An unverified tarpaulin shared on a discussion forum website concerned some Filipinos for attributing a quote about being “vaccinated” by the blood of Jesus Christ to Pope Francis.
A Reddit user posted the tarpaulin that bore the names and faces of Bulacan Governor Daniel Fernando and Bulacan Vice-Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado with the following quote:
“I am vaccinated by the blood of Jesus Christ. No virus can touch me! Amen.”
The quote was attributed to the Pope and it bore the hashtags “#WeFightAsOne” and the government’s tagline against the coronavirus disease, “#WeHealAsOne.”
“I’m not against any religion, but this might send a wrong message,” Reddit user raw_nald wrote on Monday.
The online user claimed in the comments thread that it seemed to be “all over” Bulacan and alleged that it was seen in the municipalities of Guguinto and Plaridel as well as Malolos City.
Another Reddit user claimed of seeing it in some compounds in the National Capital Region and similarly questioned its need to be posted.
A Redditor likewise shared that the tarpaulin appeared to send the “wrong message” to the public in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I literally cringed nung nakita ko ‘yan dito sa’min sa Bulacan, and yes kahit ako, I feel like it sends the wrong message, and (I) doubted if the Pope even said that. Pero overall, nag-cringe talaga ako,” the online user wrote.
Another Redditor feared that the quote could be used by “anti-vaxxers” or people campaigning against vaccination as “propaganda.”
While there are still no treatments for COVID-19, several countries around the world are racing to develop an effective vaccine against the viral disease that has sickened millions of people and caused the pandemic.
A vaccine is designed to coach the immune system to detect and fight off a virus even before an infection takes place. It is noted as “powerful tools for controlling viruses across an entire population.”
“Weird ng thinking na ganito. Paano kung paraan ng Diyos ang vaccines para mapagaling ang tao?” another Reddit Reddit user commented in response to the tarpaulin.
The same alleged quote was found in one of Fernando’s posts on his Facebook page last June but there were no attributions to Pope Francis.
"Walang pagsubok na hindi natin nalampasan sa mga nagdaang panahon. Lumaban tayo sa lahat ng pagsubok na may matibay na…
It was accompanied by a quote meant to be a message of hope for the faithful. It said:
“Walang pagsubok na hindi natin nalampasan sa mga nagdaang panahon. Lumaban tayo sa lahat ng pagsubok na may matibay na pananalampalataya sa Panginoon. Ang pandemyang ito ay digmaan ng ating henerasyon. Kung tayo ay magtutulungan, lalawakan ang pang-unawa at ilalagak ang ating buong pagtitiwala sa patnubay at pagliligtas ng Dakilang Diyos, buo ang aking pag-asa na ito ay ating malalagpasan.”
Meanwhile, another Reddit user speculated that the tarpaulin could’ve been inspired by a Facebook post of a pest control company shared last April that attributed the words to the Pope.
Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David in April likewise claimed that the pontiff had urged the faithful to pray the following: “I am vaccinated by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. No virus can touch me.”
“Binakunahan ako ng Mahal na Dugo ni Kristo; may panlaban ako sa virus!” David added in a reflection piece.
However, some social media users have expressed skepticism over the supposed suggestion of the pontiff.
A Twitter user, who described himself as a military journalist, claimed that “no such request or the prayer itself exists on Pope Francis’ Twitter page itself.”
Facebook users in the comments section of the pest control company that shared the alleged quote likewise expressed their concerns.
“I couldn’t find any information from Vatican News that Pope Francis ever made such a prayer request. It’s dangerous and superstitious to spread such fake news…” an online user wrote.
“I don’t think Pope Francis asked for this. And I didn’t find a reliable source on it. Plus it doesn’t seem consistent with Church teaching. The virus or any natural danger can hurt us if we are not careful,” another Facebook user said.
“But we shouldn’t be afraid. St Paul in Romans 14:8 reminds us that whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. I think that would be more aligned with Pope Francis’s message. Peace!” he added.
There are currently no reports of the Pope allegedly saying the particular quote but he did urged the public not to “yield to fear” and be “messengers of life in a time of death.”
The pontiff in an Easter vigil service on April recalled a Biblical account of a woman who found Jesus’ tomb empty on the day the Christians believed he had risen from the dead.
“Then too, there was fear about the future and all that would need to be rebuilt. A painful memory, a hope cut short. For them, as for us, it was the darkest hour,” the Pope said, as quoted by BBC News.
“Do not be afraid, do not yield to fear: this is the message of hope. It is addressed to us today,” he added.