Fake News: Pope Francis Did NOT Compare Christians To Fungus

Fact Check

  • by: Alan Duke
Fake News: Pope Francis Did NOT Compare Christians To Fungus

Did Pope Francis compare Christians to a fungus during an address in Morocco? No, that's not true: The speech quoted in misleading stories included the pope quoting a biblical passage in which Jesus responds to a question about the nature of the Kingdom of God by saying "It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened" (Luke 13:18.21). While yeast is technically a fungus, the implication that the head of the Catholic Church was comparing Christians to a fungus is false.

The story originated from an article published on April 4, 2019 titled "Pope Francis Compares Christians To Fungus; Hails Muslims As 'Sons of Abraham'" (archived here) which opened:

Pope Francis has praised Muslims as "sons of Abraham" while comparing Christians to a microscopic single-cell fungus, during a bizarre speech in Morocco, a North African nation with a 99 percent Muslim majority.

After ordering Christians in the nation not to convert Muslims to the gospel of Christ, Pope Francis said God wants Christians to be like "yeast" and promoted his idea of "inter-faith brotherhood", before defending his recent track record of visiting Muslim states.

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

Pope Francis Compares Christians To Fungus; Hails Muslims As 'Sons of Abraham'

Is this the false Pope?

Pope Francis delivered his message on Sunday, March 31, 2019, on the second day of his historic visit to Morocco. Christians are a tiny minority in the Northern African country where 99 percent of the population is Muslim, with sub-Saharan Africans making up a large part of the country's 30,000-strong Catholic community, according to Agence France-Presse.

Francis offered advice to the Christian minority that they should not try to convert Muslims in Morocco to Christianity, because it would only lead to an "impasse," the AFP reported.

Speaking in Rabat's cathedral on his second day in the Moroccan capital, Francis insisted trying to convert people to one's own belief "always leads to an impasse".

"Please, no proselytism!" he told an audience of around 400, who greeted the pope's arrival by ululating and applauding, while hundreds more gathered outside the cathedral.

It was in this context that Francis quote the passage from the book of Luke:

Christians are a small minority in this country. Yet, to my mind, this is not a problem, even though I realize that at times it can be difficult for some of you. Your situation reminds me of the question asked by Jesus: "What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it? ... It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened" (Lk 13:18.21). Paraphrasing the Lord's words, we can ask ourselves: What are Christians like, in these lands? To what can we compare them? They are like a little yeast that Mother Church wants to mix in with a great quantity of flour until all of it is leavened. For Jesus did not choose us and send us forth to become more numerous! He called us to a mission. He put us in the midst of society like a handful of yeast: the yeast of the Beatitudes and the fraternal love by which, as Christians, we can all join in making present his kingdom. In this context I recall the counsel of Saint Francis to his brothers as he sent them out: "Go out and preach the Gospel: and if necessary, also with words".

The full transcript of the pope's message can be read here on the Vatican website.

The NewsPunch story concluded with the the statement that Pope Francis "is a leading player in the plot to usher in a New World Order, determined to mislead his flock while serving the global cabal."

NewsPunch (formerly YourNewsWire) has published several hoaxes and fake news articles in the past so anything they write or publish should be taken with a large grain of salt. Their Facebook page "The People's Voice" even lost its verification checkmark according to a report from MMFA.

The Terms of Use of the site (archived here, still referencing YourNewsWire) also make it clear they don't really stand behind the accuracy of any of their reporting:


The site was profiled in the Hollywood reporter where it was described as:

Your News Wire, a 3-year-old website of murky facts and slippery spin, is published by Sean Adl-Tabatabai and Sinclair Treadway -- a Bernie Sanders supporter in 2016 -- out of an apartment in L.A.'s historic El Royale.

RationalWiki described it as:

YourNewsWire (styled as YourNewsWire.com[1]) is an Los Angeles-based clickbait fake news website known for disseminating conspiracy theories and misleading information, contrary to its claimed motto ("News. Truth. Unfiltered").[1]

A while ago we reported that YourNewsWire had rebranded itself as NewsPunch by changing its domain name in an apparent effort to evade filtering/blocking.

NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes newspunch.com as:

A website, formerly known as YourNewsWire.com, that regularly publishes false information and far-right conspiracy theories.

According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.

We wrote about newspunch.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

Want to inform others about the accuracy of this story?

See who is sharing it (it might even be your friends...) and leave the link in the comments.:

  Alan Duke

Editor-in-Chief Alan Duke co-founded Lead Stories after ending a 26-year career with CNN, where he mainly covered entertainment, current affairs and politics. Duke closely covered domestic terrorism cases for CNN, including the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, the UNABOMBER and search for Southeast bomber Eric Robert Rudolph. CNN moved Duke to Los Angeles in 2009 to cover the entertainment beat. Duke also co-hosted a daily podcast with former HLN host Nancy Grace, "Crime Stories with Nancy Grace" and hosted the podcast series "Stan Lee's World: His Real Life Battle with Heroes & Villains." You'll also see Duke in many news documentaries, including on the Reelz channel, CNN and HLN.

Read more about or contact Alan Duke

About Us

International Fact-Checking Organization Meta Third-Party Fact Checker

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, misleading, deceptive or inaccurate stories, videos or images going viral on the internet.
Spotted something? Let us know!.

Lead Stories is a:


Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Lead Stories LLC:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Most Read

Most Recent

Share your opinion