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Scalfari Strikes Again. And from the Vatican: Silence

by Christopher A. Ferrara
March 24, 2015

For at least the fourth time Francis has given an interview to Eugenio Scalfari, the militant atheist and former editor of the far-Left Italian daily La Reppubblica.  And, for the fourth time, Francis is reported to have said something to Scalfari that rocks the Catholic world.  In an article (translation mine) entitled “What Francis Can Say to the Europe of Nonbelievers,” Francis was asked about the fate of a soul that is “extinguished” in this life because of egoism and lack of love for others:

What happens to that extinguished soul? Will it be punished? And how?

The response by Francis is clear and unambiguous: there is no punishment but rather the annihilation of that soul.  All the others participate in the beatitude of living in the presence of the Father. The annihilated souls have no part in that banquet, with the death of the body their course is finished, and this is the motivation of the missionary Church: to save the lost….

Thus Scalfari attributes to Francis denial of no fewer than four dogmas of the Faith: (1) the immortality of the soul, (2) the eternal punishment of Hell, (3) the very existence of Hell (as there would be no need for such a place of punishment if the souls of the damned were simply extinguished), and (4) the resurrection of the Body on the Day of Judgment.

Our Lord is of a contrary opinion: “And if thy hand scandalize thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life, maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into unquenchable fire: Where there worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished (Mk 9:43-44).” Even the new Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC),  for all its liberalizing tendencies, rejects the heresies attributed to Francis: “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.’ 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 (CCC 1035).” 

Now of course “Team Bergoglio” in the “conservative” Catholic blogosphere will rush to explain that Francis has been misquoted and that Scalfari is not a reliable interviewer as he does not take notes or make audio recordings.  But Francis apparently does not agree, as every one of his three prior interviews with Scalfari has been published in book form with his approval.

And yes, Francis has mentioned Hell elsewhere — as the place where unrepentant Mafiosi and arms traders will go. But then, Francis has a well-established reputation for contradicting himself, which this ludicrous article attempts to defend as a “sophisticated strategy” of promoting decentralized governance of the Church by “willfully devalue[ing] the coinage of papal utterances” so that the papacy itself will be devalued by the sheer number of mere opinions the Pope tosses off in various contexts.

Given Scalfari’s special access to and friendship with Francis, the prominent forum in which this latest explosive interview was published, and the validation of Scalfari’s prior controversial interviews of Francis via their publication in book form with Francis’s full approval, only one course remains open to Francis if he has any intention of disavowing the heresies attributed to him: he must personally deny Scalfari’s account or have someone with authority to speak for him do so.

And he must act immediately. Otherwise, as one prominent Italian Catholic blog site observes: “even denser shadows will be thrown around a Pope as idolized by the crowds as he is disconcerting and scandalizing for the faithful.” But so far nothing but silence from Francis and the Vatican — a silence that speaks volumes.

Surely we are in the times predicted by the Third Secret of Fatima, which is doubtless why the text that explains the vision published in 2000 has been withheld.