During his December 16th address to members of the Italian Periodical Press Union and the Italian Federation of Catholic Weeklies, Pope Francis said that “fake news” is a sin. Although the pontiff did not use the exact term “fake news” — a term which gained popularity in the U.S. during President Trump’s election — he greatly stressed the importance of correct, unbiased reporting.

Pope Francis explained that reporters have a mission to correctly inform constituents of their democratic societies. Their job is to “make complex problems accessible to a wide audience,” he said, so that exchanges of ideas between any and all members of that community are based on accurate facts.

By reporting accurate facts, and refraining from shock tactics, journalists and their respective outlets are less likely to be accused of perpetuating “fake news.” Pope Francis stated,

Most people would agree with Pope Francis’s condemnation of fake news. But unfortunately, especially here in the currently divided U.S., the argument about which news is fake news seems never-ending.

If all news sources on each side of the debate fully commit to Pope Francis’s call to action, our country could shift toward a less volatile state.

The Pope should not have to provide warning about the dangers of false reporting — reporters and citizens alike should be versed in those dangers by now. But perhaps now that he has, the issue of fake news will be taken more seriously.