Pope did not say disabled people should be ‘euthanized’ to fight climate change

9 August 2023
What was claimed

Pope Francis has said disabled people should be euthanised to fight climate change.

Our verdict

There is no record of the Pope having ever said this. The leader of the Catholic church has repeatedly spoken out against euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Posts falsely claiming that Pope Francis said “disabled people should be euthanized to ‘fight climate change’” have been shared on Facebook and Instagram

The posts also appear to show a tweet from the Pope’s official Twitter account, which says: “Being Christian means sacrificing your life for 🌎”. 

The headline and the screenshot of the tweet both come from an article published by The People’s Voice, a US-based website linked to YourNewsWire that has been identified by other fact checkers as a frequent source of online misinformation.

Full Fact could find no evidence of the Pope ever making the remarks described in the headline, and the screenshot of the tweet—which comes from a video thumbnail shared by The People’s Voice—does not appear to be genuine. 

We could not find any record of this being tweeted from the Pope’s official Twitter account

The People’s Voice article, which is a transcript of the nearly 10-minute video also shared by the site, does not give any indication of when or where the Pope supposedly called for disabled people to be euthanized to combat climate change. 

The only allegedly supporting points it provides are claims that the pontiff has “thrown his weight behind the World Economics Forum’s [WEF] campaign to euthanize people with autism, alcoholism and other minor illnesses and disabilities to help humanity fight so-called ‘climate change.’”

There is no evidence to substantiate claims that the WEF—itself frequently the focus of online misinformation, much of which we have checked in the past—has ever advocated for this either. 

Trevor Chueu, a representative for the organisation, told Reuters: “We confirm that this is fake news [...] No such guidance or stance was provided by the World Economic Forum.”

The Pope has recently and repeatedly spoken out against euthanasia and assisted suicide.

In 2019 the Vatican released a paper opposing any form of euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide, saying the practice is “inherently and consequentially morally and religiously wrong and should be forbidden with no exceptions”.

In a joint statement with Jewish leaders published in May, the Vatican rejected euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide—highlighting a 2006 declaration which said: “We repudiate the concept of active euthanasia (so-called mercy killing) and physician-assisted suicide, as the illegitimate human arrogation of an exclusive Divine authority to determine the time of a person’s death.” 

It is important to consider whether something is real before sharing it online—you can read more about identifying misleading images in our guide here.

We have contacted The People’s Voice for comment. 

Image courtesy of Long Thiên

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