Labelling the practice, “the sin of whispering”, the Pope said blatant dishonesty was particularly damaging in politics as it poisoned relations in families, parishes and dioceses, according to ABC News America.
“The sin of whispering…when a government isn't honest and seeks to sling mud at its adversaries with whispers, defamation, and calumny,” he said.
While not mentioning any country by name, the Pope did single out dictatorial governments as being notorious for taking control of the media “to diminish anyone who represents a threat”, reports ABC News America. Earlier this year, Pope Francis described “fake news” as evil and encouraged journalists to make searching for the truth their primary mission, reports the Daily Mail.
He asked reporters to speak the truth with a journalism that is “truthful and opposed to falsehoods, rhetorical slogans, and sensational headlines”, the Daily Mail reports.
The Vatican recently announced the Pope will dedicate his next World Day of Peace message, given on 1 January 2019, to promoting political engagement as a duty and an act of charity that all people should take part in, reports Crux.
Celebrated each year on the first day of January, the World Day of Peace is accompanied by a message from the Pope which is sent to all world foreign ministers. His previous messages for the event have often offered bold advice at both a political and pastoral level, pushing for an end to the arms trade and the death penalty, according to Crux.