Fact Check

FALSE: Pope Francis Said 'Women Are Naturally Unfit for Political Office

Rumor: Pope Francis once said 'Women are naturally unfit for political office.'

Published Mar 14, 2013


Claim:   Pope Francis once said "Women are naturally unfit for political office."


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, March 2013]

Did Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, really once say this?

"Women are naturally unfit for political office. Both the natural order and facts show us that the political being par excellence is male; the Scripture shows us that woman has always been the helper of man who thinks and does, but nothing more."


Origins:   This quote about Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio's stating that "Women are naturally unfit for political office" was circulated in the immediate aftermath of his selection as pope in March 2013 and was supposedly voiced by him in 2007 in reference to Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's successful candidacy for the presidency of Argentina that year. However, no documentation or reference for this quote antedating March 2013 has been found other than a single source of dubious veracity, as noted in an article denouncing the statement as an "urban legend" on Foros Perú:

I'm an acid critic of the Catholic Church, but I alway try to maintain objectivity.

So I searched for a reliable source for the quote attributed to the new Pope Francis I, supposedly made when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires.

But apparently it is just a malicious invention.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio has not yet served his first 24 hours as pope and the far left is already using the dirty propaganda tactic of lying, attributing to him a specific false statement supposedly made when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires in 2007, even though there was no trace of the quote on the Internet prior to yesterday.

These false statements about Monsignor Bergoglio saying that "women are naturally unfit for political office" were posted on Yahoo Answers by an Argentinean using the handle "Bumper Crop." This user posted what seemed to be an official report from the Argentinean news agency Telam but included no source link.

A thorough Google search shows that before March 13, 2013, there was no other trace of such a statement on the Internet, except in the Yahoo Answers forum. If the Argentinean media had published an official report from the Telam news agency documenting the openly misogynistic statement of an archbishop, leftist Argentine media, forums, blogs, etc., Would have echoed it and prompted a scandal. But there is no documentation for the alleged statement, no sign of it before the hoax began spreading widely yesterday. In fact, the website of the Telam news agency includes no evidence of such statements.

Despite the lack of evidence, a Mexican atheist organization spread these false statements on Facebook last night, reaching 18,000 followers in 13 hours and achieving nearly 11,000 shares. The dissemination of this hoax was furthered today when the Costa Rican daily newspaper El Pais published the hoax quotation without documentation, skipping the most basic of journalistic ethics and saying only that it was "a wire report from the Argentinean state news agency, Telam," which had been circulated on the Internet.

Last updated:   30 September 2015

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

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