Fact Check

Catholic Priest Who Died for 48 Minutes Claims That God Is a Woman

Rumor: A Catholic priest said that he met God and found God is a woman.

Published Feb 22, 2015

Claim:   A Catholic priest said that he met God and found God is a woman.


Example: [Collected via e-mail, February 2015]

Is it true that a Catholic priest was "dead" for 48 hours, came back alive, and said that he saw God, who was a woman?

Origins: On 4 February 2015, the entertainment web site World News Daily Report published an article claiming that a Catholic priest had met a female God after a brush with death:

A Catholic priest from Massachussetts was officially dead for more than 48 minutes before medics were able to miraculously re-start his heart. During that time, Father John Micheal O'neal claims he went to heaven and met God, which he describes as a warm and comforting motherly figure.

The elderly man claims that he has clear and vivid memories of what happened to him while he was dead. He describes a strange out-of-body experience, experiencing an intense feeling of unconditional love and acceptance, as well as being surrounded by an overwhelming light.

"Her presence was both overwhelming and comforting" states the Catholic priest. "She had a soft and soothing voice and her presence was as reassuring as a mother's embrace. The fact that God is a Holy Mother instead of a Holy Father doesn't disturb me, she is everything I hoped she would be and even more!"

The above-quoted article from the the World News Daily Report was picked up by several other online news outlets, including a CBS Radio affiliate in Dallas, and soon a rumor that God's gender had been confirmed began circulating all over Internet.

But the story about Father John Micheal O'Neal and his visions of a female God are a complete work of fiction. Although this article has been shared by some relatively credible sources, it originated on a fake news site, World News Daily Report, that publishes fantastical fiction rather than factual news stories:

Information contained in this World News Daily Report website is for information and entertainment purposes only.

WNDR assumes however all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website — even those based on real people — are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any persons, living, dead, or undead is purely a miracle.

Furthermore, the image that is frequently attached to the article is also a fabrication: There is no "Father John Michael O'Neal" in the Boston Archdiocese, and the picture is merely a stock photo of an old man in a hospital bed.:

Last updated: 22 February 2015

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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