March 31, 2018

No Hell Below Us? Is Pope Francis an Heretic?

Timothy Birdnow

Everyone is probably awaiting my take on the brouhaha embroiling Pope Francis and his dancing teeth, specifically, his alleged claim there is no Hell. Well, here goes!

First, the Social Justice Warrior Il Papa has denied the claim made by Italian journalist/atheist Eugenio Scalfari that the Pontiff told him in a private interview (sans transcript or recording) that there was no such thing as Hell. If that were true it would constitute an actual heresy, something not seen since Pope Liberius supported (under duress) Arianism in 354 a.d. after having been imprisoned by the Roman government at Beroea and then exiled to Thrace. Beyond that there is no record of any Pope being heretical, although there have been "antipopes" - Popes who usurped the title or who were appointed as replacements by civil authorities (Liberius himself was replaced by an anti Pope - Felix - who was summarily removed when Liberius returned from his exile.)

Even during the Great Schism of 1378, when three different men tried to claim the bark of Peter, there was no actual heresy involved. Heresy is defined as: "St. Thomas (II-II:11:1) defines heresy: "a species of infidelity in men who, having professed the faith of Christ, corrupt its dogmas". "The right Christian faith consists in giving one's voluntary assent to Christ in all that truly belongs to His teaching. There are, therefore, two ways of deviating from Christianity: the one by refusing to believe in Christ Himself, which is the way of infidelity, common to Pagans and Jews; the other by restricting belief to certain points of Christ's doctrine selected and fashioned at pleasure, which is the way of heretics. The subject-matter of both faith and heresy is, therefore, the deposit of the faith, that is, the sum total of truths revealed in Scripture and Tradition as proposed to our belief by the Church. The believer accepts the whole deposit as proposed by the Church; the heretic accepts only such parts of it as commend themselves to his own approval."

End excerpt.

The Vatican denies the Charge. From the Catholic News Agency article:

""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.”

Scalfari, a self-proclaimed atheist, is the founder and former editor of Italian leftist newspaper La Repubblica. In an article published on the site March 29, Scalfari claims that Pope Francis told him, "hell doesn’t exist, the disappearance of the souls of sinners exists.”

End excerpt.

Now, I take claims made by an atheist with a grain of salt, but this is the FIFTH time Francis has spoken with this same journalist, and each time the fellow has supposedly misquoted him. At what point does the Bishop of Rome stop granting interviews with this guy?

It is almost as if he wants to be "misquoted". If he were a politician (frankly isn't the Pope at least partial one?) I would say he's floating a trial balloon.

Scalfari said in the past that Francis made this exact same claim to him.

Why does not the Pope himself come out and categorically deny this? At best Francis is sewing discord with his mild denials.

The CNA article points out:

"Pope Francis has previously spoken about the existence of hell in public speeches, including at a prayer vigil in March 2014.

There he gave an address in which he said that members of the mafia should change their lives, "while there is still time, so that you do not end up in hell. That is what awaits you if you continue on this path.”

Citing Pope Paul VI, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that Catholic teaching "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.' 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."

End excerpt.

But a group of top Catholic scholars have rebuked this Pope for numerous heretical views:

"The correction was delivered to the Pope at his Santa Marta residence on August 11, 2017. No similar action has taken place within the Catholic Church since the Middle Ages, when Pope John XXII was admonished for errors which he later recanted on his deathbed.

"With profound grief, but moved by fidelity to our Lord Jesus Christ, by love for the Church and for the papacy, and by filial devotion toward yourself, we are compelled to address a correction to Your Holiness on account of the propagation of heresies effected by the apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia and by other words, deeds and omissions of Your Holiness,” the signers write in the letter."

End excerpt.

Download the PDF file here.

Francis may just be a muddled thinker and an inarticulate man, but he seems to be more than willing to go just past the line and then come back only when called out. This Pope acts much like most liberals, taking two steps forward then one back aka imposing the dialectic.

Francis has ignored some major Catholic teachings, too; he says he isn't to judge practicing homosexuals and suggested the Church may not condemn gay marriage, he has suggested Catholics may remarry with the blessings of the Church, that Buddhism or other non-Christian religions offer another "path to God", and has made a host of other heretical statements, only to pull them back at the last moment.

That is why I don't believe this journalist is lying when he says Francis told him this. If this guy has been repeatedly misquoting the Pope then Francis is duty bound not to speak with him and to denounce the heresies being promoted. Sadly, the Pope fails at both.

And make no mistake; claiming there is no Hell is a heresy. Jesus spoke about Hell numerous times, more than He did about Heaven.

Here are a number of quotes from the New Testament regarding Hell:

Matthew 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;

‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;'” (Matthew 25:41

Luke 16:24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’

"And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire” (Mark 9:43)

Jude 12-13 These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.

Revelation 14:11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

2 Thessalonians 1:5-9 This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,

Revelation 19:20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.

Revelation 20:10 And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Matthew 11:20-24 Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”

End quotes.

And the fire quencheth not and the worm dyeth not, as Jesus warned. I could go on with many more scripture quotes but you get the idea. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, to suggest there is no Hell, or that sinners are somehow "uncreated" as Francis suggested. Hell is real, Hell is terrible beyond words, and Hell is eternal. You don't want to go there.

And if there is no Hell there was absolutely no reason for Jesus to die on the Cross. None. He could have come to teach us a better way, but there just was no point in being tortured and murdered in a humiliating fashion. Jesus' death served one purpose; to offer a perfect sacrifice for our sins so we would be spared eternal damnation. It really is no more complicated than that.

But Francis, by floating this notion, promulgates an easy, pop-up book children's version of Christianity where we all get a happy ending no matter how naughty we behave or what we believe. This is a major heresy, but one many believe in this day and age, because they want to believe in a happy go lucky deity, a kind of spiritual Santa Claus who gives them everything they want.

If that were true there would be no suffering in this world. God cannot allow suffering and be the kind of Deity they choose to believe in. The end result is that God becomes an irrelevance; atheism is a more logical option at that point because Atheism at least explains pain and suffering in this world. That makes no sense in a world with the God who rewards but does not punish. Either God is not all good, or He doesn't exist at all.

Or one can take the path of ecumenism, saying all religions are equally valid (something Francis has come very close to doing). But that way leads to agnosticism, because one has no need of choosing, of taking a stand.

Either way, the notion that there is no Hell is very damaging to Faith, and is anti-Scriptural, and anti-Apostolic.

In point of fact, if God truly is Love then He must allow souls to choose Hell, lest he be a tyrant who imposes Himself on unwilling individuals. He doesn't want to send anyone into the outer darkness, but if they choose it then He will not stand in their way.

But a man who believes mainly in a social Gospel as this Pope appears to be will not bother himself with this sort of thinking, preferring to dismiss Hell as a curiosity, an antiquated idea from a less enlightened past. That's the trouble with Progressives; they believe in a straight-line progression from ignorance, want, and malice to a mystical humanistic promised land. It doesn't work that way, and Mankind is corrupt to the core by Sin. But a man like Pope Francis prefers to pick and choose what parts of the Bible he will believe in, and act accordingly. He likes the parts about forgiveness, charity, and grace and largely rejects the parts less pleasant.

So, did Pope Francis commit an act of Heresy here? I don't know for certain, but I fear his heart may well swim in those waters. Is he an anti Pope? Quite possibly. I do know he is the wrong man at the wrong time. God chose him, I do not dispute that. But perhaps He chose him for the same reason He chose Saul as king of Israel - as a punishment rather than a blessing.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 12:05 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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