In what is being compared to the scandalous plot of a Dan Brown novel, Italian media is swirling with conspiracy theories after a newspaper incorrectly reported that Pope Francis had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. The rumor first surfaced in the Italian newspaper Quotidiano Nazionale, which reported that the Pope had been examined by a Japanese doctor back in January who had determined that he had a benign brain tumor that could be treated without surgery — which, to be honest, is not even a good rumor to spread about your Pope.
However, the Vatican quickly fired back that the story was false, and the new story has turned into a salacious whodunit as to “WHO WANTS THE POPE DEAD,” as another newspaper emblazoned across its front page. The scandal has rocked the Vatican during an important meeting of the world’s bishops on family issues, as many of the Pope’s detractors oppose the fact that he promotes sympathy towards homosexuals and divorcees.
La Repubblica quoted Argentine Bishop Victor Manuel Fernandez as fearing a well-planned “apocalyptic strategy” against Francis by conservatives who want to destabilize the Church and block his attempts to change it.
Leading political columnist Massimo Franco wrote in Corriere della Sera daily that the story was probably “hatched in the most murky Vatican underground and was aimed at de-legitimizing the pontiff”.
“Hatched in the most murky Vatican underground” would sound so much cooler, except that the best scandal they could come up with was about a benign tumor that would have no effect on his ability to pope. Literally, a Kentucky hillbilly making up fanciful stories has done more to nearly tarnish the Pope’s reputation than the best henchmen the Vatican has to offer.