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Issue 158 - July, 2013 (2nd Edition) - Page 16

Hoax - Pope Benedict XVI Resigned Papacy to Convert to Islam

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Outline
Circulating story claims that Pope Benedict XVI resigned in February 2013 because he had decided to convert to Islam.

Pope Benedict XVI

© Depositphotos.com/ Jordi Lopez Dot



Brief Analysis
The claims in the message are nonsense.The message is derived from a story first published in February 2013 on satirical news site "Dead Seriousness". All of the stories published on the site are entirely fictional. The story escaped its original context and has circulated ever since via social media sites and email.

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Example

Pope Benedict XVI Resigns Papacy, Converts To Islam

HOLY SEE – In a shocking press conference Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI revealed to the world that he will be stepping down from the Catholic Church’s highest office. "Through prayer and reflection over the past years," the world’s holiest man began, "I've realized that Allah is the one true God."

Amid clattering camera shutters and roaring reporters, Pope Benedict patiently answered questions, citing traditional Muslim folklore as well as passages from the Qur’an to explain his decision. His session was interrupted only once, when he swiveled South-East to face Mecca, stooped to the ground, and recited the Asr, one of the five daily prayers central to Muslim belief.


Detailed Analysis


According to a message that has been circulating for several months, previous Pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI actually resigned his post in February 2013 because he converted to Islam and could therefore no longer play his role as head of the Catholic Church. The message claims that Pope Benedict made the decision after years of prayer and reflection and because he came to realize that "Allah is the one true God".

But, not surprisingly, the claims in the message are utter nonsense. Pope Benedict has certainly not converted to Islam. The message began life as a story published on the "news" section of the satire and humour website "Dead Seriousness" in February 2013.  The website specializes in satirical - and entirely - fictional articles, many of which are couched as news reports. 

Most site visitors who have a careful read of the articles will quickly realize their satirical and humorous nature and will not take them seriously.  However, partly because the site does not include a disclaimer on its articles explaining that the reports are untrue, at least a few readers are duped into believing what they read.

Moreover, the above article fairly quickly escaped the confines of its original home and began circulating via email and social media as a stand-alone "news" story, thus duping even more recipients. Amusingly, the story has generated a good deal of often angst-ridden commentary about the Pope's supposed decision.

The message is reminiscent of another widely circulated satire article that falsely claimed that the Pope had come out as gay. This message also escaped from a satirical website.

It is always wise to check the veracity of any supposed news story that reaches you via email or social media. Of course, if the Pope had really converted to Islam - or declared himself as gay - then the story would have been covered by mainstream media outlets all around the world.

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Last updated: July 8, 2013
First published: July 8, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
Dead Seriousness News: Pope Benedict XVI Resigns Papacy, Converts To Islam
Hoax - 'Pope Comes Out as Gay'



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Issue 158 Start Menu

Pages in this issue:
  1. Capri Sun Mold Warning
  2. False Child Abduction Alert - 'Lilly Snatched From Surrey'
  3. Gas Saving Tips - Are They Really Saving You Anything?
  4. China Food Imports - Is It Really That Simple?
  5. Jury Duty Phone Scam Warning
  6. Myth - Ice Water Can Cause Dangerous Bloating in DogsD
  7. Amazon 'Important Message From Security Center' Phishing Scam
  8. Hoax: Facebook to Start Charging This Summer
  9. Kmart Australia Giveaway Like-Farming Scam
  10. Do Water Filled Zip-Lock Bags with Added Pennies Keep Flies Away?
  11. Photos of Old Car Collection Found in Portugal Barn
  12. Faux Image - Mounted Police Officer Riding Giant Dog
  13. Expedia Travel Itinerary Malware Email
  14. 'Google Account Hacked' Text Message Scam
  15. Completely Pointless and Misleading 'Facebook Privacy Notice'
  16. Hoax - Pope Benedict XVI Resigned Papacy to Convert to Islam
  17. Wonga.com 'Account Error' Phishing Scam
  18. Hoax Warning Claims Deadly Swine Flu Epidemic in South Africa
  19. Australian Government Withdrawing Funds From Inactive Accounts Warning
  20. 'Facebook Has Sent You a Message' Pharmacy Spam
  21. Pepsi Cola Bottling Company 'Grant Compensation' Advance Fee Scam
  22. Does a Viral Image Depict a Monkey Saving a Puppy From An Explosion?
  23. Advance Fee Scammers Using Cloned FB Accounts To Gain Victims
  24. South African 'Mighty Men' Conferences Racial Integration Hoax
  25. Did Samsung Pay a $1 Billion Fine to Apple in 5 Cent Coins?
  26. Browser and Operating System Survey Scam
  27. Circulating Message Falsely Accuses Pictured Man of Being a Human Trafficker