Shalom Life | May 22, 2015

Reports: Pope Didn't Call Abbas an "Angel of Peace"

Vatican reporter claims media took story out of context, misread translation

By: Daniel Koren

Published: May 18th, 2015 in News » World

Photo: Pope Francis & Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Credit: CNN


Immediately following Pope Francis' meeting at the Vatican this weekend with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, stories emerged and circled around the world detailing how the pontiff called Abbas an "angel of peace."

As HonestReporting points out, the AFP, Daily Mail, BBC, and many other outlets participated in publishing the story, including the New York Times:

Presenting Mr. Abbas with a medallion, the pope said it depicted an angel of peace “destroying the bad spirit of war.” It was an appropriate gift, the pope added, since “you are an angel of peace.”

However, as the National Review mentions, the media completely misinterpreted the real story, citing an article from a Vatican reporter, published by Italian paper La Stampa:

As is tradition with heads of State or of government, Francis presented a gift to the Palestinian leader, commenting: “May the angel of peace destroy the evil spirit of war. I thought of you: May you be an angel of peace.” Pope Francis had called Abu Mazen a “man of peace” when he visited Bethlehem in May 2014, just as he called the then Israeli prime minister, Shimon Peres, a “man of peace” during his subsequent visit to Jerusalem. The Argentinian pope had then invited both leaders to a prayer vigil for peace in the Vatican Gardens which took place on 8 June that year and was also attended by the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew.

The Washington Post also circulated the accurate story, noting that the pontiff "encouraged" Abbas to commit to peace - a fairly different concept than calling someone an angel of peace.

Because, say what you want about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but no one really, on either sides, has demonstrated such angelic behavior, especially not Abbas.

In any event, the misprint is yet another example of how the media can entirely mislead and falsify information that millions of people from the around the world depend on.

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