Saturday, March 31, 2018


Jesus descended into hell on the first Holy Saturday.
Pope Francis has yet to clarify what his 93 year old friend reports he said about hell and damnation.

Let's be clear, even if what Pope Francis' 93 year old friend said is true, Pope Francis does not deny that some people do not go to heaven, he simply says those who are damned cease to exist. This is speculative theology of the 1970's. It simply describes hell in a devastatingly more compassionate way.

But it also makes clear the Creator's all powerful reality, He can cause what we thought to be immortal, mortal and then make the soul disappear has though never created!

One might ask, if a person ceases to exist, do the saints in heaven have any memory of these people cleansed from their minds making the damned person's non existence in the mind of the saints as though they never had been born, an eternal nothingness?

I say this because there are people who actually love their damned relatives and friends, so if a person in heaven has a loving memory of someone in hell, wouldn't that detract from their eternal happiness leading to a kind of eternal grief?

Thus damnation as a sort of erasing the actual existence of a person takes care of good memories of that person. They become in the minds of the saved as though they never existed.

Here is the Associated Press ongoing coverage of Pope Francis and the controversy His Holiness continues to generate.

I wonder, though, are conservatives the only ones concerned? Are liberals good with this and the implications of the pope's words if he actually said this?

Pope Francis presides over Good Friday services amid security and controversy

Pope Francis lies down in prayer during the Good Friday Passion of Christ Mass inside St. Peter’s Basilica, at the Vatican.


Pope Francis presided over solemn Good Friday services amid heightened security at Rome's Colosseum for the Via Crucis procession and a new communications controversy at home over the existence of hell.

Wearing his white coat to guard against the nighttime chill, Francis listened intently along with some 20,000 faithful as the meditations re-enacting Christ’s crucifixion were read out in the torch-lit Colosseum. At the end, he delivered a meditation of his own, denouncing those who seek power, money and conflict and praying the Catholic Church will always be an “arc of salvation, a source of certainty and truth.”

This year, the prayers were composed by students in keeping with Francis’ dedication of 2018 to addressing the hopes and concerns of young Catholics.
Italian police, carabinieri and soldiers were on alert, with Holy Week coinciding with a spate of arrests of suspected Islamic extremists around Italy and warnings from law enforcement about the return of foreign fighters from Iraq and Syria.

The Good Friday procession, the seminal event in Christianity leading to Christ’s resurrection celebrated on Easter Sunday, also coincided with a new communications controversy in the Vatican over the pope’s reported assertion that hell doesn’t exist.

The Vatican hasn’t denied Francis’ comments to the La Repubblica newspaper at the height of Holy Week, saying only that Francis’ quotes can’t be considered a “faithful transcript” of what he said since the journalist reconstructed a conversation.

It was the fifth time in five years that Francis has spoken to Repubblica’s founder, Eugenio Scalfari, a 93-year-old devout atheist who admits he doesn’t record or take notes during interviews.

Nearly every time a Francis interview has appeared on Repubblica’s front page, the Vatican press office has insisted the pope’s words weren’t necessarily accurate, without denying them outright or explaining what he meant. That has prompted questions about why the pope continues to speak to Scalfari and allow himself to be quoted.

Spokesman Greg Burke didn’t respond Friday when asked whether the pope believes in the existence of hell or not. Francis has in the past spoke frequently about the devil and hell, in keeping with Catholic teaching.

The doubts, however, have enraged Catholic conservatives, who have lost their patience with a pope who seems to care less about doctrine than dialogue, especially with atheists and people of other faiths.

Leading Francis critic Antonio Socci said the pope’s words “in one fell swoop wiped away all the dogma of immortality of the soul and hell. As if the church has been tricking us for 2,000 years and Christ had lied by instilling in us the fear of hell.”


Anonymous said...

What next? I daren't read or listen to anything that Francis is reported to have said or done. It's like a bad dream and just when you think it couldn't get any worse it does.


rcg said...

I wonder if rather than “apart” we used “distinct” and percieve that the Father Creator knows of and about all creation, regardless of distance. But as far lesser creatures we can be beyond our ability to ever be close to him again. Like madmen we wander in darkness, babbling about our plight until we are totally consumed by it and forget God. He is beyond our ability to know without revelation and He does not cause it. So, yes, we will be in Hell by our choice and his power.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I have always been a bit uncomfortable with the theology that "I send myself to hell."

I don't think I have the ability to do so, no more than I have the ability to save myself. Both notions have the common foundation, Pelagianism--neo or otherwise.

That God sends me to hell is much more comforting, whether it is nothingness, which I kind of prefer, or the classical description for hell as an awareness of the pain and fire of separation from God for all eternity.

I can make a mistake in sending me to hell, but God does not make mistakes in sending anyone to Hell. He knows they deserve it and for an eternity based upon the criteria for such mortal sin--full consent of the will.

Fr Martin Fox said...


I have an hypothesis for why the pope keeps giving these interviews. He is doing something similar to what President Trump does. President Trump will tweet some wild or outrageous comment, anticipating it will send his left wing critics into a froth; and sure enough, the result serves to make them look foolish.

So what happened in this case? The pope is being criticized for not being enough about hell and damnation.

Consider: the pope knows what to expect if he has a conversation with Scalifari; he's been in this situation before. Also, notice the Vatican doesn't deny the conversation took place; nor does the pope flatly repudiate what the fellow claimed. The response is only that the report is "unreliable."

None of this means the pope said what he was quoted as saying. But notice there is no shock and dismay from the Vatican. I'm beginning to wonder if the Holy Father doesn't think there's some positive value in these reports. "Hagan lio," he said: "make a mess."

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Fr. McD said, "I have always been a bit uncomfortable with the theology that "I send myself to hell."

Me too, Father. Oh, I get what it means (I think). I think it means, like my mother used to say, "You made your own bed, now sleep in it." meaning, if you made bad choices there are consequences for that. Don't complain about them, or act like you didn't know there was the penalty for your bad actions. You knew right from wrong.

So in the sense that we get what we deserve, and have chosen hell because we rejected God and His statues or will, I see how we in that sense send ourselves to hell.

But there is no denying Scripture, especially Revelation, and some of Jesus' similitudes of the Judgement, that depict God as our final judge, Who has read the deep recesses of our hearts, Who knows our every attitude and behavior, Who knows our most private selves, and stands in judgement of us, applying His Law and precepts. He judges us according to this knowledge, bringing the core of what we are into the light, and judging us rightly, according to the truth. I believe it must be a terrifying thing to stand before the Triune God for judgement.

But there's a wildcard of sorts. It's God's mercy. I have often heard, God's mercy is on this side of death. Take full advantage of it here, because on the other side of death is judgement, and it is exact and severe, and what was not forgiven on this side of death will be held against you on the other side.

Now I know, the liberals in our Church just hate this kind of talk. They believe this sort of imagery just alienates sinners, and makes God out to be some kind of abusive tyrant, and people walk away from God for it, so they think. But Jesus didn't pull His punches when it comes to sin, and neither did the early Church. Waffling about the consequences of sin seems to be a symptom of this modern age which rejects authority.

To me, soft words and nice sentiments are useless if I don't repent of my sins, or even acknowledge them. If Jesus said there will be a judgement and I will be held to account for every last penny of what I have done, I believe Him.

Men aren't going to save me or damn me. God will, though.

God bless.

TJM said...

Father Fox,

I expect more transparency from a religious leader, than a political one. Besides, Trump's opponents are generally members of the party of Intrinsic Evil, the Democrats!! I don't think the Pope's opponents are in favor of intrinsic evil, quite the opposite. So is the Pope trying to out Faithful Catholics for ridicule? For what purpose?

Fr Martin Fox said...


I want to answer carefully, because I do not wish to behave toward the Holy Father in an unfilial manner. But I think it is fair to point out that his Holiness seems quite free with insults toward those with whom hecfinds fault.

Let us always wish the very best for the pope.