Image: ANSA/GIORGIO ONORATI via AP
The Pope is a bit tired of the media’s shit.
Or, maybe a better way of putting it: he’s tired of media focusing on the world’s many dumpster fires.
In an interview published Wednesday by Tertio, a Catholic weekly publication in Belgium, Pope Francis spoke of the great good and harm media outlets can exert on the public, and offered some thoughts on best practices.
"I believe that the media should be very clear, very transparent, and not fall prey — without offense, please — to the sickness of coprophilia, which is always wanting to communicate scandal, to communicate ugly things, even though they may be true," Francis said. "And since people have a tendency towards the sickness of coprophagia, it can do great harm."
Coprophilia is defined as having a strange interest in feces, by which the Pope almost certainly means an unhealthy interest in the many awful things of the world.
Pope Francis was also concerned with how the accuracy of stories leads to well- or ill-informed public debate.
"A thing that can do great damage to the information media is disinformation. That is, faced with any situation, saying only a part of the truth, and not the rest," Francis said. "This is disinformation. Because you, to the listener or the observer, give only half the truth, and therefore it is not possible to make a serious judgement."
Perhaps Francis should make a call to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about this whole "fake news" business.
You can read Pope Francis’s full thoughts on the media below.
QUESTION – A final question, Holy Father, regarding the media: a consideration regarding the means of communication…
POPE – The communications media have a very great responsibility. Nowadays they have in their hands the possibility and the capacity to form opinion: they can form a good or a bad opinion. The means of communication are the builders of a society. In and of themselves, they are made to build, to interchange, to fraternise, to make us think, to educate. In themselves they are positive. It is obvious that, given that we are all sinners, also the media can – we who use the media, I am using a means of communication here – become harmful. And the communications media have their temptations. They can be tempted by calumny, and therefore used to slander, to sully people, especially in the world of politics. They can be used as a means of defamation: every person has the right to a good reputation, but perhaps in their previous life, or ten years ago, they had a problem with justice, or a problem in their family life, and bringing this to light is serious and harmful; it can annul a person. In slander we tell a lie about a person; in defamation, we leak a document, as we say in Argentina, “Se hace un carpetazo” – and we uncover something that is true, but already in the past, and which has already been paid for with a jail sentence, with a fine, or whatever. There is no right to this. This is a sin and it is harmful. A thing that can do great damage to the information media is disinformation: that is, faced with any situation, saying only a part of the truth, and not the rest. This is disinformation. Because you, to the listener or the observer, give only half the truth, and therefore it is not possible to make a serious judgement. Disinformation is probably the greatest damage that the media can do, as opinion is guided in one direction, neglecting the other part of the truth. And then, I believe that the media should be very clear, very transparent, and not fall prey – without offense, please – to the sickness of coprophilia, which is always wanting to communicate scandal, to communicate ugly things, even though they may be true. And since people have a tendency towards the sickness of coprophagia, it can do great harm. Thus, I would say that there are these four temptations. But they are builders of opinion and can construct, and do immense good, immense.