Claims that Francis had been arrested during the supposed blackout soon began to circulate on social media.
One tweet read: “3 hours ago Pope Francis aka Jorge Bergoglio was arrested 80 counts indictment possession of porn, human trafficking, incest, possession of drug paraphernalia felony fraud and more holy chit.”
A video posted on Facebook raised further suspicions. Part of the video’s voiceover says: “They’ve got blackouts, the pope is being arrested with child pornography.”
The Canadian website Conservative Beaver – which has previously published disproven conspiracy theories – posted details of the alleged charges against the pope, including human trafficking and possession of child pornography.
Is there any truth to these claims?
Pope and Vatican continue to fill busy schedule
The pope was also active on Twitter, tweeting at least four times. In his last tweet of the day he said he was “praying for the United States of America, shaken by the recent attack on Congress”, referring to the attack by supporters of president Donald Trump on the US Congress in the Capitol building.
Butorac reposted a clip from the live video of the night of 9 January on his blog, which showed that while the screen went dark, probably as the exposure of the camera changed, lights were on.
He said: “You can see the dome, you can see the lights of the colonnade, you can see some office/apartment lights, you can see the nativity lights, you can see the Christmas tree star.”
The Catholic News Agency also received reports from residents of the Vatican who said there was no power outage on 9 January.
The video posted on Facebook was in fact filmed on 20 September 2020, and shows the motorcade for US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, on his way to meet Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte in Rome. Corriere della Sera, an Italian news channel, has footage of the same motorcade.
Pope Francis appeared on live video on 10 January 2021 and there is no credible evidence or reports from trustworthy news sources that he has been arrested on any of the charges rumoured on social media.
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