Pope Francis believes in hell—and he needs to stop talking to Eugenio Scalfari

Our Lord also told His disciples, “Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves” (Mt 10:16). In his dealings with Scalfari, Pope Francis has been neither.

Pope Francis kneels in prayer during the Good Friday service in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican March 30. (CNS photo/Paul Haring); right: Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari, co-founder and former editor of La Repubblica, speaks on Italian television Feb. 2015. (CNS photo/Cristiano Minichiello, AFG)

By now, the news — such as it is — has made the rounds: Pope Francis is reported to have denied the existence of hell. Eugenio Scalfari, the founder and long-serving (now former) editor of Italy’s leading left-leaning daily, La Repubblica, wrote a piece offering his account of a conversation with Pope Francis, in which he quotes the Holy Father as espousing annihilationism. Maintaining as it does that the souls of unrepentant sinners simply cease to exist at particular judgment, that doctrine is flatly heretical.

The Press Office of the Holy See was quick to issue a statement denying the Pope actually spoke the words attributed to him, but the statement was not quick enough to stop the headlines, and its anemic wording could only do so much to slow their march. The English page of the official Vatican News website rendered the statement as follows:

The Holy Father recently received the founder of the newspaper La Repubblica in a private meeting on the occasion of Easter, without, however, granting him an interview. What is reported by the author in today’s article is the fruit of his reconstruction, in which the precise words uttered by the Pope are not cited. No quotations in the aforementioned article, then, should be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father.

The telephone games have all been played. Doctrinally challenged priests subscribing to annihilationism have with their culturally Mormon (not to say “Mottramist”) brethren of the cloth told truth-starved flocks there is no eternal damnation awaiting the unrepentant, while universalist heretics have flipped the coin and proclaimed everyone saved. Responsible pastors, meanwhile, have reminded the faithful in their charge that there is a hell and it is possible to go there. Courageous and enterprising laity have seized the occasion as a teachable moment.

Lemons have been squeezed for lemonade, and lots of copy has moved.

Francis’ “unguarded moments” with the press have generated frivolous headlines and salacious reportage in the past. His willingness to go off script or speak without one has been challenging and often refreshing: Catholics of every age and sex and state of life in the Church have come out of the woodwork to explain what Pope Francis really meant, and many people who would not otherwise have heard perked up and listened. It was possible to explain what Pope Francis really meant, however, because there was a record of what he really said. This time, and every time with Scalfari, it is different.

For the record: Pope Francis believes in hell. He has preached on hell, warned of hell, threatened evildoers with hell, even explained hell to children. While it would be wrong to say none of that matters, it is true and necessary to say it is beside the point, which is that Scalfari is notorious, and Francis’ continued entertainment and enabling of his hijinks indefensible.

Scalfari neither makes recordings, nor takes notes during his “colloquies” with major figures, of which he has had many over the years, including with Pope Francis. Since Francis’ election the pair have met five times, four of which have resulted in pieces that were later the subject of official statements from the Press Office of the Holy See or on-the-record remarks from the official Vatican spokesman distancing the Holy Father from the reports.

The Press Office’s statement this time was carefully phrased to let us know the Pope did not say any of the words Scalfari attributed to him in this latest execrable screed. Taken at face value, the statement tells us what Pope Francis did not say. That does not make it possible to correct the record, for there is no record to correct. The statement also tells us Francis received Scalfari privately and released no interview. That does not tell us whether Pope Francis agreed to Scalfari’s publishing an account of their meeting. Pope Francis may be a victim in this wretched affair. He is not innocent.

“Fool me once,” the saying goes, “shame on you.” The second half is, “Fool me twice, shame on me.” We have no idiomatic expression for one who is fooled at least twice as many times as twice, in the same way, and under similar circumstances. The reason must be excess of pity, or general want of shame.

The Pope may believe himself Christ-like in this: willing to expose himself to Scalfari’s outrageous slings for the sake of Scalfari’s own soul, or ready to suffer the venomous arrows of a professionally scandalized coterie of malcontents who accuse him of dining with prostitutes and publicans. Francis is not Christ-like for either: he is Scalfari’s dupe, if not his stooge, at best a near occasion of sin; while publicans and prostitutes appear as paragons of virtue when compared with the manner in which Scalfari plies his trade.

On Palm Sunday, the Holy Father dedicated a significant portion of his homily to an eloquent denunciation of those, who twist words for personal gain and advancement of pet causes in the short term. That denunciation came after a week in which he gave his hand-picked communications chief what can most sternly be characterized as a slap on the wrist — an in-house demotion — for egregiously manipulating and literally blurring the facts, and praised the man for his “human and professional contribution” to the reform work, without which the new prefect — whoever he shall be — apparently cannot be expected to manage.

On Tuesday of Holy Week, Pope Francis gave special and privileged access to Eugenio Scalfari, a man known for having practiced such or similar machinations on the Holy Father himself.

Scalfari claims friendship with the Pope. If it is true, I do not care to learn how Scalfari treats his enemies. False friend of true, Scalfari demonstrates the traits of those who, hard of hearing because hard of heart, will not listen to the Twelve (of whom Peter was to be chief in Christ’s stead). Our Lord promised them all they would encounter such, about whom and whose company and environs He admonished, “[W]hosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words: going forth out of that house or city shake off the dust from your feet” (Mt 10:14).

Our Lord also told His disciples, “Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves” (Mt 10:16). In his dealings with Scalfari, Pope Francis has been neither. The faithful — the sheep of his flock — have suffered as a result of his imprudence. Those not of Christ’s fold have meanwhile been given stones for bread, and possibly worse.

God has entrusted Francis with the Petrine ministry: the threefold munus of teaching, sanctifying, and governing the Universal Church with direct, immediate, and supreme authority over all the Churches and all the faithful. That office is one of enormous power. It is also one that comes with significant constraints on the personal liberty of the one who holds it. If the Pope wishes to give the example of the Good Shepherd, who goes in search of the lost sheep, let him go. Let him go out of the office and in search of his friend.

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About Christopher R. Altieri 245 Articles
Christopher R. Altieri is a journalist, editor and author of three books, including Reading the News Without Losing Your Faith (Catholic Truth Society, 2021). He is contributing editor to Catholic World Report.


  1. “His willingness to go off script or speak without one has been challenging and often refreshing:”

    I’ve yet to see an instance in which it was refreshing.

    • My first thought as well. I would add that Francis needs to take a lesson from Shakespeare’s Henry V. Have a good time while a prince (bishop of Argentina?), but once Pope chose who you associate with FOR THE SAKE OF THE KINGDOM. You are not free anymore to hobnob with “flakes” and give them access to what is sacred for their own use or misuse.

      • IV. Hell

        1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: “He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”610 Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren.611 To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called “hell.”

        1034 Jesus often speaks of “Gehenna” of “the unquenchable fire” reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost.612 Jesus solemnly proclaims that he “will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,”613 and that he will pronounce the condemnation: “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!”614

        1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, “eternal fire.”615 The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.

        1036 The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”616

        Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where “men will weep and gnash their teeth.”617

        1037 God predestines no one to go to hell;618 for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want “any to perish, but all to come to repentance”:619

        • There is the teaching of Our Holy Father Pope Francis.
          Why are we letting ourselves be blown here and there?. When the Holy Father seems to contradict Tradition, Just take no notice, and let the collage of cardinals deal with the problem.

  2. We already know the Great Slander Mechanism’s tactics.

    What’s perennially, and disappointingly eye-opening, is how many “catholics” react to its lies and innuendoes, and how readily and lustily they do so.

    “Hosanna! Crucify Him!”

  3. Let’s be perfectly honest here, Pope Francis has a communication problem and this is not the first. One of the more glaring gaffs he has made is stating in the recent past that the crucifixion was a failure. Now we can all dance around that statement and inject our own “this is not what he meant”, but he does not follow up such statements to put his comment into context and then we have to deal with the fall out. Perhaps he needs to not do interviews or answer direct questions and just release statements through the Vatican.

  4. I can’t believe people have not caught on yet. It is likely that Pope Francis told Scalfari that there was no hell. The fact that he said at other places and times that their IS a hell does not matter. What the Pope says changes from time to time. If Scalfari found it a stumbling block to believe in hell, then the Pope would have no trouble telling him there is no hell. The Pope was “accompanying” Scalfari, trying to move him closer to the church. If this involved the POPE denying or altering doctrine, then so be it. When Scalfari is ready to accept the idea of hell, the Pope will re-introduce it. It will appear again. What we just saw was the Pope’s idea of how to lead someone into the church. You deny or alter doctrine, if necessary. Then, when the person has accepted the fundamentals, you move the goalposts again, hell re-appears, and Voila! Now, the critical thing is that the POPE is endorsing this approach. Truth is situationally relative for the Pope, and he will say whatever he needs to say to get to his goal. He is flexible. Doctrine does not matter. So Germans want to give communion to divorced and remarried and bless gay marriage. Who cares? Not the Pope. So maybe Jesus did not rise from the dead. Who cares? Not the Pope.

    • Except for the last three sentences, I would have framed this post of yours and triple matted it in navaho white. We agreed on good Friday about something.

    • “You deny or alter doctrine, if necessary.”

      You do realize you’re saying that one should lie–give false advertisement–in order to win people to the Truth. Sorry. That is not Catholic.

      We are called to preach the truth in season and out.

      Lying at the outset establishes one as an untrustworthy source who will be castigated later for their double tongue.

      • What he was saying is that is what is happening, not that he advocates doing it. It seems that he disapproves of it as strongly as you do, if not more so.

    • This a very perceptive and profound reflection,samton909. It rings most true. As Pope Pius XII said in his last words on his deathbed: “Pray, pray, pray for the Church in this most terrible time”.

    • The flaw in your logic samton909 (and it shows everyone here you likely NEVER ever debated a Unitarian Universalist or a Jehovah’s Witness in your life. I have BTW) is people who deny Hell do so because they erroneously believe it makes God look less merciful so they substitute “merciless eternal Hell” with “God saves everyone” and or “God painlessly blots bad people out of existence” heresies (thought 7th day Adventists believe mortal sinners will suffer actual pain in a temporary Hell for a time before annihilation).

      Pope Francis is all about “mercy” so why would he deny this doctrine and continue to mercilessly teach it? If he never taught the existence of Hell in public or mentioned the Devil that would make this story seem credible. But the evidence says otherwise.

      This is not a new claim by Scalfari. He made it about Pope Francis before and between that time and now the Pope has openly taught about Hell. This gives him more then enough plausible deniability and it is an offense against charity to speculate on what you think are the Pope’s motives. It also detracts from valid criticism that Pope Francis should do more to correct confusion and not cause confusion.

      Two wrongs don’t make a right & you cannot do good by doing evil. You are better then this..

      Stick with criticizing the Pope’s actions (or lack there of) and don’t cause scandal with your unsubstanciated conspiracy theories. Again you are better then that.

  5. Jean Paul Sartre said I think in “Being and Nothingness” or in the biography of Jean Genet that a man in bad faith believes what he does not believe and does not believe in what he believes.
    In the severity of God area, Pope Francis has that problem. He is mercurial on hell so it is Catholic mascara application ( rampant on the net) to only cite his moments of affirming hell without quoting him on Judas and within AL….

    Paragraph 297, AL: “No one is condemned forever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel!”

    Aboard the papal plane, Oct 2, 2016 / 06:08 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- During his flight from Baku, Azerbaijan to Rome on Sunday, Pope Francis:

    “Mercy has the last word. I like to tell, I do not know if I told you, because I repeat it so much … in the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena – I told you or no? – There is a beautiful capital, but it is more or less from the thirteenth century. Medieval cathedrals were catechesis with sculptures. And in a part of the capital there is Judas hanged with his tongue out and eyes (bulging) out, and on the other side of the capital there is Jesus the Good Shepherd who takes (Judas) and carries him with him. And if you look closely, the face of Jesus, the lips of Jesus are sad on the one hand, but with a small smile of understanding in the other. They understood what mercy is … with Judas, huh! “

    • This is Balthasarian theology. It has been embraced informally for a while now. I love and respect IP, but it has been part of this whole strange discussion. Consistently. We can hope no one is damned. IOW, we can hope Hell is an empty threat. Which could also be explained as “There is no Hell.” As an aside, otherwise very orthodox Protestants have said the same thing, the evangelical John Stott for instance. I am not sure what is more disturbing: the Pope’s reticence to teach clearly, or all the people scampering to insist Francis is Very Orthodox. This column insists the Pope believes in Hell. Come on. Who is very confident they know what Francis really believes about anything unless it title liberal? Not me.

      • Joe M Christians hope for the salvation of all, which is not of itself audacity and similarly accept by faith what scripture already confirms that not all will be saved. If von Balthazar had hope of salvation of all yet claimed belief in scriptural pronouncements on condemnation why does he justify his query in his book Dare We Hope that All Men Be Saved on the premise “We’re all under judgment” if not understood as possible salvation for all and to establish a possibility based not on hope but on scripture. Von Balthazar provided the premise not based on faith and scripture but presumption followed by many today that there is no eternal Hell.

        • While I am on a roll. Fr. Morello if you will indulge me.

          >Christians hope for the salvation of all, which is not of itself audacity and similarly accept by faith what scripture already confirms that not all will be saved.

          Whose interpretation of Scripture? We don’t confess Luther’s perspecuity errors regarding Holy Writ?
          As far as I know the Church has never said anyone is in Hell but the Devil and the fallen angels via the extra -ordinary magestarium.

          >If von Balthazar had hope of salvation of all yet claimed belief in scriptural pronouncements on condemnation why does he justify his query in his book Dare We Hope that All Men Be Saved on the premise “We’re all under judgment” if not understood as possible salvation for all and to establish a possibility based not on hope but on scripture.

          Father if Protestantism has taught us anything it is you can justify anything from scripture. Which is why we need the Church to rule on matters of doctrine. Cardinal Dulles said he didn’t find Balthazar’s views contrary to the faith since unlike true universalism which denies hell altogether Balthazar allows for the real potential for souls to go to Hell.

          >Von Balthazar provided the premise not based on faith and scripture but presumption followed by many today that there is no eternal Hell.

          No, an honest reading of his theology shows he does teach being damned is a real possibility for everyone even if in the end everyone is somehow saved. Or should we deny the Catholic doctrine of sufficient grace being truly sufficient in favor of Calvinism?

          Like I said elsewhere the heresy of universalism teaches damnation is absolutely impossible. Balthazar teaches damnation is truly possible for individuals. Thus one should hope for the salvation of all and still fear the damnation of themselves and other individuals.

          PS. I personally don’t think everyone is going to be saved FYI. But it could happen. OTOH maybe everyone will be saved but me so I should listen to the wife and say more Rosaries.


      • That whole movement contradicts Christ:

        Luke 13:24 Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

        24 “Strive to enter by the narrow gate; for many, I say to you, shall seek to enter, and shall not be able.”

        It’s based on the epistle saying of God…” who desires all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth”. Aquinas in the Summa T. noted that this refers to the antecedent willing of God ( before we act) not His consequent willing ( after we act ) and of that former willing Aquinas noted…” but the antecedent will of God does not always take place”…..” but the will of God simply always does take place” ( the final over arching willing ).
        Read Aquinas on the will of God but have a Bacardi Black with pineapple juice not far away…not very far away at all….word.

        • Bannon you deserve an A+ rating for your comment on antecedent and consequent will in God. Have one of those suggested concoctions on me.

          • I already had two Jack Daniel’s double mellowed Tennessee whisky’s today….you have to buy it Father…whiskey without the brutality and a finish so long that it’s like me talking about the death penalty…that’s how long it lingers. Ask for Gentleman Jack….small if you’re on budget…750ml is $29-$36….depending on where but it comes smaller.

      • Balthasarian pseudo-Universalism is different from heterodox Universalism in that it affirms people have the real potential to go too Hell. True heterodox Universalism takes away any fear of Hell under this pseudo version of it the fear remains. Indeed given the premises of Balthasarian theology I seen no reason why it is not possible for everyone to be saved BUT ME if I persist in sin? So I can hope for everyone else & have a healthy fear for myself…

  6. Pope Francis’ obsession with mercy and forgiveness, his “devil” talk and simultaneous denial of Hell is itself symptomatic of cognitive dissonance and an emotional imbalance, as is his compulsion to do repeat performances with Scalfari which always end up the same way. Jorge Mario Bergoglio is terrified of Hell and Satan and he should be. We all should have a healthy fear of that reality. But I sense in him an unhealthy fear – so what better course than to deny it.
    Born in the thirties he is likely afflicted by unresolved scrupulousness – a spiritual malady not so familiar to those born after the Council. It is a painful obsessive-compulsive preoccupation with personal sin and many found relief from it in the absurdities of the “spirit” of Vatican II. That same “spirit” has become their new obsession because it represents their “release” from the neurotic cycle which subsumed their emotional and spiritual lives. A concurrent reaction against what is perceived as “rigidity” would seem to be reasonable in such a personality.
    But unless you deal with the root problem within yourself and in the light of Grace the neurotic cycle just morphs into another neurotic cycle. Unfortunately all of us, and indeed history, are witness to it playing out in him and the overcompensation of the multiple cases in his cabal.
    Apparently his antiquity and the trappings of the office have ignited within him the idea that he is a genuine wisdom figure.
    He is rather more frequently appearing a basket case.
    His need to speak with this bizarre atheist Scalfari is absurd.
    He is a dangerous obstacle to his own salvation and that of others.
    “The Holy Spirit was not given to the Roman Pontiffs so that they might disclose new doctrine, but so that they might guard and set forth the Deposit of Faith handed down from the Apostles.”
    – Pastor Aeternus, July 18, 1870.
    He needs to absent himself.

    • Very interesting analysis James. It could also be applied to Luther (with little modification). It is no surprise that Pope Francis echoes Luther’s teachings.

  7. The Vatican did not say that Francis did not say this, only that the quote is not fully correct… they did not say Francis affirms hell, but a hell where souls go until the Parousia and then both he’ll and the souls, damned spirits, all disappear….

    • You mean Pope Francis does not believe in the immortality of the human soul?

      BTW, Pope John XXII in the 14th century also believed that Heaven (Beatific Vision) can only be attained by good souls at the end of the world, i.e., after the Last Judgement. John XXII was condemned for this heresy, which (come to think of it) is just the other side of Pope Francis’ coin of hell by annihilation.

      • Marietta: You mean Pope Francis does not believe in the immortality of the human soul?

        Well it seems not quite. It goes like this: some souls are immortal others are not. It’s anyone guess which souls are one or the other.

  8. People who have known Bergoglio for several decades describe him as a “Peronist,” in the sense that he tells individuals and whole crowds what they want to hear. He seems incapable of controlling himself when there is applause to be had. He would, as Archbishop, give a rip-roaring pro-life speech in the morning, and a rip-roaring radical feminist speech in the afternoon.

    There are several quite profound, high-quality comments already on this thread–the exceptions being the same-old same-old “victim of bad communication” excuses. The truth–the real truth–is to be seen in the fact that being a Catholic is the kiss of death in Bergoglio’s Vatican, while being a boodler and/or a notorious homosexual seems to be the ticket to high office and power.

    • It does seem, though, that this is the pontificate of mixed and sometimes contradictory messages. Isn’t this what we see in his great concern for the poor while at the same time he criticizes all but the most statist and oppressive of economic systems? And there is the insistance of his team that Amoris Laetitia is in perfect harmony with the teaching of previous popes while interpretations of AL irreconcilably opposed to the teaching of St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI are tolerated or receive encouragement from Rome. So I would not be surprised in the least if Pope Francis says one thing about Hell on Tuesday and something entirely different on Wednesday.

  9. As a methodology-for it is not, itself, doctrine – *Doctrinal Development” needs to be put out to pasture for a serious rethink. Catholic dissidents (whom Francis encourages, and nurtures within himself) have mangled the concept into uselessness.

  10. I am sorry, but I have to react viscerally here. Pope Francis believes in Hell? How so? You don’t get that impression form his overall agenda. And we all know that in the postconciliar Church, theological terms ,mean little if anything. “Inerrancy”… huh, what? “No salvation outside the Church”… duck, or the explain-away will hit you in the as-. The bottom line is the ambiguity and the desire to accommodate is coming home to roost. We wither know what we believe, or we are Unitarians with a Jesus- and a liturgy-fixation. You can’t be Catholic like that identity has been understood for years on these shores and also embrace the sucker punches of this elderly Argentine’s shock papacy. At some point someone has to pull the curtain on the wizard. YEs, he’s pope. And yes, he also seems heterodox. Unless the definition of orthodoxy is up for grabs. Which it IS, of James Martin and Michael Sean Winters would have received a smack down. They have not.

  11. When you can’t look to the Pope for guidance on Hell, Heaven, or Sex and Marriage, it’s time to tune out the Pope. Not Catholicism, but its political head. And thank God that He will not let him formally declare falsehoods, even if the man stuffs his homilies with ambiguities. As for giving allegiance to the everyday Magisterium, well, I think that may be as fuzzy an obligation as the one involved in this whole communion for the divorced thing! I assume that’s OK. Further muddying the waters, I am now praying that this Pope resigns. And thus feeling very in communion with both this Pope and the last!!

  12. I believe in hell – that’s where your immortal soul goes if you die in a state of mortal sin. For my sake – that’s really all that matters.

    If you need some prep work you go to purgatory, if you’re ready you go to Paradise.




  13. If i am correct, the Vatican did NOT deny that the pope said what he was reported to have said, they simply advised that it may not be what he said… what they used to call a non denial denial. And of course the pope refuses to ‘correct’ the record because he is so far above that sort of thing and we’re all just pharisees or rigorists or neo-palegians or whatever for wondering anyway. What does the pope believe? Who knows? We do know that he is either the most careless man to hold the office, or the most cunning.

  14. Please, dear author, open your eyes.
    The pope has no sense of responsibility deliver clarity to his flock. Francis knows what Scalfari does with his words. That he should grant this man yet another interview is nauseating. Francis has not and will not make a clear rebuttal to Scalfari’s words. This is not rocket science. It is only common sense to see what is happening here.
    I do not trust Francis. It grieves me to say this about any pope.

    • Pope John XXII denied the Beatific Vision to a good person newly dead. He claimed Heaven is attained only at the end of history, i.e., after the Last Judgement. John XXII was condemned as a heretic.

  15. To Chris Altieri’s point Pope Francis has affirmed the existence of Hell. Neither can we confirm what atheist journalist Scalfari says regarding Pope Francis’ remarks. Reputable journalists note however the faith damaging issue of ambiguity. For example Greg Burke his spokesman simply says Scalfari misquoted his exact words, which is itself ambiguous. Also true to his ambiguous modus operandi it was reported by Edward Pentin Nat Catholic Reg 3.29.18 that regarding Scalfari “The Pope’s comments on this occasion are questionable as they are at odds with previous statements in which he has spoken of Hell’s existence, most recently last week when he appealed to the mafia to ‘give up their lives of crime and avoid eternal damnation.’” But Pentin added “Francis has also given signals to the contrary, preaching last year that ‘everything will be saved — everything’ and that at the end of history there will be an ‘immense tent, where God will welcome all mankind so as to dwell with them definitively’”. As a matter of justice to the Church the Roman Pontiff is obliged to repudiate heresy and clarify truth. At best he is misquoted and careless. At worst he seems to purposely couch what he really believes ambiguously so as to promote heresy obliquely.

    • Try raising teenage children in the Faith under these conditions. This is appalling and deliberate and it’s time the hierarchy put a stop to it by removing him from office.

    • Fr. Morello,

      Here are the Pope’s actual words.

      If we remain united to Jesus, the cold of difficult moments does not paralyse us; and if even the whole world were to preach against hope, if it said that the future will bring only dark clouds, the Christian knows that in that same future there is the return of Christ. When this will happen, no-one knows, but the thought that at the end of our history there is the merciful Jesus is enough to have confidence and not to curse life. Everything will be saved. Everything. We will suffer, there will be moments that cause anger and indignation, but the gentle and potent memory of Christ will eliminate the temptation to think that this life is a mistake.”END QUOTE

      He is not talking about the salvation of everyone(since when are people things?)
      he is talking about people who “remain united to Jesus”.

      It is also obvious he is making a reference to Romans 8:19-25 & 1 Corinthians 15:26-28 the later I will quote.

      1 Corinthians 15:26-28 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. [27] “For God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “All things are put in subjection under him,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things under him. [28] When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things under him, that God may be everything to every one.

      [Pope Francis cited part of 15:28 in the General Audience address from which the quote is taken, and also the “return of Christ”: when these wonderful things regarding all of creation will occur]

      To get the idea out of this he hold to heterodox universalism views is dishonest.

      The Pope may deserve just criticism but that never authorizes his would be critics to themselve criticize unjustly.

  16. The Vatican clarification doesn’t really say what Francis believes, it only says that Scalfari’s recollection doesn’t contain Francis’ precise words. This hardly seems to be a denial of the substance of what may have been said. At any rate, this is all very confusing.

  17. I’ve attended very good churches in the Roman Catholic Church that recognize the Pope and I’ve done so for almost three decades. My own father is a sedevacantist. When we discuss things and are in agreement or I affirm something he’s saying, it’s an affirmation of his faith which is predicated on the denial my faith. Never mind that the former Mass was unable to fend off the Reformation, the French Revolution, American Revolution, the Rights of Man, Communism and multiple coups against Catholic governments in the 19th and 20th centuries, nor the sexual revolution, somehow, through an ahistorical fantasy, all this would be fixed if everyone went back the same mass that was overwhelmed by the same revolutions of selfism. Though my father is elderly, the impossibility of the relationship has undermined all filial and familial values. It’s been a long painful and ruinous relationship.

    Our current Pope is indulging in something similar, where even though he is’t speaking consistently, he’s always right and everyone else is always wrong. It’s reached a point where one really has to ask oneself, who needs persecution, chaos and subversion when it’s coming from the Church itself? Again, we await clarity. Why are we awaiting clarity if we are only going to be told it’s our fault for not being generous and merciful enough. Because one is willing to be humble, it doesn’t mean they’re going to buy into things that don’t add up, especially when such follows a pattern of you lose, I win.

    • I pay him little mind. I see Pope Francis as the result of the permissive willing of God…punishment for a church that over praised his predecessors. A real great Pope would have sent our sex criminals to the police and jail pronto …in 1986 tops…the way Christ took two minutes cleaning the temple. Instead…it was the slow, wise movements….of the wise Church….yeah..right. It was conspiracy theories in his head that 26 countries had false accusers. So God gave us a Pope…Francis…who is impossible to call great…even by his admirers. He grates on nerves. God is punning us as punishment.
      Your dad probably agrees with you alot when you leave. There was a book out of Harvard…” Getting to Yes”….which said once a person makes a definite assertion in a public forum, they won’t retract it in public….their ego is at stake. After you drive off, your dad may in his head agree with you. Go on strike as to discussing religion. He might fear its the only reason he is interesting to you. Show him there are other things in which he is interesting. Don’t react at all to bait he gives you on the Church topic.

  18. It doesn’t seem Francis believed Our Lord’s words about adultery and remarriage and therefore, it’s not far fetched to think he may not believe Our Lord’s words about Hell.

  19. Remember he wrote magisterially, “no one is condemn (to Hell) forever, it is contrary to the Logic of God,” ‘they simply disappear’…” see AL

  20. When he is in effect teaching (whether deliberately or through lack of caution and good sense) billions through his journalist friend that Hell does not exist, it is immaterial what he personally believes, or what his evangelical strategy might be in making such comments. It is false and heretical teaching. It immediately paves the way for the world, the flesh and the devil to work their will.

    There is little doubt that people inspired by this teaching already have gone to their eternal doom on the wings of this teaching. For example, the suicide who had his courage buoyed and his mind relieved of apprehension. What a relief for a potential suicide in the face of his suffering and lack of hope just to disappear,a choice pursued with papal reassurance. This pope has to go, and it seems perfectly legitimate to pray that the Lord will take him out of the way one way or another.

  21. Some, here, may not care for Antonio Socci (and Google Translate does a miserable job with his Facebook post), but he does have a point or two.

    There was one phrase which caught my attention. It nicely sums up the cultural/political (maybe doctrinal) working out of Francis’ papacy – “double magisterial track” . As they say, much within to unpack.

    A turn of phrase which even Google Translator couldn’t mangle.


  22. IMHO It was the wording of the clarification that was most distressing to me, the only thing it said was that the pope’s exact words were not used. Besides, given whatever the pope has said, who can really say what he believes? I know I am less certain every day as to his Catholic Faith because he has been and continues to be deliberately vague to the point that even Cardinals are not sure, let alone literate, rational, members of the laity. Besides this, it is widely reported that the head of the Jesuits does not believe there is a devil, Satan. Now if such a dolt can remain in office under a Jesuit brother, what does that say? Francis is not truthful and forthright in my estimation and he wilds power like a mobster. These are onky my opinions, I could be all wrong, I hope I am.

  23. When somebody appears ambivalent, with rare exceptions they seem to truly hold the more contradicty view, otherwise why not strongly affirm the orthodox position?

    And why can the pope not answer the questions of his own ”Easter visit” with an enemy of Christ?

  24. I liked the article, but the last few lines irked me. Generally speaking, why is the papacy incompatible with following the example of the Good Shepherd in going out in search of the lost sheep? I think the author is guilty of rhetorical excess here.

  25. It seems like a lot of people are mad at the idea that most of the rest of the world won’t be suffering in extreme torture whilst you and your cohort are highly privileged.

    Seems like this issue is a litmus test of Jesus to separate the people who really care about others from the rest.

4 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Pope Francis believes in hell—and he needs to stop talking to Eugenio Scalfari -
  2. Cautious before Claiming Pope Denies Hell’s Existence | Defenders of the Catholic Faith | Hosted by Stephen K. Ray
  4. Happy Easter! But what is Pope Francis celebrating if Hell does not exist? - Catholic Truth

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