January 3, 2017 4:38 pm
Updated: January 3, 2017 4:43 pm

Report that Pope backed merger of Islam, Christianity is fake: Vatican

Pope Francis delivers the Urbi et Orbi (Latin for ' to the city and to the world' ) Christmas' day blessing from the main balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2016.

AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino
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A widely shared story that claimed Pope Francis called for merging Islam and Christianity is false.

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The story quotes Francis as telling a Vatican audience: “Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Jehovah, Allah. These are all names employed to describe an entity that is distinctly the same across the world. For centuries, blood has been needlessly shed because of the desire to segregate our faiths.”

Another quote it attributes to Francis: “We can accomplish miraculous things in the world by merging our faiths, and the time for such a movement is now.”

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke tells The Associated Press the quotes are “invented.”

An internet search reveals the fake quotes and various incarnations of the story have been shared by numerous websites since at least 2015.

Snopes, a well-respected fact-checking site, debunked the report in the fall of 2015. Snopes documented several versions of the report: one claimed that the Pope had been speaking to 11,000 people at the White House, while another said he made the statements at the Vatican.

The 2015 report was circulated on a variety of sites, including the now-defunct washingtonpost.com.co site. The story’s most recent appearance seems to be a cut-and-paste of the version of the 2015 story that was set at the Vatican.

With files from Global News

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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