No, Pope Francis did not change the Ten Commandments

Pope Francis celebrates Mass on March 12 at the Rome parish of St. Magdalene of Canossa. (CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)Pope Francis celebrates Mass on March 12 at the Rome parish of St. Magdalene of Canossa. (CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)

Pope Francis didn't say that God had told him to revise the Ten Commandments as claimed in a widely shared story. Francis never made the purported comments and has not changed or added to the Ten Commandments. He has no authority to do that, given that the core moral teachings of Christianity and Judaism were said to have been revealed to Moses by God and are written in the Bible.

The story said Francis made the announcement on July 6, 2015, in Guayaquil, Ecuador, during his first Mass at the start of a three-nation South American tour. It said Francis had revised the biblical teaching to cover children raised by same-sex parents and removed prohibitions on adultery. It said Francis had added new commandments to forbid genetic engineering and self-glorification and said the Vatican was having a new set of commandments etched into marble.

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The pope did indeed celebrate his first Mass in Ecuador on July 6, 2015, but his homily focused on the Virgin Mary and the joy of families. At no time during the trip, or at any other point in his four-year pontificate, has Francis changed the Ten Commandments.

The story appeared on a site called Real News Right Now, which is listed on media watch lists as a hoax site. The purported author, R. Hobbus J.D., is identified on the website as an investigative journalist who has won awards that don't exist, including the "Oscar Mayer Award for Journalistic Excellence."

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said such stories are "absurd" and that most people recognize them as such.

"We're aware of many of these fake stories, but most don't merit any action on our part because they're so far-fetched," he said.

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This story is part of an ongoing Associated Press effort to fact-check claims in suspected false news stories.

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