Thursday, March 29, 2018

Pope 'Says' Hell Does Not Exist

The media is reporting that Pope Francis said that there is no hell and that sinful souls just "disappear." The pope is alleged to have stated this to atheist journalist Eugenio Scalfari, a 93-year-old atheist communist who founded La Repubblica newspaper, a leftist paper.

According to Scalfari, when he asked the pope about "bad souls," the pope replied stating that bad souls that do not repent simply disappear and that there is no hell. Scalfari is an atheist Communist Italian.

"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." - Scalfari "quoting" the pope

Immediately "Rorate Caeli" and other right-wing gossip blogs began to attack the pope as a heretic, senile accusing him of destroying the catechism. They did not even bother to verify the story or what the pope actually stated. These sites are so bent on slandering and attacking the Holy Father that they set aside good journalism in favor of propaganda and fake news.

According to the Vatican spokesman Fr. Thomas Rosica, this "interview" was not even an interview. The atheist journalist requested a private meeting with him and clearly took advantage of the situation. He has a tendency of not taking notes and of simply quoting people from memory. Remember, he is in his 90's.  This speaks volumes of his memory and cognitive abilities.

The Vatican issued a statement saying that Scalfari's article "is a product of his own reconstruction in which the actual words pronounced by the pope are not cited. No quotes of the aforementioned article should, therefore, be considered as a faithful transcription of the Holy Father's words."

Statement of the Press Office:
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.

This is not the first time that Scalfari misquoted Pope Francis. He did this in 2013 and removed an interview he conducted and then reposted it only to remove it again. From experience as a former atheist, atheists cannot be trusted when giving accounts of religion or religious persons. They distort things and post alternative facts in order to make a religion or religious leader look bad.

It is unfortunate that so-called conservative Catholics were quick to attack Pope Francis and believe the story. Pope Francis would never deny the existence of hell. This is a doctrine of the Church that is taught in Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium.  It can never change or dismissed. The Catechism says:

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

Father, accept this offering
from your whole family.
Grant us your peace in this life,
save us from final damnation,
and count us among those you have chosen.620

610 1 ⇒ Jn 3:14-15.

611 Cf. ⇒ Mt 25:31-46.

612 Cf. ⇒ Mt 5:22, ⇒ 29; ⇒ 10:28; ⇒ 13:42, ⇒ 50; ⇒ Mk 9:43-48.

613 ⇒ Mt 13:41-42.

614 ⇒ Mt 25:41.

615 Cf. DS 76; 409; 411; 801; 858; 1002; 1351; 1575; Paul VI, CPG # 12.

616 ⇒ Mt 7:13-14.

617 LG 48 # 3; ⇒ Mt 22:13; cf. ⇒ Heb 9:27; ⇒ Mt 25:13, ⇒ 26, ⇒ 30, ⇒ 31 ⇒ 46.

618 Cf. Council of Orange II (529): DS 397; Council of Trent

619 ⇒ 2 Pet 3:9.

620 Roman Missal, EP I (Roman Canon) 88.

Moreover, Pope Francis has mentioned hell and Satan more than recent popes have. Here are the many times he has mentioned hell in his writings and speeches:

This story is a whole lot about nothing. Again, enemies of pope Francis within the Church have capitalized on this and have slandered the pope.  They in their delusion now see a confirmation of their accusations of the pope; namely, that he is a "heretic" or a senile socialist looking to destroy the Catholic faith. Here is some reaction to the story on Twitter:

Let us pray for our Holy Father who is always under attack.  It is sad that many of these attackers are from his own flock.  The pope is no heretic. He is a shepherd to reaches out to the sheep, even those outside of the Church.  As a public figure, he will always be a target of slander and falsehoods.  Do not believe anything you read or hear.  Wait until the Vatican issues a statement. 


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