Fake front-page on Vatican newspaper rubbishes Pope

Fake front-page newspaper reports and a rash of posters attacking Pope Francis have been appearing in Rome over the past week.

A group of conservative Catholics who do not like Francis’s liberal views are said to be behind the smear campaign.

The latest attack involved a fake front page being added to the official Vatican publication, L’Osservatore Romano.

The fake page reported on an imaginary interview with Francis about his ruling on whether divorced, remarried Catholics could receive Holy Communion. Francis’s alleged response was “yes and no” to the question.

The “interview”mocks him over his liberal stance.

Copies of the fake-fronted edition were delivered to cardinals and bishops by an unnamed person.

The smear campaign stems from tensions between Francis and some conservative elements of the Catholic Church.

Where he calls for a more compassionate church toward “imperfect” members, such as those who divorced and remarried, some conservative members have been dismayed.

The posters ask: “Eh, Francis, you’ve commissioned congregations, removed priests, decapitated the Order of Malta and the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, you’ve ignored cardinals … but where’s your mercy?”

A source at the Vatican who spoke on the condition of anonymity, downplayed the latest stunt as harmless: “It wasn’t done in bad taste. It’s quite funny, actually. We are not worried.”

Antonio Spadaro, the editor-in-chief of the Jesuit newspaper Civiltà Cattolica, told NBC News: “Francis is not the first pontiff to fall victim of rumors and fabrications. Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI were all unfairly criticized at some stage. What’s new here is the way the rumors are spread. It’s a sign of the times.”

“This is the proof that the pope has enemies and his role as a moral and religious leader is unsettling to some,” he added.






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