I don’t know if Pope Francis claimed that Hell doesn’t exist or not. I do know that there are reports out there that say he did, and then there’s the denial from The Vatican. What I do know, is that the list of controversies this Pope and his teachings, thoughts, and beliefs are becoming more and more troubling all the time.
Let’s take a look at this latest controversy. The information comes from CNSNews.com.
In another interview with his longtime atheist friend, Eugenio Scalfari, Pope Francis claims that Hell does not exist and that condemned souls just “disappear.” This is a denial of the 2,000-year-old teaching of the Catholic Church about the reality of Hell and the eternal existence of the soul.
Scalfari says to the Pope, “Your Holiness, in our previous meeting you told me that our species will disappear in a certain moment and that God, still out of his creative force, will create new species. You have never spoken to me about the souls who died in sin and will go to hell to suffer it for eternity. You have however spoken to me of good souls, admitted to the contemplation of God. But what about bad souls? Where are they punished?”
Pope Francis says, “They are not punished, those who repent obtain the forgiveness of God and enter the rank of souls who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot therefore be forgiven disappear. There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls.”
Now we see in a statement released on Mar. 29, after Scalfari’s report garnered worldwide attention, the Vatican said:
“The Holy Father Francis recently received the founder of the newspaper La Repubblica in a private meeting on the occasion of Easter, without however giving him any interviews. What is reported by the author in today’s article [in La Repubblica] is the result of his reconstruction, in which the textual 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.”
Not being of the Catholic faith, it’s hard for me to sometimes realize what might upset those who are Catholic, but here is a short list of other things Pope Francis has said or done that hasn’t been greeted with open arms. This list comes from Lifesitenews.com.
– In July 2013 when a reporter asked why during his trip to Brazil he failed to speak of abortion and homosexuality despite the fact that the nation had just approved laws concerning these matters, the Pope replied: “The Church has already spoken quite clearly on this. It was unnecessary to return to it, just as I didn’t speak about cheating, lying, or other matters on which the Church has a clear teaching!”
– In an October 2013 interview with La Repubblica, Pope Francis was reported to have said: “The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old… the most urgent problem that the Church is facing.” In the same interview he said: “Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense.” And also: “I believe in God, not in a Catholic God, there is no Catholic God, there is God and I believe in Jesus Christ, his incarnation.”
– The November 2013 Apostolic ExhortationEvangelii Gaudium was similar to the Repubblica interview in that the Pope focuses on “two great issues” that, he says, “will shape the future of humanity.” “These issues are first, the inclusion of the poor in society, and second, peace and social dialogue,” he wrote.
– In the 2014 book on Pope Francis, The Great Reformer, we learn from papal biographer Austin Ivereigh that Tony Palmer, an Anglican and long time friend of Pope Francis, spoke to then-Cardinal Bergoglio about whether he should become Catholic. Mr. Palmer described the then-Cardinal’s response as: “[Bergoglio] told me that we need to have bridge-builders. He counseled me not to take the step because it looked like I was choosing a side and I would cease to be a bridge-builder.”
– In January of 2015 came the “don’t breed like rabbits” in-flight interview on his return from Manila. Speaking of a woman he knows who was pregnant with her eighth child after having the first seven by C-section, he said he had “rebuked” her, saying, “But do you want to leave seven orphans? That is to tempt God!” “That is an irresponsibility,” he added, “God gives you methods to be responsible.” Pope Francis then said, “Some think that, excuse me if I use that word, that in order to be good Catholics we have to be like rabbits.” He added, “No. Responsible parenthood!”
– In March 2015 came another interview with Repubblica in which the Pope seemed to suggest no person could go to hell, but if they fully rejected God they would be annihilated. The article says: “What happens to that lost soul? Will it be punished? And how? The response of Francis is distinct and clear: there is no punishment, but the annihilation of that soul. All the others will participate in the beatitude of living in the presence of the Father. The souls that are annihilated will not take part in that banquet; with the death of the body their journey is finished.”
– There was some controversy over Repubblica’s Scalfari interview. The Vatican would neither verify nor deny it in its specific parts, but nevertheless published it in the Vatican newspaper, and on the Vatican website. It was later deleted from the website, only to republish it again, then delete it again. Vatican watchers compared the most controversial part regarding the impossibility of people going to hell for all eternity to the statement from the Pope’s latest exhortation Amoris Laetitia, in which he said, “No one can be condemned for ever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel!”
– In a February 2016 interview with one of Italy’s most prominent dailies, Corriere Della Sera, Pope Francis praised Italy’s leading proponent of abortion, Emma Bonino, as one of the nation’s “forgotten greats,” comparing her to great historical figures such as Konrad Adenauer and Robert Schuman. The Pope praised her for her work with refugees from Africa. Bonino was famously arrested for illegal abortions and then became a politician who has led the fight for the legalization of abortion, euthanasia, homosexual “marriage,” legalization of recreational drugs, graphic sex education, and more.
– On February 18, 2016 on the papal plane returning from Mexico, the Pope commented on Donald Trump during the Presidential Primaries. “A person who only thinks about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,” he said, according to a transcript of his remarks. In the same press scrum, the Pope said he would not comment on Italy’s same-sex civil union legislation “because the pope is for everybody and he can’t insert himself in the specific internal politics of a country.”
It’s way past time to be taking a look at Pope Francis and the beliefs he espouses and expose them for what they are. I know that we will keep this topic and report and comment as needed.