HOAX: Pope Francis excommunicated Fr. Robert Reyes

Claim: The Vatican has excommunicated Father Robert Reyes, a known critic of the administration.

The claim was originally posted by satire website The Adobo Chronicles on May 15. The claim was written by a certain Pol Pinoy and has been shared thrice in different Facebook pages and groups. All of these accounted for a combined total of 207 interactions and 85,874 followers.

The post said an “excommunication letter” was sent to the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). The pontiff allegedly said, “Mr. Reyes is banned from entering Catholic churches, presiding over the mass and other Catholic sacraments, or wearing the priestly robe.”

It was then recently posted by Facebook user Carmona Cholo on October 12. It garnered 1,300 reactions and 10,000 shares as of October 23. Commenting had been turned off after 3 comments.

According to the post, Pope Francis said:

Mr. Reyes is banned from entering Catholic churches, presiding over the mass and other catholic sacraments, or wearing the priestly robe when protesting in the streets of Manila. He also cannot use religious statues and sacred icons in his activities when protesting in the streets of Manila. He also cannot use religious statues and sacred icons in his activities.

The Adobo Chronicles post was made 4 days after Reyes declared, “Wake up or face death of democracy.” This was during the ouster of former Supreme Court chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: Father Reyes has not been excommunicated by the Vatican.

"We have not received such letter from the Holy Father Pope Francis excommunicating Fr. Robert Reyes," said CBCP secretary general Fr Marvin Mejia.

An excommunicated church official means one is “officially excluded from participation in the sacraments and services of the Christian Church.”

In the Vatican’s official and news website, there are no mentions of the claim.

Reyes is known to be an “activist priest.” He once declared there is a “war on the Church” after Duterte’s tirades against the Catholic Church.

He was still interviewed as a priest in an October 14 Inquirer article about the canonization of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero.

While The Adobo Chronicles describes itself as a satire website, its readers have been fooled in the past by headlines and content it produced. (READ: Satire vs Fake News: Can you tell the difference?)

Unlike some well known satirical sites, a number of content the site has published failed to highlight the absurd. Comments on the site's content show that readers were not able to identify the supposedly satirical pieces as satire.



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Miguel Imperial/Rappler.com

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