FACT CHECK: Did Pope Francis Announce That A COVID-19 Vaccine Will Be Required For Entering Heaven?
An image shared on Facebook claims Pope Francis announced that receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will now be required to enter Heaven.
There is no evidence Pope Francis has made such an announcement. The claim originated from the satirical website the Babylon Bee.
The Facebook post shows a screen grab of an article titled “Pope Francis Says Covid Vaccine Will Now Be Required to Enter Heaven.” The screen grabbed article features a picture of the pope and a stock photo of a COVID-19 vaccine.
While the pope has publicly discussed COVID-19 vaccines, there is no record of him making such an announcement. Had he done so, it would have been covered by major media outlets, yet none have. The Press Office of the Holy See also has not put out a press release about it, nor has the pope tweeted anything to that effect.
The pope told the United Nations in September that the poorest members of society should get access to COVID-19 vaccines first, saying, “If anyone should be given preference, let it be the poorest, the most vulnerable, those who so often experience discrimination because they have neither power nor economic resources,” according to Reuters. The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine recently started being distributed in the U.S. and other countries.
Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact determined that the image shows a Nov. 30 article published by the Babylon Bee, a self-described satirical website that publishes content about “Christian stuff, political stuff, and everyday life.” While the Babylon Bee clearly disclaims the satirical nature of its content, the Facebook post fails to do so.
Some Facebook users appear to have perceived the satire article as real news: one user said, “Guess I’m going to hell,” while another said, “This mf trippin.” (RELATED: Did The Lakers Wear Lace Collars To Honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg?)
This isn’t the first time social media users have taken an image originating from the Babylon Bee as fact. In June, Check Your Fact debunked the claim that Barnes & Noble will no longer sell the Bible “due to outdated depictions of humanity all being of one race and made in the image of God.”