The claim: Pope Francis denounces anti-maskers in his new book
A viral Facebook meme claims to quote Pope Francis calling people who've refused to wear masks and prevent the spread of COVID-19 "selfish."
“Breaking: Pope Francis denounces Anti-Maskers, says they protest for themselves but never for others,” reads the meme posted by the CALL TO ACTIVISM Facebook community on Nov. 25.
The meme then quotes the pope and urges viewers to spread his message:
“You’ll never find such people protesting the death of George Floyd, or joining a demonstration because children lack water or education…they are incapable of moving outside of their own little world of interests.”
The quote comes from Pope Francis’ book “Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future", which hit bookshelves Tuesday.
Fact check : Doctors Without Borders has ended operations in U.S.
Publisher and writer confirm quote
Austen Ivereigh is the papal biographer who wrote the book and has written two others with the pope.
When USA TODAY reached out to Ivereigh and publisher Simon & Schuster, Ivereigh shared a passage of the book where the statement was made. The full quote on page 27 of the book reads:
“You’ll never find such people protesting the death of George Floyd, or joining a demonstration because there are shantytowns where children lack water or education, or because there are whole families who have lost their income. You won’t find them protesting that the astonishing amounts spent on the arms trade could be used to feed the whole of the human race and school every child. On such matters they would never protest; they are incapable of moving outside of their own little world of interests.”
Ivereigh said his conversations with the pope during COVID lockdowns and the events in the summer of 2020 inspired the book.
Our rating: True
A passage from Pope Francis' new book "Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future” criticizes those who've refused to wear face masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. We rate this claim TRUE because it is supported by our research.
Our fact check sources:
The Guardian, Nov. 23, "Pope says anti-maskers stuck in 'their own little world of interests'"
Independent, Nov. 24, "Pope Francis says anti-maskers stuck ‘in their own little world of interests’"
Austeni.org, accessed Nov. 30, "Let Us Dream on sale 1 December"
Simon & Schuster, accessed Nov. 30, "Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future"
Austen Ivereigh, Nov. 30, Email exchange with USA TODAY
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Pope Francis criticizes those who refuse to wear masks