The Vatican spokesman went on to say that “no quotation of the article should be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father.”
The media went into overdrive:
Rush Limbaugh, conservative radio personality: “It was easy to see, with this pope, that the left is even corrupting the Catholic Church....”
Wall Street Journal reporter
Francis X. Rocca pointed out that, “Part of Pope Francis’ strategy has been generally to play down the importance of formal teaching.”
He noted that the Vatican did not deny Scalfari’s remarks.
The Boston Globe
interviewed Catholic philosopher Peter Kreeft,
who defended the pope. “I doubt he said that [about hell] because it’s heresy outright.”
Journalist Tara Isabella Burton wrote, “If the Pope indeed said those words, the consequences would be catastrophic for the Catholic Church, which — according to its own catechism — ‘affirms the teaching of hell and its eternity, including eternal fire,’ although it stresses that ‘the chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God.’”
Gwynne Dyer of Canada’s
suggests that the pope is trying in a subtle way to change Catholic doctrine.
“Of course” P
ope Francis had denied the existence of hell, and “the reason why is obvious…." Dwyer went on to explain: "It is very hard for a well-educated person of modern sensibilities to believe that a loving god would condemn any of the human beings he created to an eternity of physical torture and mental anguish. That is not what loving human fathers do, even to children who disobey them, so the traditional notion of Hell is a permanent problem for many Catholic theologians.”
Because the doctrine of annihilation is heresy in the Catholic Church, journalist Dyer thinks this is Pope Francis’ indirect way of communicating his true beliefs.
A Vatican insider named Antonio Socci
says Scalfari and the pope have been playing a little game for over five years now: “When Francis speaks to Catholics he expresses himself in a certain vague and theologically ambiguous way. He avoids explicit statements and thus
little by little demolishes doctrine (the tactic of boiling frogs slowly).
When he speaks through Scalfari
to the secular world
, he makes known his true ideas, which are so totally modern, in order to build up his “revolution” and to have popularity among non-Catholics and the media. “[emphasis in original]
So – what is this all about? Will this lead people to greater truth? To question the authority of the universal church? To go to the Bible for answers? Will this lend wings to our efforts? I hope so!
pray that God will use this little hoopla to reveal Himself and to open doors for our work!