Did Pope Francis say that Jesus isn’t God? Don’t believe the report, Vatican says

Vatican City, Oct 9, 2019 / 12:11 pm (CNA).- The Vatican said Wednesday that an Italian journalist it has previously corrected was not speaking accurately when he claimed that Pope Francis denied Christ’s divinity.

"As already stated on other occasions, the words that Dr. Eugenio Scalfari attributes in quotation marks to the Holy Father during talks with him cannot be considered a faithful account of what was actually said but represent a personal and free interpretation of what he heard, as appears completely evident from what is written today regarding the divinity of Jesus Christ,” Matteo Bruni, the director of the Holy See’s press office, said in a statement Oct. 9.

The statement came in response to a column in La Repubblica, the newspaper founded by Scalfari, in which the 95-year-old self-declared atheist said that “Pope Francis conceives Christ as Jesus of Nazareth, a man, not God incarnate.”

Scalfari did not claim that he had recently interviewed the pontiff, only saying that this was a topic he had discussed with Pope Francis at some time in the past.

Scalfari mentioned examples in Scriptures in which Christ prayed, among them his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, to support his thesis that Jesus Christ was not divine.

He wrote that when he raised those points to Pope Francis, the pope told him: “‘They are the definite proof that Jesus of Nazareth, once he became a man, even if he was a man of exceptional virtue, was not a God.’”

Pope Francis has made reference to Christ’s divinity frequently.

In Evangelli Gaudium, the pope speaks of the “divine life” of Jesus.

In his Dec. 24, 2013 homily, the pope said that “The grace which was revealed in our world is Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary, true man and true God…In him was revealed the grace, the mercy, and the tender love of the Father: Jesus is Love incarnate. He is not simply a teacher of wisdom, he is not an ideal for which we strive while knowing that we are hopelessly distant from it. He is the meaning of life and history, who has pitched his tent in our midst.”

Speaking of Jesus last October, the pope said “God chooses an uncomfortable throne, the cross, from which he reigns giving his life.”

Scalfari, who famously does not take notes during interviews has misrepresented Pope Francis in the past.

In 2018, he claimed the pope denied the existence of hell, and the Vatican subsequently said that the pope had not granted an interview, and that the journalist had inaccurately represented a conversation between the men during a private Easter visit.

“What is reported by the author in today’s article is the result of his reconstruction, in which the literal words pronounced by the Pope are not quoted. No quotation of the aforementioned article must therefore be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father,” a Vatican statement said in March 2018.

The first time Scalfari reported that Pope Francis had made comments denying the existence of hell was in 2015. The Vatican dismissed that reporting as well.

In November 2013, following intense controversy over quotes the journalist had attributed to Francis, Scalfari admitted that at least some of the words he had published a month prior “were not shared by the Pope himself.”

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  1. With all due respect,

    Why does Pope Francis continue to grant interviews to Eugenio Scalfari, the atheist journalist at “La Repubblica,” when every time Scalfari supposedly either misconstrues the conversation or flatly lies?

    Wouldn’t the Cardinal Virtue of Prudence and common sense dictate to Pope Francis that he should avoid such traps?

    And why doesn’t the Pope himself make a statement denying Scalfari’s allegations?

    To me a certain pattern has become clear that Pope Francis never directly answers those who put words in his mouth, his accusers or those who question him even if they do so in all sincerity and with the utmost respect and charity.

    After all, the “Dubia” Cardinals are still waiting for their response!

    And what does an orthodox Catholic make of the clearly “pagan ceremony” at which Pope Francis presided in the Vatican Gardens on October 4, 2019 in the the lead up to the Amazon Synod?

    Is there any Trinitarian or Christological justification for such a “pagan ceremony”?

    The Fathers of the Church and missionary greats like Saint Bonaface would have condemned such an act as idolatrous, a clear violation of the First Commandment of the Dialogue.

    Recall that St. Boniface himself chopped down the oak tree worshipped by the pagan Germans; and he didn’t dig holes in order to plant new ones!

    If a baptized believer cannot obey the First Commandment, then can he or she cannot be a true Catholic-Christian.

    There is no clause in the Decalogue exempting Popes!

    This is clear from the teachings of Sacred Scripture and from Paragraphs 2084-2141 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    I think the Pope’s actions on October 4, 2019 should be judged in light of CCC 2110-2117.

    Just as the words and deeds of Christ go together, so too must the words and deeds of His Vicar on Earth be treated as integral.

    Surely, no one can stand in judgment of the Pope but God alone.

    But this means that only God alone can judge the Pope’s soul.

    This doesn’t mean that Catholics let alone Cardinals, Bishops, Priests and Theologians cannot criticize and/or condemn errant words and misdeeds of any given Pope at any given time.

    We recall that St. Paul adamantly rebuked St. Peter face, accusing him of hypocrisy.

    And St. Paul was right!

    St. Peter, the First Pope, however, had the humility through God’s grace to accept the correction and to shepherd the Church forward in the right path.

    Pope Francis says that he welcomes open criticism, but then ignores it and in some cases punishes those who out of charity and love of the truth proffer it to him (see the cases of Cardinals Burke and Müller).

    In 1968, the embattled Pontiff, Paul VI, recognizing and lamenting the sad state of affairs in the Church, made a solemn profession of faith, the so-called “Credo of the People of God.”

    I, for one, lament that this “Credo,” is not an appendix to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or at least included in the Compendium of the Catechism.

    In any case, given the worse upheaval and confusion being generated in the contemporary Catholic Church, much of which is emanates from the Vatican now engulfed by the heretical and apostate Amazon Synod, is not perhaps incumbent on Pope Francis to make a similar Profession of Faith for the common good of the universal Church?

    But logic suggests that we, orthodox Catholics, cannot have a reasonable hope in this happening since Pope Francis has not deigned to answer even the simple and straightforward “Dubia” (five questions) of the four Cardinals, two of whom are now deceased.

    One must recall that according to Dogmatic Constitution of the Word of God (Dei Verbum) of the Second Vatican Council that the Magisterium is not the Master of the Divine Word but its servant.

    And, even more fundamentally, we must recall that Our Blessed Lord told St. Peter that once he had turned (i.e. repented of his predicted three-fold denial) that he would strengthen (confirm) his brethren (fellow Apostles).

    Is not the primary role of the Pope to confirm his brethren in the Faith?

    If the Pope refuses to confirm us, his brothers and sisters in Christ through Baptism in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Faith, then does not the Sacred College of Cardinals have a fiduciary role according to Canon Law to depose such a Pope — electing in his place a suitable replacement as happened in the Acts of the Apostles when the Eleven Disciples who remained faithful to their Lord and Master elected St. Matthias to take the place of Judas Iscariot, who had betrayed Him?

    Doctors of the Church, like St. Robert Bellarmine and St. Alphonus Marie de Liguori, not to mention great theologians like Cajetan, concur that a Pope who falls into “manifest heresy” automatically (“ipso facto”) ceases to be the legitimate Pope for one cannot be the head of the Mystical Body of Christ when one has ceased to be a member thereof.

    Given that the sin of apostasy is far graver than the sin of heresy, should not the Sacred College of Cardinals convene to discuss whether or not Pope Francis has indeed fallen not only into “manifest heresy” but into apostasy, and therefore has “ipso facto” ceased to be the legitimate Pope, and this irrespective of whether his canonical election was valid or not?

    In conclusion, in a recent interview, Robert Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, remarked to the effect that those “who oppose the Pope [Francis]” are “automatically excommunicated.”

    On the other hand, the respected theologian, Fr. Thomas Weinandy, wrote an article for “Crisis” in which he posits the surreal notion that Pope Francis may be in “schism” with himself.

    Which one is it?

    One can’t have his cake and eat too.

    Furthermore, is there not a serious risk here of turning into Pharisees who strained out gnats and swallowed camels unto their own condemnation and the demise of Chosen People, Israel?

    Don’t Catholics deserve better than all this confusion twice confounded?

    Is not the Supreme Law (“Suprema Lex”) of the Church the Salvation of Souls (“Salus Animarum”)?

    It seems this has been totally forgotten.

    And what about the immortal soul of Pope Francis?

    Does anyone have any concern for his salvation?

    Or have we somehow convinced ourselves that Popes when they die receive an automatic get out jail for free card or an automatic ticket to ride to the pearly gates?

    As Archbishop Viganò reflected there exists a true and undeniable crisis in the contemporary Church, a serious deficiency of “supernatural faith” among many who hold the highest positions of power and authority in the Church’s hierarchy.

    From my perspective, this truth is eminently evident at the present Amazon Synod which isn’t even a week old yet and has kicked up quite a storm for all the world, including non-believers and non-Catholic Christians, to behold in horror.

    Have not enough good and faithful Catholics, with eyes to see and ears to hear, been scandalized enough?

    For the love of God, do not orthodox Catholics, laity and clergy alike, deserve clarity from the See of Peter let alone from the Princes of the Church and the Successors of the Apostles?

    Or, should faithful, orthodox Catholics be content to bury their heads in the sand, act like “Chinese Monkeys,” wallowing in the murky mud of Modernism until the Immaculate Heart of Mary finally triumphs and Our Lord returns in glory to judge us all including His creature, Jorge Mario Bergoglio?

    P.S. Please excuse any grammatical errors and/or typos.

    • @NICHOLAS GREGORIS, Judging by your comments you seem to be a Pharisee residing within the Catholic Church. You seem to be in love with the politics and legal structure of the Catholic Church and have forgotten the original message of Father God and His Son Christ Jesus. I don’t remember Christ in His 3 years of ministry covering any of the topics you raise? Was it in His Sermon on the Mount? I think not. Did St Paul cover any of the issues you raise in His Epistles?

      Why the continual reference to the Catechism. The Catechism is not inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, its just at its best, a summary of Faith. The Catechism is a collection of the rules, regulations of the Church, to make it more than that is an affront to God, who left His guiding instructions and His plan for Man’s Salvation, in the Written Word of God, the Bible.

      You totally ignore, the Written Word of God, and how the conversations of the two men fit within its framework. In my short lifetime, I have seen major changes in the contents of the Catechism, but the written word of God never changes.

      I am dishearten by your response, at a time when the Church is on its knees, its leaderless, the Faithful have left in droves, Churches are now empty, Priests, are leaving, being defrocked, placed in jail, the Church is paying mega settlements to victims of predator priests. Your focus about Canon law, heresy and apostasy, within the Church seems to be a waste of time and meaningless even on a good day, but totally misguided in light of the severe problems facing the Church.

      How about getting back to the simple message of the Father that Christ taught in His 3 year ministry on Earth and be focused on God’s salvation plan for Man. Its 2000 years after Christ death, resurrection and ascension, its about time Catholics discover the Written Word of God and His Plan for mankind.

    • Pretty good and accurate comment. Praise the Lord. One thing jumped out at me. It is stated that St. Peter responded with humility to criticism from St. Paul. Pope Francis should do likewise but he won’t.

  2. If, as the Vatican has officially acknowledged Scalfari’s papal utterances ” . . . As already stated on other occasions . . .cannot be considered a faithful account of what was said . . ” by the Holy Father, . . then why, . . why. . . does he agree to these interviews by this man ? Is Pope Francis not know , or care about the constant accusations of spreading confusion ???

  3. Well, look. The reason people find Scalfari’s claims credible is because they’re exactly the kind of thing they suspect this pope might say in private. All the increasingly desperate diversions about Scalfari’s purported “unreliability” or (even more improbably) his ignorance of Catholic teaching are just wind, unless and until the pope himself makes a clear statement disavowing the explicit propositions attributed to him.

  4. Is Jesus Christ the Second Person of the Triune Oneness truly incarnate (not merely “another existent, but the very appearance of Being itself,” von Balathasar) or only one of several existent manifestations possibly to be aggregated under a common heading, say, “fraternity”?

    Clarifying the unfortunate and levelized “pluralism” of religions at the head of the Abu Dhabi Declaration, February 14, 2019 (barely two or three words), we find the following from Cardinal Raniero Contalamessa, preacher of the papal household, in his recent “Good Friday Homily for 2021.” He affirms and repeats Christ as the wellspring, by quoting Pope Francis:

    “Others drink from other sources. For us, the wellspring of human dignity and fraternity is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. From it, there arises, ‘for Christian thought and for the action of the Church, the primacy given to relationship, to the encounter with the sacred mystery of the other, to universal communion with the entire human family, as a vocation of all’” (Fratelli tutti, October 3, 2020, n. 277, the internal quote is from Lectio Divina meditations of March 26, 2019).

    The burden of the Second Vatican Council, as again explained in Peter Seewald’s new biography of Benedict XVI and his influence, was/is to better engage the world (aggiornamento) by returning to sources (ressourcement) in such a way that evangelization is focused on the actual event in human history of the Incarnation as “the appearance of Being itself” (above), at the center of even Scripture or Tradition understood more as secondary words about the actual “Word made flesh.”

  5. Did Pope Francis say…
    The Vatican says…

    There would be a simple, obvious way out: Pope Francis himself clarifies the point… but he never clarifies anything.
    “Chi tace acconsente” we say in Italy, “if one doesn’t reply, he agrees”.

    • I pray for the Holy Father. He is my Pope and I love the Church. Looking back now on these multiple interviews he has done with Scalfari it’s clear they had a purpose. Ross Douthat(writer) believes he used these interviews to test the reaction to issues in the Church. I think it’s more serious than that. It’s just my opinion, but I believe Scalfari wasn’t mistaken about Pope Francis’s views. They are friends and have been for years. Pope Francis continued to allow him access despite these “misunderstandings”. When someone is telling you who they are believe them. Pope Francis is telling us who he is. If he doesn’t believe these statements then stop giving Scalfari continuous access. The reason The Holy Father didn’t stop the access is he wanted those statements released. He believes them.

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