back to article Pope wants journalism like the Catholic church wants child sex abuse probes: Slow, aimless...

Take it easy with those hard-hitting exclusives and investigations, said the Pope this week, lumping inconvenient quality journalism with fake news and clickbait. We can't think why the head of a church mired in decades of globe-spanning child abuse scandals would have a problem with hacks doing their job and getting straight …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Be careful Pontiff

    You know...the Bible is, well, a bit "fake news" really, isn't it?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Be careful Pontiff

      New printings are going to need a lot of [citation needed] stickers

    2. druck Silver badge

      Re: Be careful Pontiff

      There is no such thing as harmless disinformation; trusting in falsehood can have dire consequences.

      Religion in a nutshell.

    3. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Be careful Pontiff

      "You know...the Bible is, well, a bit "fake news" really, isn't it?"

      Indeed this bit seems to confirm that that's The Pope's view too:

      God's mortal deputy went on to reference Genesis 4:4-16 and 11:1-9, the stories of Cain and Abel and Tower of Babel, as examples for the harm caused by playing it fast and loose with reality.

  2. Lysenko

    Warning: Devil's advocacy in support of the Pope (???!!!)

    The pontiff declared scribes should set aside the chase for breaking news in favor of making sure they get things right and tell the actual story.

    There is a reason "The Economist" is so highly regarded as a reliable source, even amongst some who don't share its laissez-faire economic/political editorial line, and it is at least partly due to the fact that it almost never "breaks" a story. You read The Economist because you want thorough fact-checking and analysis, not because you're desperate to beat Twitter in the wild speculation and scandalous spin stakes.

    I haven't bought a daily paper for over a decade and the only thing likely to tempt me back would be a publication that openly stated it usually aimed to cover stories 72 hours to a week after the likes of the Daily Blackshirt because accuracy means everything and "scoops" mean nothing.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Warning: Devil's advocacy in support of the Pope (???!!!)

      Reading the economist + private eye pretty much gives you complete, if depressing, news coverage.

    2. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

      Re: Warning: Devil's advocacy in support of the Pope (???!!!)

      ...You read The Economist because you want thorough fact-checking and analysis,...

      Ah. So Brexit plunged the UK straight into recession in 2017, and Climate Change is settled science and mustn't be questioned?

      I think you'll find that The Economist has its own prejudices and follows the crowd like the vast mass of the mainstream media..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Warning: Devil's advocacy in support of the Pope (???!!!)

        "and Climate Change is settled science"

        That the world is rapidly warming largely due to human activities - primarily the emission of CO2 - hasn't been in any credible scientific doubt whatsoever for at least a decade now If that counts as settled?

      2. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Warning: Devil's advocacy in support of the Pope (???!!!)

        "Ah. So Brexit plunged the UK straight into recession in 2017, and Climate Change is settled science and mustn't be questioned?"

        Climate change is settled science. What it isn't settled in is in the minds of non-scientists.

        This is a technology site, right? We don't see people down the pub have their own opinions about processor architecture, they just assume that the experts are right about that stuff.

        "Steve, I've been thinking. I don't see how Intel and AMD are going to get past the uncertainty principle, they cannot just keep shrinking the gap between transistors. Eventually the error rate is going to be too high."

        "Yeah, Phil, I know. I reckon they should just build 3D chips. That allows closer spacing of transistors without their linear distance going down."

        "Come on, Steve. How are you going to dissipate heat from the centre of the chip?"

        "Good point, Phil, I never thought about that. I guess that's why I'm not a hardware designer, and just work in an office dealing with stationary orders."

        That's the same as climate science. You have literally no right to an opinion on climate science, in the following sense: climate science is decided in journals, not in the Daily Mail. Your thoughts will not get published, I am going to guess, so you don't get an opinion.

        Where you do get an opinion is in electing your government, and some of them seem as intransigent as you.

  3. Jim-234

    Pot should really keep quiet regarding the kettle

    It's a bit too much to listen to him go on about the evils that "fake news" causes.

    Perhaps he is forgetting the Millions over the past near 1500 years that the organization he heads caused to be killed, tortured, abused based on their interpretation of concepts that cannot be proven or disproven.

    It's not like the Russian trolls are literally burning people at the stake or literally torturing them.

    Pretty sure Russian internet trolls have not yet been proven to be part of a vast cover up for child abuse.

    One could also add that various things his organization pushes still cause ongoing harm and distress to many, in excess of what "fake news" could ever be.

    When you have actual skeletons in the closet..... Huge amounts of them.....

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Coat

      It's not like the Russian trolls are literally burning people at the stake

      True.

      Although with the necessary funding I'm sure they could supply that service as well.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pot should really keep quiet regarding the kettle

      "It's not like the Russian trolls are literally burning people at the stake or literally torturing them."

      You forget that Putin is in an alliance with the conservative elements of the Russian Orthodox Church. Gay people are persecuted and physically abused with the tacit encouragement of that alliance.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "On the other hand, when we are faithful to God’s plan,[...] and our pursuit of goodness."

    "On the other hand, when we are faithful to our Church organisation's demands, [...] and our pursuit of earthly powers."

    FTFY

  5. teknopaul Silver badge

    Maybe fake news IS babble

    Arsebook and The chocolate factory reached too high, so God in Her infinite wisdom, gave us fake-news and buzz-feltch and max 128 chars to expre

  6. MrDamage

    FTFY

    > "Sane, rational people reference the Crusades, Spanish Inquisition and Salem With Trials as examples for the harm caused by playing it fast and loose with reality."

    1. Suricou Raven

      Re: FTFY

      You don't need to drag up ancient history to criticise the Roman Catholic Church. Their continued opposition to contraception is killing people today.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: FTFY

        "You don't need to drag up ancient history to criticise the Roman Catholic Church."

        Well it meets most definitions of a religious cult for start.

      2. Lars Silver badge

        Re: FTFY

        "Their continued opposition to contraception".

        The Pope is actually not against condoms but there is opposition because he is considered too "modern", even in Britain, to my surprise. This is not exactly my field and I find it funny that the only person a Catholic priest is not allowed to fuck is his wife. He is taking baby steps but the road ahead is long.

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: FTFY

      Umm... the Salem witch trials were an all-Protestant affair, thankyousomuch.

      The Crusades were a European war - specifically a land grab - in the Middle East. We've managed to keep making those to this day, without the blessing of any recent popes that I'm aware of. Religion was used as political cover, but it wasn't the underlying motivation, any more than "spreading democracy" was the motivation for invading Iraq.

      The Spanish Inquisition was a secret police force used to enforce national conformity in Spain after the Reconquista, when there was a moral panic about Jews outwardly converting to Catholicism, but secretly continuing to be Jewish. This mattered because Jews would tend to favour the ousted Muslim rulers (who had allowed them a lot of freedom) over the conquering Christian kings (who allowed them virtually none). In other words: it was about political loyalty.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: FTFY

        Wheres now we just have officials to ensure that immigrants "share our values" and aren't secretly remaining foreign-ish

      2. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

        Re: FTFY

        ...The Crusades were a European war - specifically a land grab - in the Middle East....

        Er...they were a response to a land-grab - specifically the expansion of Islam. Initially, they were about stopping the Turks taking Anatolia and threatening Byzantium.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: FTFY

          "Initially, they were about stopping the Turks taking Anatolia and threatening Byzantium."

          It was the Fourth Crusade in 1204 that sacked Christian Byzantium.

          The People's Crusade in 1096 was responsible for mass murders of Jews in the Rhineland.

          The Albigensian Crusade of 1209–1229 slaughtered the Christian Cathar "heretics" of the Languedoc region of France.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: FTFY

            I'm just going to take the opportunity of this discussion to drop in my own strong suspicion that Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln was killed by the bloke who claimed he saw the jews doing it and sparked antisemitic violence in 1255.

            Fake news, nothing new.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: FTFY

              "[...] Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln [...]"

              The full story is an interesting example of manipulation of religious fervour and material greed. Human nature is unfortunately so predictable.

          2. BostonEddie

            Re: FTFY

            Land grab...? after the collapse of the Roman Empire c 600 more or less), Western Europe was pretty depopulated, as shown by birth/Baptismal records. Some 500-odd years later population rebounded caused by several factors. By the time Charlemagne came up, there was sufficient population pressure to allow expansion of population into new or previously abandoned areas. In the near eastern areas the Avars and (Southern) Saxons were slaughtered; meanwhile the Cathusians (bear with me, I'm doing this from memory) expanded into the German forests and the Estonians, etc expanded into the northern Baltic areas. While Islam and Europe coexisted in Spain for the time being, the reconquest and expansion of Spain continued until 1492 One can guess at the fate of the disorganized pagan tribes of the conquered areas. In summary both Islam and Europe expanded and added land/population until they collided.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: FTFY

        " In other words: it was about political loyalty."

        Which is the main aim for any organised religion. It is social control of a society by a ruling elite. The religious dogma proscriptions are enforced by indoctrination, coercion, and usually transcribed into civil law of a state.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: FTFY

          "" In other words: it was about political loyalty."

          Which is the main aim for any organised religion."

          Not any organised religion. For instance Scientology is primarily about separating you from your money.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trust me, i'm a journo.....

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So he's against fake news and you guys are against him more. Sounds like anti-bible-Trumpers. Perhaps you should build a wall? Oh, you have?

    Anti-religion: the only socially approved hate?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I couldn't care less if it was a priest, a politician or a tv presenter, anyone who messes with kids is going to get my hate.

      Don't think religion has the exclusive rights to hate for messing with kids but when the head of the catholic church who some members have been proven on many many occasions to be pedos starts spouting bullshit about getting facts straight then there is going to be a lot of hate directed at them and what they stand for.

    2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Anti-religion: the only socially approved hate?

      As long as you fairly and without predjudice hate all the religions equally ... then thats ok isnt it?

      ....unlike when racists say " I'm not racist , I hate all races"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        morrissey, he hates everything.

    3. DavCrav Silver badge

      "Anti-religion: the only socially approved hate?"

      You don't want to be hated? Don't be religious then. You do actually have a choice, unlike myself, who does not get a choice as to whether bishops get to sit in the House of Lords. Their qualification to decide on my laws? Believing in something stupid that the small minority of people think is true.

      Here is the obvious proof that all major religions are bullshit. The world's major religions are pretty well known now. If any of them had any substance, why are they geographically concentrated and not spread out? If Hinduism (say) is the One True Faith, then non-Hindus should be seeing this and converting. All the Hindus shouldn't be in one place, miraculously just because their parents were Hindu.

      In history, some trades were handed down through parental lineage. But nobody said that being a cooper was the One True Profession, and those thatchers and wheelwrights were jobless heathens. Religion is an inherited trait, part of an organism's extended phenotype, to use Dawkins's terminology.

  9. veti Silver badge

    Where are the quotes?

    So, where are the quotes from the pope that support the hysterical, clickbait headline of this article? Where does he draw a connection, or even a parallel, between hard-hitting investigative journalism and "fake news"?

    Or were you just desperate for a headline that would get people to click?

    What he does say:

    Nor can we ever stop seeking the truth, because falsehood can always creep in, even when we state things that are true. An impeccable argument can indeed rest on undeniable facts, but if it is used to hurt another and to discredit that person in the eyes of others, however correct it may appear, it is not truthful.

    Example: "As POTUS, Donald Trump directs the employment of thousands of people whose job is to promote his agenda; his political allies employ many more, across multiple organisations. Trump has previously called the Pope's comments "disgraceful". Now here is Shaun Nichols, ostensibly employed by The Register, posting smears on the Pope's character and thoughts."

    Every statement in the foregoing paragraph is well documented truth. Does that make the paragraph, taken as a whole, "true"? Are you, in fact, working for Trump?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Where are the quotes?

      "An impeccable argument can indeed rest on undeniable facts, but if it is used to hurt another and to discredit that person in the eyes of others, however correct it may appear, it is not truthful."

      In order words - don't rock the boat - turn a blind eye. While possibly taken out of context - that wording suggests a line of thinking that accounts for many of the Catholic Church's actions in covering up scandals.

      The biblical commandment is "Thou shalt not bear false witness". Otherwise you generally are expected to "tell the truth, and nothing but the whole truth" by swearing on the Bible.

      1. Not That Andrew

        Re: Where are the quotes?

        And lets not forget the Pope accusing victims of child abuse in Chile of slander https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/on-one-issue-in-particular-pope-francis-is-far-from-infallible/article37738446/

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Bible- the ultimate fake news story book

    With a fantasy novel as their textbook, and kiddie-fiddlers rife amongst those in positions of authority yet covered up by that same corrupt organisation, forgive me if I don't take seriously what this clown is spouting.

  11. Neoc
    Thumb Up

    "When it comes to journalists, Frankie says: relax"

    Ooh, I see what you did there. ^_^

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Uncle Ernie

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    #METOO will look like a party in the park

    when Institutionalised Paedo abuse victim whistleblowing hits Critical Mass.

  14. unwarranted triumphalism

    It's been a while

    ... since we've had this kind of vicious anti-religious hatred from The Register. In fact it's been at least a few days.

    You *do* spoil us, don't you?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's been a while

      Do you have a problem with an article mocking the head of the catholic church asking for journalists to slow down and get their facts straight when there isn't any instance of kiddy fiddling priests where the facts were wrong?

      Gone are the days of religion when they could get away with murder.

      1. unwarranted triumphalism

        Re: It's been a while

        I have a problem with the constant hateful attacks against people of faith by the secularist media.

        '...get away with murder' - Really? Name one person killed by religion then.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's been a while

          Name one person killed by religion then.

          That's easy.

          Jesus Christ. There's also the crusades and the Spanish inquisition but nobody expects that.

          1. unwarranted triumphalism

            Re: It's been a while

            Not that tired old canard again. The Inquisition merely censured; the few executions that happened were carried out by the secular authorities.

            1. BostonEddie

              Re: It's been a while

              Yeah, the religious authorities hands were generally clean. Heretics were "released to secular authorities" who did the dirty work. Of course the religious who influenced the secular authorities in the absence of restraining power can claim their innocence.

              1. unwarranted triumphalism

                Re: It's been a while

                The Inquisition didn't have any influence over the secular authorities. They were completely opposed to the executions.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's been a while

        "Gone are the days of religion when they could get away with murder."*

        *excluding Islam of course.

    2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: It's been a while

      I like the way that mere factual reporting of religion generates such outrage.

      1. unwarranted triumphalism

        Re: It's been a while

        Hardly 'factual' when it is comprised entirely of lies against religious people.

    3. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: It's been a while

      I also find the Christian Persecution Complex particularly interesting.

      1. unwarranted triumphalism

        Re: It's been a while

        You might have a point if I were Christian, or even religious.

        But I'm not.

  15. Pete Hinch

    If a Catholic education from Benedictine monks - indoctrination interspersed with regular beatings - taught me one thing it was how to spot a pack of lies.

  16. MMR

    Ummm

    Lots of ignorant comments here and the article itself is not far behind.

    I'm not a religious person and I never read the Bible but the current Pope is quite decent. Some (most even) his opinions, essays and talks he gives are very smart and often don't even contain any religious preaching. Interesting, enjoyable, easy to listen and the issues he speaks about are relevant with to modern times. If only people took off their a**hats for few minutes and listened and perceived him as an inteligent man instead of someone who, in theory, is stuck few hundred years back.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ummm

      The Pope's problem is that he does not have the absolute power over the Vatican that people expect. Every time he makes a liberal sounding statement - there is almost inevitably an official "clarification" issued by the Vatican to re-emphasise their doctrinal dogma line. That makes the Pope sound as if he is a hypocrite.

      A pity - it had been hoped that he would be able to do more. The best he can hope for is to load the next College of Cardinals with liberal thinkers. The conservative elements in the Vatican will be intent on correcting what they probably see as the mistake of the last Conclave - when they probably thought they were choosing a compromise "safe" candidate.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Ummm

        It looks last Conclave was a fight between two factions, with the very conservative one defeated, but not easily. Still, they are a powerful block, especially in Rome.

        To start, the Catholic Church should make the Conclave transparent. That secrecy is not Christian at all. It looks more borrowed from how Praetorians selected the next Emperor after killing the previous one.

        But all religion, regardless of the good intents they may be based upon, as soon as become organized and powerful, fear and combat transparency to maintain and gain power.

        The Vatican is truly worried investigative journalism can put its nose in secrets long kept (it's happening), and if many of them are brought under light, there would a lot of painful explanations to be given why a Christian organization didn't act as Christian at all, but more mafia-like.

        And today, trying to extinguish news once released is quite difficult, it not impossible. Once very few publishers, if any, would have dared to challenge Vatican and its power political allies.

    2. Not That Andrew

      Re: Ummm

      The same Pope who just accused victims of child abuse of slander?

  17. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Actual news but not to be reported yet?

    As in yesterday and ongoing. Nuns responsible for generations of abuse..

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-42803236

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Actual news but not to be reported yet?

      "Nuns responsible for generations of abuse."

      Several women friends over the years had been taught by nuns. There is a recurring pattern of a young inspirational teacher being an exception in an oppressive regime of petty rules and harsh discipline.

      An Italian acquaintance in Edinburgh in the 1970s took his Scottish born sons out of their Catholic School on account of the sheer brutality meted out by "the Brothers".

  18. Danny 5
    Meh

    Progressive

    Although the current pope is seen as very progressive, we're still talking about a religious fundamentalist here, he will usually act accordingly.

    Hasn't he already started covering for the people who shoved abuse stories under the carpet?

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Progressive

      covering for the coverers?

  19. Pete Hinch
    Unhappy

    The Pope. A Catholic education.

    @MMR

    The Pope as an individual is indeed "quite decent". That doesn't preclude holding adverse opinions on the system of belief which he represents.

    @Anonymous Coward

    Brutality was a watchword at the school I attended. Beatings were administered with straps, canes, shoes and a cricket bat. I kid you not. No one can accuse the Catholic monks of ignoring Proverbs 13:24.

    @Terry 6

    My first wife was educated by nuns. She got good 'A' level results but was told that she would only be given a reference if she applied to a Catholic teachers' training college. University was out. I could give other examples of how they limited girls' potential from direct experience but it would get tedious.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "No one can accuse the Catholic monks of ignoring Proverbs 13:24."

      Yet, most of them looks to be awfully ignorant about the Gospels... probably they never read the Bible that far... and even if they do, they think whatever Jesus said was some kind of cryptic prediction about the future catholic church only they have the interpretation key - as if Jesus was some kind of Nostradamus talking to a theological elite, and not someone simply speaking to simple people.

      Of course the words like "“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea." don't sound well in the hears of pedophiles priests... they have to give that a far different arcane meaning, or there would be a shortage of millstones...

  20. missingDLL

    "Yes, we are all individuals"

    I've skimmed through his declaration and actually it doesn't seem to be aimed at investigatory journalism, but rather political propaganda and sensationalist news that are not based in reality. And, come on, let's be real about this, there does exist a problem with the spread of news articles not based on any type of reality, mostly for propaganda purpouses and sensationalist clickbaiting (japan's cannibal restaurant, anyone?).

    I'm not saying ol' Frankie might not have a hidden agenda that he or his leaders promote, but this is the guy that said gay marriage is ok and told capitalists to calm the f*ck down. He's not exactly pushing for change, but at least he's not like that OTHER guy; Emperor Palpatine or whatever his name was. Let's keep a level headed attitude on this instead of jumping on the mainstream train.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sigh.

    Came here expecting to find 'Pope hates journalists' article. What I got instead was 'Journalist hates Pope'.

    I know it's the internet, but, like, stop talking about yourselves a bit?

  22. RealityisntReal

    Yeah, his point is totally null and void because you don't like the Catholic Churches history. Really? Tell me why his point isn't valid on those "hard-hitting exclusives and investigations" when so many of them have been shown to be either totally false or misrepresentations after more facts were uncovered - facts that could have been found by the publishers of those "hard-hitting exclusives" if they would have bothered to do proper fact checking and diligence before rushing to publication? And the author of this drivel ignores the issue of people accepting the initial news report at face value - and either ignoring or not even seeing the subsequent retractions or updates.

  23. Lars Silver badge
    Joke

    Educated by priests

    Not always a good idea. Take poor Ioseb Jughashvili who wanted to become a priest, was abused and picked up all the dirty tricks. Decided to become a bank robber instead, fairly successful too.

    So far so good, should have stopped there but went on to become Stalin.

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