Fact Check: Mafia Assassins Were NOT Sent To Rome To Avenge Pope Francis' 'Death' -- He Wasn't Killed

Fact Check

  • by: Christiana Dillard
Fact Check: Mafia Assassins Were NOT Sent To Rome To Avenge Pope Francis' 'Death' -- He Wasn't Killed Not Murdered

Were Mafia assassins dispatched to Rome during the Christmas holiday season to avenge the murder of Pope Francis? No, that's not true: The pope was alive on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Additionally, the claim primarily relies on several conspiracy theories to "prove" its case.

The claim appeared in an article (archived here) published by BenjaminFulford.net on December 27, 2021, titled "Mafia assassins descend on Rome to avenge murder of Pope Francis." The opening paragraphs read:

The Italian white nobility has sent mafia assassins to Rome to avenge the murder of Pope Francis by the Khazarian Satanists, P3 Freemason sources say. The closure of St. Peter's on Christmas day was the trigger, they say.

The Pope was killed and replaced because he was against the ongoing vaccine campaign, they add. 'the war against kaballa [the Khazarian Mafia] and the war against the vaccine are the same game because the vaccine is the Armageddon of the Kabala to fuck the world,' a P3 source said.

This is how the article looked on December 28, 2021:

Screenshot 2021-12-28 1.25.41 PM.png

(Source: BenjaminFulford.net screenshot taken on Tue Dec 28 18:25:41 2021 UTC)

While the article makes other in-depth, conspiratorial claims, this fact check will only focus on the claim that Mafia assassins were sent to Rome to retaliate against the pope's "death," along with examining the claim the article makes about why the pope was "killed."

Lead Stories found no evidence that the pope was dead, let alone killed, in the days preceding Christmas Day or on Christmas Day. The basis for the claim appears to be this Facebook post (archived here) published on December 24, 2021, that suggests an unusual lack of activity in the square around St. Peter's Basilica. Because the post was published the day before Christmas, it can't prove the article's claim that there was a "closure of St. Peter's on Christmas day."

More importantly, the pope was alive during the period under discussion. He led both the Christmas Eve mass at St. Peter's Basilica on December 24, 2021, held at 7:30 local time, and delivered a Christmas Day message and blessing at the Central Loggia of St. Peter's Basilica on December 25, 2021, held at noon local time.

There is also no evidence to support the article's claim that the pope is "against the ongoing vaccine campaign." While the article does not explicitly mention the COVID-19 vaccine, that vaccination effort is at the heart of public health measures at the time of writing. The pope has come out in support of COVID vaccination and the Vatican has COVID prevention measures -- including the use of documentation of vaccination -- in place for its employees and visitors.

Although the proof that the pope was not killed before or on Christmas Day nullifies the claims that a group of assassins was sent to avenge his death, it is useful to mention that the groups named in this false scenario stem from conspiracy theories. The terms "Khazarian Satanists" and the "kaballa" seem to be a hodgepodge of ideas based on the Khazarian Jewish ancestry hypothesis and Kabbala, a traditional esoteric Jewish mysticism, respectively. "Kaballa" may also be a misspelling of "cabal," a phrase that has found popularity in the QAnon conspiracy theory movement. According to the movement's followers, this "cabal" is a group of evil, abusive elites, and seems to purposely implicate several powerful Jewish figures. The notion of "P3 Freemasons" appears to be a mix of ideas based on an Italian political scandal named after Propaganda Due or P2, a now-defunct Italian masonic lodge that had wielded political power in the country.

Other Lead Stories debunks involving Pope Francis can be found here.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.


  Christiana Dillard

Christiana Dillard is a former news writer for Temple University’s Lew Klein College of Media and Communication. She received her undergraduate degree in English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been a freelance writer for several organizations including the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, Pitt Magazine, and The Heinz Endowments. When she’s not producing or studying media she’s binging it, watching YouTube videos or any interesting series she can find on streaming services.

Read more about or contact Christiana Dillard

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