quote: “[that is not] the annihilation of the cosmos and of everything around us, but the bringing of all things into the fullness of being.”
    .
    No. St, John the Evangelist disagrees. The old Earth and the old firmament will flee from God’s presence; and the New Earth and the New Heaven will come into the possession of redeemed Mankind
    .
    “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more”
    (Revelation 21: 1)
    “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it; from His presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.”
    (Revelation 20 v11
    For more on animals and heaven:
    http://www.popeleo13.com/pope/2014/12/14/category-archive-message-board-201-animals-and-heaven/

  9. Mrs. Zummo:
    I am sorry you had to suffer the loss of your beloved pet. Your pet will live on in your memory of her and with your memory of her, she will go to heaven with you, as you and I prayerfully (doing God’s will) will go to heaven with Christ.
    .
    “Why weren’t you willing to go spend the extra time and money on specialists for me like you did for your human children? I’m part of the family too. 10 years of fire for you!”
    .
    Your pet does not think or feel this way. They, like humans if humans give themselves the chance, know when death is near and usually go into the forest and lay down to “rest”. Put the money into the poor box. That poor box expiates for all kinds of grief.(and the poor pray for us). Your pet will be happy for you.

  10. Paul W Primavera: “I think dogs are more deserving of heaven than liberal news reporters and Democrat politicians.”

    .
    I cannot agree with you more.
    .
    Brian English: ” But why does that mean that they cannot have immortal souls?”
    .
    because animals are not made in the image of our infinite God.

  11. This discussion is important to bring to the surface again in today’s culture because so many animal rights activists seem to want to blur the lines between the dignity that man has as Imago Dei and the lower created ones, who also depend for the breath of life, upon God.
    .
    But as regards heaven and animals, I tend to think of the Peaceful Kingdom told in Isaiah 11:
    6The wolf shall live with the lamb,
       the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
    the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
       and a little child shall lead them.
    7 The cow and the bear shall graze,
       their young shall lie down together;
       and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
    8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
       and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
    9 They will not hurt or destroy
       on all my holy mountain;
    for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
       as the waters cover the sea.

  12. Pope quote: “…[That is not] the annihilation of the cosmos and of everything around us, but the bringing of all things into the fullness of being.” Thank you, cpola, for highlighting this point:

    PF’s outlook here is remarkably like Teilhard de Chardin’s “redemption”, occurring by the convergence of natural evolution and its order with the supernatural order inChrist’s 2nd Coming (the famous “Omega Point”). De Chardin’s position is that Christ’s primary work is to lead the physical/natural order to “cosmic redemption”, and the conquest of evil is only 2ndry to His purpose. (The Phenomenon of Man). Sounds like de Chardin has achieved the perfect Omega Point in Pope Francis.

    [However, the traditional Catholic funeral rite (commendation of the soul, responsory Libera Me): the world will be judged by fire, not ushered into a New Aquarian Age :
    “That day, day of wrath, calamity and misery, day of great and exceeding bitterness, When thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.”
    Dies illa, dies iræ, calamitátis et misériæ, dies magna et amára valde.
    Dum véneris iudicáre sǽculum per ignem.]

  13. “because animals are not made in the image of our infinite God.”

    But that is not the issue. The issue is whether the Creator of the Universe is either unable or unwilling to grant eternal existence to certain of His creations. We know it is not that He is unable, so it would have to be that He is unwilling. I have never read a good explanation as to why that would be the case.

  14. Brian English
    :
    “”because animals are not made in the image of our infinite God.””

    “But that is not the issue. The issue is whether the Creator of the Universe is either unable or unwilling to grant eternal existence to certain of His creations. We know it is not that He is unable, so it would have to be that He is unwilling. I have never read a good explanation as to why that would be the case.
    .
    God is omnipresent, before all ages. The dog is with God, but the dog cannot appreciate the Beatific Vision, nor can the dog emulate the love of Jesus Christ for mankind. The dog cannot love in agape. Padre Pio said that he would wait outside of heaven until all of his spiritual children are safely inside. This is an act of the will. The dog does not have a free will and therefore cannot love like a saint.

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