CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 10 November 2018

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Dictatorships usurp media to spread lies pope says

VATICAN (CNS): “All dictatorships, all of them, began like this, by adulterating communication, by putting communications in the hands of people without scruples, of governments without scruples,” Pope Francis said in his homily during morning Mass at Domus Sanctae Marthae on June 18.
 
Typical standards, norms and laws in regard to communications are first eliminated, the pope said. 
 
Then an entire media or communication outlet is handed over “to a firm, a business that slanders, tells lies, weakens democracy, and then the judges come to judge these weakened institutions, these destroyed, condemned people and a dictatorship makes progress this way,” he said.
 
Focusing his homily on the day’s first reading in which Jezebel succeeds in her plot to help her husband, King Ahab, take possession of the land of their neighbour, Naboth, by arranging for two men to accuse the man of cursing God and the king, for which he was stoned to death.
 
Pope Francis said that what happened to Naboth is similar to what happened to Jesus, St. Stephen and all martyrs who were condemned as a result of lies and falsehoods.
 
Today, many people, “many heads of state or government,” forge the same scenario: start with a lie and “after you destroy both a person and a situation with that falsehood,” there is a judgment and a conviction, he said.
 
Many countries, today, he added, “they use this method: destroy free communication.”
 
But individuals, too, are also tempted to destroy others by talking behind their back, telling lies or spreading scandalous news, the pope said.
 
Talking about scandals is enormously seductive, he said, and “one is seduced by scandals. Good news isn’t a seductress.”
 
There have been “so many people, so many countries destroyed by evil and calumnious dictatorships,” he said, including the ones that persecuted the Jews with “calumnious communication” so they ended up in Auschwitz.
 
“Oh, it was a horror, but it’s a horror that happens today—in small communities, to people, in many countries. The first step is to seize communications and later destroy, judgment and death,” he said.

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