'Inventing Pope who doesn't exist': Media accused of twisting Pope Francis' remarks on reforming marriage annulment process

Pope Francis speaks as he leads the weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, on Sept. 16, 2015.Reuters

The world's media are being accused of "inventing a Pope who doesn't exist" amid twisted reports on Pope Francis' recent move to reform the marriage annulment process with the aim of speeding it up for the benefit of couples trapped in a loveless marriage.

Bishop Henrique Soares da Costa of Palmares, Brazil, noted that some media outlets manipulated the public's perception of Pope Francis after the latter spoke about his initiative to simplify the marriage annulment process.

Bishop Soares shared his frustration on his Facebook page, noting "the communications media report on certain events in the life of the Church with shameful disinformation and sensationalism," the Catholic News Agency reported.

He said headlines such as "Pope simplifies process of ending a marriage," "Pope Francis' reform allows a marriage to be ended in 45 days," and "Pope Francis facilitates and lowers cost of ending a marriage in the Church" are abhorrent since they are wrong.

Soares said the Church does not end marriage, since it does not have any power to do so. What the Church does, he explained, is recognising that "under certain circumstances there really wasn't a marriage," and therefore declaring these null.

"A lasting and consummated marriage, with everything in order, continues and will continue to be indissoluble, and the Church can't do anything about it because her Lord and Master did not grant her that authority. We are all disciples before Christ: only one is the Master, only one is the Guide, only one is the Lord," he stressed.

Contrary to what the media claim, Soares said Pope Francis is doing nothing out of the ordinary or contrary to the faith of the Church when he sought to simplify the annulment process.

Soares also touched on the media coverage of Pope Francis when he granted every priest the faculty to absolve the sins of abortion during the Year of Mercy.

"First of all, the crazy idea that abortion would now be a less serious sin for Catholics... Abortion is a most grave sin, it's a mortal sin," stressed Soares.

He said Pope Francis made a "very beautiful gesture" to display God's love and forgiveness, and therefore his words should not be twisted by the media.