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Pope Francis video edited to include false subtitles about ‘secret agenda’

Pope Francis video edited to include false subtitles about 'secret agenda' - Featured image

Author(s): Kate TAN / AFP Australia

A falsely translated video message from Pope Francis in which he appears to admit he has a “secret agenda” to control people under a “one world religion” has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on Facebook. In reality, the clip shows the pontiff speaking about Christian unity in 2014.

The eight-minute, four-second video was shared on Facebook on January 11, 2024 alongside the caption: “The Popes Confession To The World. The Real Truth About The Vatican And The Jesuit Priests.”

The clip — viewed more than 739,000 times — shows Pope Francis speaking to the camera while ominous music plays in the background.

He starts by saying in English: “Dear brothers and sisters, excuse me because I speak in Italian. But I am not speaking English. But, I will speak no Italian, no English but “heartfully”.”

The pontiff then switches to speaking in Italian. At the video’s two-minute, 30-second mark, the English-language subtitles read: “They really need to be told the truth about me… its so wrong…”

The subtitles continue: “I am ashamed to tell you this, but I have secret agenda to deceive you. Yes, it looks good to unite people in a one world religion. That way I control them better.”

A screenshot of the misleading post, captured on January 23.

The video has also been shared thousands of times on Facebook and TikTok. Similar posts were also shared by users in the United States, South Africa and Japan.

Some social media users left comments indicating they were misled by the English subtitles.

“He’s a very evil man,” one comment read.

“He is the devil and the Vatican is hell on earth. Evil to the core,” read another.

However, an Italian-speaking journalist in AFP’s Rome bureau said the English subtitles accompanying the Pope’s speech were inaccurate and that actually, he was speaking about Christian unity.

Message to Texas televangelist

Keyword searches on Google found the same video with different English subtitles published on the official YouTube channel for Kenneth Copeland Ministries on December 15, 2020.

The video’s description states it shows a message from Pope Francis filmed on January 15, 2014 (archived link).

Kenneth Copeland is a televangelist based in Texas, in the United States (archived link).

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video with the false subtitles (left) and the original YouTube video published by Kenneth Copeland Ministries (right):

Screenshot comparison of the video with the false subtitles (left) and the YouTube video uploaded by Kenneth Copeland Ministries (right)

An Italian-speaking journalist in AFP’s Rome bureau reviewed the original video and found it included accurate English subtitles.

The pontiff can be heard talking about the separation between Catholics and Christians and his yearning for unity among those of the faith — but nowhere does he mention having a “secret agenda”.

“Let us pray to the Lord that He unites us all,” he says. “Come on, we are brothers. Let’s give each other a spiritual hug and let God complete the work that he has begun. And this is a miracle; the miracle of unity has begun.”

The Catholic leader’s message to Kenneth Copeland Ministries in 2014 was also accurately reported by Catholic media organisations here and here (archived links here and here).

AFP has debunked other false claims targeting Pope Francis, including here and here.

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Originally published here.