Pope Francis Believes in Hell!
Hello Again Apostolic Insiders!
Is it just me or are people going crazy when it comes to Pope Francis? I have written before of the incredible amount of misinformation that continues to spread about on the internet against Pope Francis. See here:
And I must say, I was truly amazed once again when I read blog post after blog post, report after report, some of them from people I greatly respect, all claiming the Pope denied the existence of Hell recently!
Did you see this stuff?
Well, in a nutshell, it is absolutely UNTRUE!
As many of you already know, the controversy started when Eugenio Scalfari, the 93 year-old co-founder and former editor of La Repubblica, an Italian daily, in a March 28 story, claimed the pope “told him hell does not exist” in a private interview he had with Pope Francis.
The Vatican immediately put out a statement that made absolutely clear that the pope said nothing of the sort (https://www.ncronline.org/news/vatican/vatican-claim-pope-denied-hells-existence-unreliable), and yet this misnomer continues to spread.
Now, folks, Scalfari is widely known to never use a tape recorder in his interviews, and he is known to have misrepresented things in times past, yet, somehow this man who is an avowed atheist, AND 93 YEARS-OLD WORKING OFF OF HIS MEMORY OF WHAT WAS SAID DAYS BEFORE, is believed over and against the protests of Pope Francis?
Houston, we have a problem!
Here are three points to consider:
1. It’s Eugenio Scalfari, a 93 year-old atheist, folks! Need I say more? When the Vatican clarified things that should have been all that was needed!
2. Does anybody remember the Pope’s two declarations aimed directly at the Italian mob where he both declared them to be self-excommunicated by their actions (in June of 2014), and told them, while speaking to families of victims of Mafia violence (March 21, 2014), to repent or they would go to hell? In his words, the pope said:
“Convert, there is still time for not ending up in hell. It is what is waiting for you if you continue on this path.”
3. Does anybody remember Pope Francis’ excellent explication of the nature of hell in response to a young female scout’s inquiry about hell when his Holiness met with a group of children and teens when he was visiting one of his parishes in Rome on March 8, 2015?
This young scout asked the pope, “If God forgives everybody, why does hell exist?” The pope then praised the young girl for asking such a “very important” and “good and difficult question.” But his response was brilliant. He began by referring to the devil himself as a “very proud angel, very proud, very intelligent, and he was envious of God. Do you understand? He was envious of God. He wanted God’s place. And God wanted to forgive him, but he said, ‘I don’t need your forgiveness. I am good enough!'”
“This is hell: It is telling God, ‘You take care of yourself because I’ll take care of myself.’ They don’t send you to hell, you go there because you choose to be there. Hell is wanting to be distant from God because I do not want God’s love. This is hell. Do you understand?”
Notice what the pope did not say? “Oh, there is no hell little girl!” No! The pope was absolutely unequivocal here! There is a hell and this is what it is! And just so we all know, he was theologically correct in his response, in perfect keeping with Catholic teaching (see CCC 1033-1035).
What really concerns me here is not so much the secular media misreporting things. That is to be expected. It was when I read Catholics – good and devout Catholics at times – misrepresenting this story and attacking the pope. It seems that all of the bluster against Pope Francis has led to such anger that good people are losing their ability to be able to think rationally when it comes to our Holy Father. This is ominous, folks!
Let us pray for an outpouring of God’s grace and mercy and that our response – all of our responses – to that grace would bring about a true “renewal of [our] mind[s], that [we] may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
What I see today is a lot of irrational anger against our pope. And we know “the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God.” What we need is more love and more light that only comes from God!