The pope is writing a document on fake news

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - If you ever wondered how to say "fake news" in Latin, it's "nuntii fallaces" - and Pope Francis is writing a document on just that.

Francis announced it himself in a tweet to his nearly 40 million followers on Friday, saying the theme of his message for the Roman Catholic Church's next World Day of Social Communications will be "The truth will set you free. Fake news and journalism for peace."

In Latin, one of the nine languages the pope uses to tweet, that would be "Veritas liberavit vos. Nuntii fallaces et diurniariorum opus ad pacem."

A Vatican statement said the issue was important enough for the pope to address because "fake news contributes to generating and nurturing a strong polarization of opinions."

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Pope Francis talks with U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife Melania during a private audience at the Vatican, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandra Tarantino/pool TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MAY 24: US First Lady Melania Trump arrives at the Apostolic Palace for an audience with Pope Francis on May 24, 2017 in Vatican City, Vatican. The president will return to Italy on Friday, attending the Group of 7 summit in Sicily. Trump will also visit American troops stationed in at a US air base in Sicily. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania meet Pope Francis during a private audience at the Vatican, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Evan Vucci/Pool
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania are greeted by Pope Francis during a private audience at the Vatican, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Evan Vucci/Pool
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania meet Pope Francis during a meeting at the Vatican, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Evan Vucci/Pool
US First Lady Melania Trump shakes hands with officials as she arrives at the Vatican on May 24, 2017. US President Donald Trump met Pope Francis at the Vatican today in a keenly-anticipated first face-to-face encounter between two world leaders who have clashed repeatedly on several issues. / AFP PHOTO / Vincenzo PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis (R) walks along with US President Donald Trump and US First Lady Melania Trump during a private audience at the Vatican on May 24, 2017. US President Donald Trump met Pope Francis at the Vatican today in a keenly-anticipated first face-to-face encounter between two world leaders who have clashed repeatedly on several issues. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Evan Vucci (Photo credit should read EVAN VUCCI/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis (C) walks past US First Lady Melania Trump (R) and the daughter of US President Donald Trump Ivanka Trump (L) at the end of a private audience at the Vatican on May 24, 2017. US President Donald Trump met Pope Francis at the Vatican today in a keenly-anticipated first face-to-face encounter between two world leaders who have clashed repeatedly on several issues. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Alessandra Tarantino (Photo credit should read ALESSANDRA TARANTINO/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. first lady Melania Trump visits the Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome, Italy, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MAY 24 : U.S. President Donald Trump (C) and his wife Melania (L) are welcomed by Monsignor Georg Gaenswein as they arrive at the Vatican for their audience with Pope Francis, on May 24, 2017. (Photo by Riccardo De Luca/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MAY 24: US First Lady Melania Trump arrives at the Apostolic Palace for an audience with Pope Francis on May 24, 2017 in Vatican City, Vatican. The president will return to Italy on Friday, attending the Group of 7 summit in Sicily. Trump will also visit American troops stationed in at a US air base in Sicily. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
U.S. first lady Melania Trump visits the Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome, Italy, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
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U.S. first lady Melania Trump visits the Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome, Italy, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
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A distortion of facts, it said, can have "repercussions at the level of individual and collective behaviour."

Francis said in an interview last year that media that focus on scandals and spread fake news to smear politicians risk becoming like people who have a morbid fascination with excrement.

The Vatican statement said the leader of the 1.2 billion member Church wanted to offer "a reflection on the causes, the logic and the consequences of disinformation in the media, and helping to promote professional journalism, which always seeks the truth".

The Church's next World Day of Social Communications will be celebrated on May 13. The pope's message will be released on January 24, feast of St Francis de Sales, the patron of journalists.

(This version of the story corrected day of Day of Social Communications to May 13 from Jan. 24).

(Reporting By Philip Pullella)

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