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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. Ch Hoax-Slayer - New Articles 3

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