Over a year and a half ago, we reported on Pope Francis supporting annihilationism, the idea that the unrepentant are not sent to Hell, in one of three concerning news stories surrounding him at that time. The belief which was not denied by the Vatican was the most concerning.
The accusation of the Pope believing such came from a longtime Papal interviewer by the name of Eugenio Scalfari. In an upcoming book, Scalfari has claimed that Pope Francis denied the bodily resurrection of Christ. This revelation came after the Amazon Synod, in which Pope Francis endorse idols being brought into a church. The translated quote by Lifesite News:
“He was a man until he was placed in the tomb by the women who recomposed his body. That night, in the tomb, the man disappeared and came forth from the grotto in the semblance of a spirit that met the women and the Apostles while still preserving the shadow of the person, and then he definitely disappeared.”
Denying the bodily resurrection of Christ, insisting that he came back a spirit is post-resurrection docetism. The Christian Apologetics & Research Minister (CARM) explains, “Docetism was an error with several variations concerning the nature of Christ. Generally, it taught that Jesus only appeared to have a body–that he was not really incarnate (Greek, “dokeo” = “to seem”).” The heresy was condemned by the Council of Chalcedon in 451.
However, before the Amazon Synod, a damning accusation was made by Scalfari, one where Pope Francis denies the divinity of Christ. Lifesite News reported:
Scalfari wrote: “Those who have had the chance, as I have had different times, to meet him [Pope Francis] and speak to him with the greatest cultural confidence, know that Pope Francis conceives Christ as Jesus of Nazareth, a man, not God incarnate. Once incarnated, Jesus ceases to be a God and becomes a man until his death on the cross.” According to Scalfari, “When I happened to discuss these phrases, Pope Francis told me: ‘They are the definite proof that Jesus of Nazareth, once he became a man, even if he was a man of exceptional virtue, was not God at all.’”
This statement is a mixture of multiple heresies. The first is kenosis. Kenosis is the belief that Jesus stopped being divine while on earth. The second is adoptionism, the belief that Jesus became God after birth. Scalfari articulates Pope Francis believing in a merger of kenosis and adoptionism. The Vatican spokesperson, Matteo Bruni, had the exact same statement for both of the recent heresy accusations.
“As already stated on other occasions, the words that Dr. Eugenio Scalfari attributes in quotation marks to the Holy Father during conversations with him cannot be considered as a faithful account of what has actually been said, but rather represent a personal and free interpretation of what he has heard, as is quite evident from what has been written today about the divinity of Jesus Christ.”
This is a non-denial, denial. Eugenio Scalfari is a known atheist, which opens up the door to his lying or fabricating details, yet a simple denial and discrediting of his claims would suffice. These claims, if outlandish, are strangely coherent. If the Pope believes that Jesus (though part of the trinity) became man shedding his God-nature and became God again upon resurrecting in the form of a spirit, the coherent worldview is that Pope Francis denies that God can become flesh. The Bible is clear about the bodily resurrection when Thomas stuck his hand in Christ’s wounds.
One can question how theologically aware Scalfari is when is comes to the finer doctrines of the trinity, however Pope Francis is without excuse on clumsy wording or ignorance.
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