Fact Check: Pope Francis praised Lucifer and announced his arrival.

Fact Check: Pope Francis praised Lucifer and announced his arrival.

By Annet Preethi Furtado

A clip of Pope Francis singing the Easter proclamation in Latin during an Easter Vigil has been taken out of context to say the Pope hailed Lucifer.

Context

A Facebook video allegedly claims to expose the Vatican. The woman in the video begins by showing an image of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican and says, “If you think this place is holy, think again.” The speaker then shows a picture of a bronze and brass artifact behind the Pope in a hall and asks, “So you’re telling me this is a pure, holy, and innocent statue of Jesus,” to persuade the audience that the relic is anti-Christ. The speaker continues, alleging that the entire Vatican city is shaped like a snake, showing an aerial view of St. Peter’s Square, including the Basilica, and points to the structures saying, ”there is the stomach, the head, the eyes; it’s an entire serpent.” The video then shows the Pope singing a prayer that included the word “Lucifer,” suggesting that he had declared Satan as God during what appeared to be a ceremony. The video ends with the speaker emphasizing the importance of not being deceived and alleging that religious or governmental leaders are all evil and on the same side. 

In fact: 

The video’s reference to an artwork in the backdrop of the video, behind the Pope, is a sculpture of the Resurrection, depicting Jesus rising from a nuclear bomb crater. The Resurrection sculpture is 66 feet long by 23 feet wide and is made of red bronze and yellow brass. It sits in the Paul VI Audience Hall, where the Pope’s general audiences are held. On the official Vatican YouTube Channel, there are videos of the Pope’s general audiences at the Paul VI Audience Hall.

Conspiracy theories have long surrounded the Paul VI Audience Hall, particularly concerning the Resurrection sculpture. Some claim it is a representation of the devil and believe the hall’s overall architecture incorporates serpent imagery. Contradictory to the theory, we found that Pericle Fazzini, an Italian artist, was commissioned to create the artwork for the Vatican’s modern auditorium, according to a 1987 obituary published by the Associated Press. The outcome was the Resurrection, which depicts Jesus emerging from a nuclear bomb crater and was unveiled by Pope Paul VI in 1977. Therefore, contrary to assertions that it is a demonic or anti-Christ image, the modern sculpture reflects Christ.

The speaker in the post also referenced an aerial view of St. Peter’s Square, including the Basilica, to imply that it resembles a snake. However, the snake resemblance claim, concerning malicious or immoral acts, is unsupported by any archaeological evidence. The claim is vague, as the overall view of the structure does not resemble a snake. This can be cross-checked using freely accessible satellite imagery online. Furthermore, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) states the holy structure is the work of Bramante, Raphael, Michelangelo, Bernini, and Maderno, and has numerous notable Baroque characteristics.

The Facebook video depicts the Pope praying in Latin, and uttering the word “Lucifer,” suggesting that the Pope declares Satan as God. The Exsultet, or Easter Proclamation, sung by the Pope during an Easter Vigil, was entirely taken out of context and was used to support the assertion that the “Pope praises Lucifer and announces his arrival.” “Lucifer” in Latin means “light-bearing” and ”Venus, the morning star,” according to Merriam-Webster.

The Pope’s exact words in the Easter Proclamation are: ”Flammas eius lúcifer matutínus invéniat: ille, inquam, lúcifer, qui nescit occásum.” The English translation is, ”May the light of the morning find its flames: he, I say, is the light that knows not the setting.” The Exsultet (Latin: Praeconium Paschale) is a proclamation made during the Easter Vigil in the Roman Rite of Mass by a priest. We found a video of the same proclamation uttered by a priest at St. Peter’s Basilica during the Easter Vigil Mass in 2022 and its English version at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The claim is part of an unfounded conspiracy theory about the Vatican that includes claims regarding the Pope or the Roman Catholic Church. Such theories contend that the Church, its representatives, and world leaders secretly control secular society as part of a Satanic scheme for world dominance. The theories imply that the leaders have plans to imprison and enslave the populace and cast us into a dystopian dictatorship. Believers of such conspiracy theories seek signs and messages that this is happening worldwide. These dangerous conspiracy theories have anti-semitic roots and can impact real-life people.

The verdict:

Pope Francis’s usage of the phrase “Lucifer” in Latin was used out of context to claim that he had proclaimed Satan to be God. Further, the contemporary sculpture, located behind the stage in the Paul VI Audience Hall, depicts the Resurrection of Jesus and is not anti-Christ. The claim that St. Peter’s Square’s aerial view, including the Basilica, is shaped like a snake is also baseless. Hence, the claims made in the Facebook post are false. 

Source: Logically.

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