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Aleteia and Catholic Fact-Checking: a response to questions



Aleteia - published on 01/20/22

For our fidelity to our mission of truth-seeking, for combatting disinformation and bringing light, Aleteia, and our partner Our Sunday Visitor, have been maligned and slandered.

The word “Aleteia” is derived from the Greek word ἀλήθεια, meaning “truth.” Answering a dispute over his identity, Jesus urges his hearers, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The truth (ἀλήθεια) is opposed to its two antagonists: shadows and disinformation. In the moral sense, ἀλήθεια expresses light, sincerity and clarity.

From its inception, Aleteia was conceived as a source for truth. Founded by lay Catholics who love the Church and wish to contribute to the mission of evangelization, Aleteia has been supported by the Foundation for Evangelization through the Media (FEM) since 2013. The Foundation, founded in 2011, was created to promote the Church’s presence in media.

Wishing to be a faithful voice for the Gospel in the chaos of the modern world, Aleteia has been encouraged by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization. Aleteia is an independent project, with no hierarchical or financial ties to the Church. However, as a Catholic publication, Aleteia’s editorial activity is developed in line with the Magisterium of Saint Peter’s successors.

Aleteia’s mission is threefold. (1) To inform: to publish reliable, accurate news from the perspective of the Gospel. (2) To share: to create and mobilize a lively and effective social network, a place for sharing information and exchanging experiences, a place where it is good to be. (3) To spread the wonders of faith, hope and charity on the Internet: to promote Christian values and serve the New Evangelization.

Not every news agency, even those projects which claim to be at the service of truth fulfills this mission. For our fidelity to our mission of truth-seeking, for combatting disinformation and bringing light, Aleteia, and our partner Our Sunday Visitor, have been maligned and slandered.

Faithfully carrying out our service to the truth, Aleteia told our readers on March 16, 2021, that we had joined with Our Sunday Visitor and numerous other Catholic media outlets to found a consortium for Catholic media to follow the research of COVID-19 vaccines. The Catholic Fact-checking Consortium investigates and answers the myriad moral and theological questions arising from the development and administration of COVID-19 vaccines. 

In its reporting, this consortium has held fast to the magisterial teaching of the Catholic Church, which declared the use of COVID-19 vaccines morally permissive. Instruction on this moral question, the permissibility of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, has been articulated repeatedly by Pope Francis, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 

The funds for this consortium came, as announced in March 2021, from a grant awarded by Google. Allegations that Aleteia or Our Sunday Visitor has ties to George Soros or Bill Gates are unfounded. Aleteia has never solicited funds from either the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation or the Open Society Foundation. Aleteia accepted the Google grant only on the condition that  we would maintain our editorial independence. As a result, the grant has not directed or influenced our editorial line. In fact, this funding did not create any ideological dependence of the consortium’s media on Google News Initiative, since each media preserved its own line.

To the extent that Aleteia had any prior relationship with Google, we can only explain that, like the majority of news websites, Aleteia chose to use Google’s search technology and other services, beginning in 2013. The decision was akin to choosing to send our product via Fed-Ex or UPS—hardly evidence of a nefarious conspiracy!

The outlandish nature of the claims leveled against Aleteia are easily countered by readily accessible, public information.

In the end, all we can do is continue our mission: Aleteia’s service to the truth. We know the facts surrounding our efforts to clarify COVID-19 vaccine misinformation. As a search through our articles will show, we have done our utmost to treat this complex and challenging topic with rigor, nuance, and precision.

Since the beginning of the pandemic,  Aleteia’s coverage has been transparent, credible, and faithful to the Catholic Church. Those who willfully believe or allege otherwise would do well to recall the words of St. John’s Gospel: “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God” (John 3:20-21).

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