Pope Francis targeted by 'fake news' posing as official Vatican paper

As part of what appears to be an ongoing campaign to undermine Pope Francis, an anonymous source emailed a fake newspaper page to Catholic bishops and cardinals this week.

The page, obtained by NBC News, poses as the front of L'Osservatore Romano, and includes a main Italian headline that says "He answered!"

The fake interview features a storyline where the pontiff addresses a request from cardinals to respond on whether divorced and married Catholics can receive Holy Communion, to which Pope Francis supposedly answers both "yes and no."

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Four prominent cardinals did in reality write Francis asking for clarity around his stance on family issues -- but the pope did not publicly reply.

This display comes on the heels of posters accusing Pope Francis of attacking conservative Catholics appeared around Rome this weekend and were swiftly covered up by city authorities.

The posters, put up during the night between Friday and Saturday by mystery activists, featured a picture of a stern-faced pope and the slogan: "Where's your mercy?"

There was also a New York Times report released this week noting White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon has, over the years, formed alliances with a number of the Pope's detractors.