Countdown to a Dire Conclusion

Countdown to a Dire Conclusion

by Christopher A. Ferrara
April 2, 2018

As of Easter Monday we have yet to receive from the Vatican, much less from Pope Francis himself, an actual denial that Francis told Eugenio Scalfari that the souls of the damned “are not punished” eternally and that “there is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls.”  As noted in my previous column, this is at least the second time Scalfari has quoted Francis to that effect on the pages of La Repubblica.

The “denial” issued by the Vatican Press Office tellingly fails to dispute the material accuracy of Scalfari’s quotation of the Pope, harping instead on the claim that it is not a literal, verbatim transcription.  Nor does the Vatican positively declare that Francis rejects the opinion attributed to him and affirms the Church’s infallible dogmatic teaching on the eternal punishment of the damned in hell.

Moreover, as Gloria TV notes: “Scalfari produced articles after having talked to Francis in September 2013, July 2014, March 2015, November 2015 and 2016, and July 2017. Five of these articles produced Vatican denials. But these denials cannot be taken seriously as Francis keeps receiving Scalfari in order to feed him with material for new articles.”

How can anyone reasonably dispute that claim?  Why indeed would Francis continue to have conversations with Scalfari, knowing they will appear in print, unless he is satisfied with the accuracy of what Scalfari has consistently presented as his opinions?  What other reasonable inference is possible?  Are we to infer, instead, that Francis takes some sort of perverse pleasure in having heresy put into his mouth by a lying journalist, whom not even the Vatican has been willing to accuse of lying?

One dogged defender of the indefensible has taken me to task by noting that if my views were mischaracterized by a reporter who quoted me for a proposition that is the opposite of what I believe, “Ferrara then [would] ferociously object[] to this characterization of his views.”  Exactly so.  And exactly what Pope Francis and the Vatican have not done in this case.

We are now in a virtual countdown to the conclusion stated by Gloria TV: “Therefore it is beyond reasonable doubt that Francis uses his inflammatory statements to Scalfari in order to sew [sic] confusion among the simple faithful and further produce conflicts and division in the Church.”

Why else has Francis himself declined to correct one jot or tittle of what Scalfari presents to the world as the opinions of Francis?  Why has the Vatican failed to state, even once, that Francis rejects the numerous outrageous opinions Scalfari claims he has uttered during their conversations?  Why, on the contrary, has the Vatican publishing house published two of Scalfari’s five interviews in a book of the Pope’s interviews and conversations with journalists, including the one in which Pope Francis is quoted as stating: “I believe in God. Not in a Catholic God. A Catholic God does not exist”?

As Pat Buchanan has observed regarding the latest Vatican non-denial of a quotation of Francis that Scalfari has published:

“Sorry, but this will not do. This does not answer the questions the pope raised in his chat. Does hell exist? Are souls that die in mortal sin damned to hell for all eternity? Does the pope accept this belief? Is this still the infallible teaching of the Roman Catholic Church? However one may applaud Francis’ stance on social justice, on matters of faith and morals he has called defined doctrine into question and created confusion throughout the Church he heads.

The Vatican cannot continue to play this game of “hide the heresy” while Francis observes a studious silence regarding the heretical view on the existence of hell he is quoted by his friend as having uttered in private.  We are in the final countdown to the dire conclusion that the current occupant of the Chair of Peter embraces a radical heresy (which is not even to mention the spreading heresy of moral relativism regarding the Sixth Commandment spawned by Amoris Laetitia).

The only one who can negate that conclusion is Pope Francis himself — not merely by making references to hell every now and then, as he has done in the past, but by positively repudiating the statement denying its very existence that his friend Scalfari has published as his personal view.  Indeed, what Catholic in his right mind would not repudiate an heretical statement falsely attributed to him before the whole world?  All the more so the very Vicar of Christ!

On that score, I can only echo the words of Chris Altieri in The Catholic Herald:

“Pope Francis must disown not only the precise verbiage Scalfari reported in his piece, but the ideas foisted upon him therein — at least the ones that are manifestly heretical. The longer he does not, the stronger the case becomes for believing he cannot.

The Pope’s continued silence in these circumstances can mean only one thing: consent.

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One comment on “Countdown to a Dire Conclusion

  1. Excellent analysis, as always, by one of the brightest traditional writers in our day.

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