By a video shared on social media, it was claimed that Pope Francis suddenly disappeared with the views during the ceremony in the Vatican on 13 April 2020. It was also claimed that the person in the video could be the Pope’s hologram. One of the posts got more than 12,000 likes.
The reason behind this claim is that there are more claims about that the Pope caught the new coronavirus or was seriously ill although he tested negative for the new coronavirus twice. There are other claims even saying that the Pope died, and it was not announced yet.
The video in the claim is not a part of a live broadcast but a part of the news reported by WWMT, a local television channel in the United States of America, about the ceremony in the Vatican. While assembling the views, there could be a mistake because it is not seen in the live broadcast.
However, when the video is examined by zooming in and slowing down, it is seen that as soon as the Pope disappears, a small white image remains in the lower right corner of the window. When we watch the live broadcast version of the same moments and compare the part of the Pope back down the stairs with the angle in the video in the claim, the whiteness that appears in the lower right corner of the window seems likely to belong to the Pope’s clothing.
When we zoom the views, we can see that the black part was masked on the Pope. When we zoom the moment when the Pope disappears, we can see the difference of blackness left in place of the Pope and the distortion in the lines of the curtain on the left.
The claims about the Pope were strengthened by the doubts about the health of the Pope. However, he officiated a prayer on 17 April 2020 after the ceremony in the claim.
The Vatican halted touristic visits. Pope Francis stated in the interview on 8 April that everyone has worked at home and that the meals have been eaten in two alternating shifts. In order to prevent crowds, Pope’s activities in the public area were also canceled.
In conclusion, the claim is not true. The video in the claim that the Pope disappeared was changed. The post in question is an example of a manipulated content.
CatholicPhilly.com, Vatican confirms pope does not have COVID-19, 29 March 2020
YouTube, April 13, 2020, Regina Coeli prayer I Pope Francis, 13 April 2020
YouTube, WWMT yayın, 13 April 2020
Commonweal Magazine, An Interview with Pope Francis, 8 April 2020
Reuters, Pope cancels main public appearances to stop crowds gathering amid coronavirus, 7 March 2020
VaticanNews, Cardinal Vicar of Rome tests positive for coronavirus, 31 March 2020
VaticanNews, Ninth case of Covid-19 in the Vatican, 20 April 2020
TheNewYorkTimes, coronavirus and Vatican, 27 March 2020
YouTube, April 17, 2020, Santa Marta Mass | Pope Francis, 17 April 2020
salute.gov.it, Covid-19 - Situazione in Italia, 20 April 2020
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Translation: Hilal Ebru Yakar