by Mary Rezac
(CNA) The ‘gentle reminder’ message allegedly written by Pope Francis that trends periodically on Facebook and other social media was never written by the Holy Father.
The message reads:
“This life will go by fast.
Don’t fight with people, don’t criticize your body so much, don’t complain so much.
Don’t lose sleep over your bills. Look for the person that makes you happy. If you make a mistake, let it go and keep seeking your happiness.
Never stop being a good parent. Don’t worry so much about buying luxuries and comforts for your home, and don’t kill yourself trying to leave an inheritance for your family. Those benefits should be earned by each person, so don’t dedicate yourself to accumulating money.
Enjoy, travel, enjoy your journeys, see new places, give yourself the pleasures you deserve. Allow dogs to get closer. Don’t put away the fine glassware. Utilize the new dinnerware; don’t save your favorite perfume, use it to go out with yourself; wear out your favorite sport shoes; repeat your favorite clothes.
So what? That’s not bad. Why not now? Why not pray now instead of waiting until before you sleep? Why not call now? Why not forgive now? We wait so long for Christmas; for Friday; for Reunions; for another year; for when I have money; for love to come; when everything is perfect…look…
Everything perfect doesn’t exist. Human beings can’t accomplish this because it simply was not intended to be completed here. Here is an opportunity to learn.
So take this challenge that is life and do it now…love more, forgive more, embrace more, love more intensely and leave the rest in God’s hands. Amen.”
While the message may be uplifting, fact-checking website Snopes.com debunked its attribution to Pope Francis.
The original message, they found, probably came from a Tumblr post by singer Marcela Tais, originally written in Portuguese in April 2016. It then was circulated and shared for months before any attribution to Pope Francis was added.
“This is a typical problem with viral quotes on the internet. A meaningful message may not get traction when it is attributed to an unknown author. When a famous name is attached to it, however, it gets a boost in popularity. This appears to be the case with the ‘Gentle Reminder from Pope Francis’ message,” Snopes author Dan Evon wrote.
It is not the first time such messages have been misattributed to Pope Francis. During World Youth Day 2013, a poem entitled “We Need Saints” went viral after being falsely attributed to the pontiff. In 2014, a viral meme of Pope Francis circulated with a fake quote which said it was not necessary to believe in God. Earlier this year, a viral video of someone dressed as the Pope dancing the merengue went viral, with claims that it was Francis dancing during his trip to Chile. But the video was originally posted months before the Pope’s trip and the story was debunked.
In the days of social media, it’s easy to be duped by fake news every once in a while. But it seems unlikely that any Pope would ever say “don’t save your favorite perfume” or to “give yourself the pleasures you deserve” in any sort of official message.
This message serves as a reminder for us all: “Don’t believe everything you see on the internet.” – Abraham Lincoln