Fabricated report falsely claims Italian police ‘arrested scores of paedophile cardinals’ in Vatican

AFP Fact Check

February 19, 2021

By Richard Kang

Social media posts circulating online in February 2021 have shared a purported report stating Italian law enforcement “arrested scores of paedophile cardinals” in Vatican City. The claim is false: the purported report is not a genuine news article. The text appears to have originated from a satirical blog post that used an unrelated photo of Italian police. Whilst two Catholic priests were put on trial in the Vatican in October 2020 over allegations of sex abuse, there have been no credible reports that “scores” of cardinals were arrested at the Vatican for sex abuse in February 2021.

The claim was published here on Facebook on February 11, 2021.

“(Breaking News) Italian police and army raided the Vatican City and arrested scores of paedophile cardinals. Reported by UN News,” reads the Korean-language post.

The claim was shared alongside a link to a purported news report published on February 10, 2021, by UN News, a Seoul-based online newspaper that is not affiliated with the United Nations.

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