Pope Francis Memes You Can Trust!

People love Pope Francis, and they love Pope Francis memes.  They love them so much, in fact, that they will repost them whether they are true or not.

But truth matters, y’all, and Pope Francis is saying awesome things ALL THE TIME. There’s no need to make things up.

So I’ve made some new memes, using a fair use photo from Google and actual quotations from the Pope’s visit to the United States.  If I make more, I will come back and add them here.  If you like them, please share the post and/or the memes! I’ve already taken care of the attribution. 🙂

Let’s spread some wisdom and truth today!

pope meme 2

Pope Meme 3

pope meme 4

Untitled design (1)

Walls are never the solution. But bridges are, always.

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All Dogs Go to Heaven, and That Other Thing Pope Francis Never Said

I’ve done it, you’ve done it–go ahead, admit it–forwarded a meme or an email that was so perfect, such a reflection of and corroboration of personal views, only to find out later it was a pack of lies.  It’s human nature to crave affirmation, and when such a beloved and respected person as Pope Francis is doing the affirming, that’s REALLY affirming.

But let’s remember the famous words of Abraham Lincoln, y’all:

As Francis Fever sweeps the nation, Francis memes, old and new, are flooding the internet.  Two extremely popular ones which I’ve made efforts to combat before are back again and stronger than ever, being forwarded by normally trusted sources including Catholics who really should know better.

pope francis pets

Now, I hope as much as anyone that my dogs are in heaven, but that doesn’t change the fact that this meme is not true.

The above meme comes in many forms, and springs from a longer and more complicated story that made the rounds awhile back and also included the gift of a goat and the blessing of guide dogs.  I was suspicious of the story when I first read it, even though as you can see it was being reported by the mainstream press.  It took me about an hour of clicking back and doing research on the Vatican website to realize that the original article in the Italian press had conflated several events and was being misquoted to boot.  Anyone could have done this research but apparently they did not bother.

Y’all, come on.  I cannot BELIEVE that Catholics are circulating this.  I’ve heard plenty of people saying this, but not Pope Francis.  He didn’t say it or anything like it.

Pope Francis has said a lot of wonderful things.  He has also said a lot of challenging things.  Many are uncomfortable with some of his verifiable statements regarding homosexuals, capitalism, and climate change, to name just a few.

But what he has never done, as he very recently reminded reporters, is say anything that falls outside of Church teaching:

I’m sure that I haven’t said anything more than what’s written in the social doctrine of the Church . . . a colleague asked me . . .  “But is the Church going to follow you?” I told him, “I’m the one following the Church.” . . . Things can be explained, possibly an explanation gave an impression of being a little “to the left”, but it would be an error of explanation . . .  And it if necessary, I’ll recite the creed. I am available to do that, eh.

Yes, y’all, you read that right:  all that awesome stuff Pope Francis says is stuff the Church has been teaching all along! It’s all right there in the Catechism and encyclicals, and even most Catholics never read it, and it’s beautiful.  Pope Francis somehow is able to put these teachings into word and action in a way that resonates with people today.  People are listening to him and hearing the doctrine.  Because many cannot reconcile his words with their perception of the Church, they try to frame him as progressive or liberal or as someone who has come to change the Church, and I believe that is what gives rise to these memes that clearly do not reflect Church doctrine.

Pope Francis follows the Church

I’m linking this up to Worth Revisit, the weekly Wednesday linkup hosted by Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb.  You can join in or read the other contributions by clicking the picture below!

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In Which TIME Magazine Channels Its Inner National Enquirer

Inquiring minds want to know . . . does that woman on the cover of Time Magazine REALLY nurse her kid in that position?  And did she REALLY think she was furthering the cause of extended breastfeeding by posing for that controversial cover shot?  And did it ever occur to her that she was exploiting her kid and her relationship with him for personal gain?
I hate to give this any more attention than it has garnered already. (Good job, Time; your tactic worked!)  I haven’t even read the article and don’t intend to.  But if anyone ever doubted that the sources we once counted on to inform us of the news are now in the business of CREATING the news, look no further than this stunt.  Time doesn’t care to inform us about the truth of extended breastfeeding and the benefits of attachment; they wish to inflame us and create a controversy where there doesn’t need to be one.
The reason I’m responding instead of ignoring is because I’m an expert on extended breastfeeding.  And in the interest of my passion for the truth, I want to share my experiences so that the cover of Time won’t be all that rises to your brain when the subject comes up.
Just like anyone my age, I grew up seeing babies fed mostly with bottles.  For a variety of reasons having to do with the culture of the times and poor advice, four months was the longest my mother nursed a baby.  My impression of breastfeeding, even when I was first pregnant, was that it was something you did for a few months and then you switched to bottles.  I saved the formula coupons I received in the mail while I was pregnant.
But, as you know, I love to read.  It was inevitable that I would do a lot of reading while I was pregnant and a few books I read at that time changed my life.  Emily never had a bottle of formula and I nursed her for 26 months.  I nursed Jake for 38 months (and yes, that means I nursed him throughout my pregnancy with Teddy, and nursed the two of them together until they weaned when Teddy was 26 months old).  William nursed at least until Lorelei was born (which is 42 months) and I don’t remember exactly but I know Lorelei was past four when she stopped.  (Yes, I nursed babies for 13 years.  Give me a medal.)
When Emily was born, the above would have sounded just as weird to me as it may sound to you.  But it’s different when it’s your own kid, your own baby.  Sure, you look at a four-year-old next to a newborn and the contrast seems extreme,  But when you are in the middle of mothering, there’s little difference between nursing your four-month-old or your six-month-old, your one-year-old or your eighteen-month-old, and so on.  It’s a seamless transition.  Do you think anything about letting your ten-year-old sit in your lap?  Would you think it was odd if he wanted to climb into bed with you if he had a nightmare?  Is it strange that my eighteen-year-old son likes to hug me and say, “I love my Mommy?”  I don’t know, maybe you will think it’s strange, but whatever.  You probably have your own sort of strangeness in your house.
I didn’t stand around in the kitchen with my kid on a step stool.  I didn’t pose for any cameras.  I lay down with my preschoolers and bedtime and naptime.  We cuddled on the couch.  They wanted to nurse for comfort when they were hurt or upset.
There are many benefits to extended breastfeeding.  The nutritional and health benefits don’t go away as the child ages.  I have the healthiest children I know, bar none.  Emily has not visited a doctor for illness since she was TWO YEARS OLD.   We’ve had one earache per kid.  No strep throat.  One or two antibiotic prescriptions apiece throughout childhood.  My two younger kids slept with me from birth.  There were no sleep issues or problems.  I never had any difficulty getting anyone down for a nap or to sleep at night or back to sleep if they woke up (once I stopped stressing about solving sleep problems, which I may post about another time).  If someone was hurt or sad, I could comfort them easily.  And my kids are not clingy at all.  Having their needs fully met as infants, toddlers, and preschoolers helps them feel good about themselves, helps them feel secure and safe.  We live in a society that pushes independence on little kids and denies it to big kids.  We stick babies in their own rooms and expect them to sleep through the night and then we monitor our teenagers’ homework and grades and go with them to college orientation and tell them what classes to take.  That’s BACKWARDS, people.
And you know what?  Extended breastfeeding is NORMAL.  It’s  NATURAL.  Around the world, 50% of babies are still being nursed at the age of 20-23 months.  In many countries the figure is much higher.  The WHO recommends children be nursed until the age of two or beyond.  If you don’t want to, that’s fine.  But biologically it is not strange, not weird, not abnormal.  It’s what women’s breasts are FOR, and even though Time meant to be provocative, it’s pretty damn pathetic that people can be whipped into a fury over a woman using her breast for its intended purpose on one magazine cover while not saying a WORD about all the synthetic almost-bare breasts adorning the covers of all the other magazines.

extended breastfeeding
Courtesy of Mama Fresh (www.pusteblumenbaby.de)

Straight from the Horse's Mouth

I think the Internet’s pretty awesome, really I do. It’s great to be able to settle dinnertime arguments and answer children’s millions of questions with a click of an iPhone button. It’s way convenient not have to travel down to the library to check out a book or look in the encyclopedia when I want to learn something new. And it’s great to be able to go into greater depth on the issues I care about without having to rely on only the nightly news or the daily paper.
Do you sense a “but” coming? You are right, and it’s a big one.
BUT a lot of what you read on the Internet is–NEWS FLASH–not true. Or it’s incomplete. Or slanted. Or out of context.
My freshman year at Georgetown my history professor introduced us to an idea I had never considered before. He said that you can’t take the accuracy of historical accounts for granted. He said you have to consider who wrote the account and when, and what personal or cultural biases might have influenced what he chose to include, what he left out, what conclusions he drew. For our final paper, we had to pick a controversial historical figure and read several sources for information, picking from different eras. We were to discuss why each authority presented what he did, and then reach our own conclusion about our subject.
I had grown up thinking–most of us did, I imagine–that if I read or watched the news each day I pretty much knew what was going on in the world. If Tom Brokaw or Peter Jennings said it, you felt like you could trust them. Remember little Virginia O’Hanlon, who asked the editor of The New York Sun about the existence of Santa Claus, because her papa told her: “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so”?
Distrust of the mainstream media started before the Internet, of course, but has accelerated since. Now everyone can be an expert, and no one has to give up any cherished opinion because, after all, one can fine website after website to support any position or point of view. Far from educating us, it’s actually entrenching us further in willful ignorance.
I am that obnoxious person who will actually write you back to refute the email you just sent me saying that President Obama canceled the National Day of Prayer or that President Bush has the lowest I.Q. of any president in the last 50 years. I’ll send you the link from snopes.com to prove it. I’ll post it in the comments if you put it on Facebook and I might just blog about it too. That’s because truth is important and in the days of instant information overload, it’s in short supply.
Essentially, most of us are intellectually lazy.  And also we are accustomed to thinking that if we read a published account, especially if it’s on a mainstream website like AOL, it’s true.  Few of us realize how the very issues of importance are decided upon for us by the media.  We read what they want us to read, how they want to present it, and they are no longer driven by a quest for truth but rather by a quest for page views.  Any time I read something that is stirring up a lot of comments and controversy, I am immediately suspicious of it and start to delve further.
A good example is a story that made the rounds a few months ago that Pope Benedict said that “Gay marriage is a threat to humanity’s future.”  Long story short, that’s not what he said.  Creative reuse of one or two comments he made in a long speech created the impression that not only did he say that, but it was all he said or cared about.  But even in these deceptive stores, they include hyperlinks that can lead to the truth if you try hard enough.  Eventually I was able to find out when and to whom the remarks were made, and then I went to the Vatican website and read the whole speech myself.  That way I did not have to rely on AOL to tell me what to think.  I could think for myself.
(Side note to my Catholic readers: Do I seriously need to tell you that Huffpost News isn’t the best source for the facts about Catholicism?  Might I suggest the USCCB website, or the Catechism, or the Vatican website, or at the very least that you read the original source material for yourself before allowing your view of your own faith to be influenced by the media, which is at best ignorant and at worst hostile about religion?)
Same thing with the recent talk about how 98% of Catholic women use birth control.  That figure comes from a study, supposedly.  Much back-clicking finally yielded that study itself, so that I could see that the much-bandied statistic is inaccurate.
Or there was the whole Kirk Cameron-is-a-bigot “scandal,” which looks a bit different if you actually watch the interview in which his remarks were made or read the entire transcript, as I took the time to do.
Or there’s the perception that people with children need to keep them under perpetual lockdown because of all those people stealing kids out there? (As I told my mother yesterday, “If it happened all the time it wouldn’t be news.”)
Or there’s the email I received yesterday containing allegations that President Obama is a Muslim, or a Marxist, or both.
I cannot say this often enough:  consider your source.  Consider your source.  CONSIDER YOUR SOURCE!  What bias does it have?  Can it speak authoritatively to the topic?  What advantage does it gain by portraying the “facts” in a certain light?  Wherever possible, read the speech yourself (the whole speech).  Watch the video yourself (the whole thing).  Check a reputable, fact-checking site.  The Internet helps lies to spread like wildfire, but don’t forget that it also provides the tools you need to refute them.
There are always going to be stories that cannot be confirmed this way–ones in which, for example, eyewitnesses give conflicting accounts.  Or maybe you don’t have time to read the entire Affordable Care Act (although I am seriously considering making the attempt).  In such cases you should read several sources.  Factcheck.org is a good choice if you want to avoid bias.  I find it helpful to read sources with opposing viewpoints so I see both sides of the story before forming an opinion.
Does this sound exhausting?  Sometimes it is.  Sometimes I see an inaccuracy or misrepresentation on Facebook that I know is going to take more than a quick trip to Snopes to investigate but I still do it.  You can make it easier for me and other truth-seekers if you do the same, BEFORE you post that interesting article that supports what you were thinking already.  You can check Snopes, or look at Factcheck.org.  You can take a few minutes to click back to that article’s original source and read it and THINK FOR YOURSELF.  And if you are too intellectually lazy to do those things, you can choose not to forward or repost.

Because Truth Matters

Let’s get this straight from the very beginning.  I’m not planning to vote for Rick Santorum.  I disagree profoundly with most of his positions.  So the defense that follows has nothing to do with my personal political leanings.  It has to do instead with my passion for the truth, the same passion that leads me to consult Snopes before forwarding emails, and to risk offending people by telling them that the emails they are forwarding are LIES.  And you can believe me or not, but I have even done this when the email in question supported my own prejudices.
Rick Santorum’s wife DID NOT have an abortion, no matter what you may have read to the contrary on your favorite website, or what your friend on Facebook said, no matter how much you want to believe it.  Here’s what happened in my own words:  Karen Santorum was about 19 weeks pregnant when her unborn baby was found to be suffering from a fatal condition.  This is where a lot of people choose to terminate.  Instead, the Santorums tried intrauterine surgery.  Tragically, the surgery caused an infection.  Mrs. Santorum had a fever of 105.  Again, instead of moving straight to early induction of their non-viable baby, the Santorums tried antibiotics first.  Labor started due to the infection.  Mrs. Santorum even asked for drugs to stop the labor.  Despite all the lies circulating on the internet, Pitocin was never administered.  Baby Gabriel was born at 20 weeks and apparently lived a short while.  Through this whole ordeal, the Santorums acted according to their stated principles.
Despite his admittedly strict anti-abortion/pro-life sentiments (no exceptions for rape or incest), I cannot find any evidence that Mr. Santorum ever said that abortion should be prohibited if it is necessary to save the mother’s life.  Both he and his wife in fact stated that if it had come down to his wife’s death or early induction, they would have chosen induction.  Mr. Santorum did sign a personhood pledge, but it provides an exception to save the mother’s life.
Here are links about the Santorums’ baby:  Salon article
NPR interview
Here are more links about his position on abortion to save the mother’s life:  http://www.dennyburk.com/gop-candidates-dont-allow-exceptions-for-the-life-of-a-mother/
http://politics.foxnews.mobi/quickPage.html?page=23681&content=63653356&pageNum=-1
So hate Mr. Santorum (or vote against him) for being pro-life, or anti-abortion, or anti-choice if you want–I don’t really care how you express it.  But don’t hate him for being a hypocrite, because he’s not.