Hell is an Attitude? ‘Pope’ Francis shows he does not believe in Eternal Damnation for the Wicked
Not surprisingly, the Argentinian apostate Jorge Bergoglio (“Pope Francis”) doesn’t talk much about hell. When he does, it’s usually to deny its existence, or to deny that anyone is in it; or to downplay it in other ways, or simply to joke about it.
Bergoglio’s latest remarks on hell come from one of the half-dozen interviews released in just the last week or so, on the occasion of his 10-year anniversary as ‘Pope’. For that conversation, Jorge Fontevecchia of the Argentinian tabloid Perfil had sat down with Francis for well over two hours in the Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican. The full video and lengthy transcript were published on Mar. 11 (see Spanish original here).
The ‘Pope’ was asked: “What is your own interpretation of hell and paradise, and what happens to people who go to hell, and what to those who go to paradise?” He responded as follows (using a computerized translation via DeepL):
Hell is not a place, if one goes to attend the Last Judgment, and sees the faces of those who go to hell, one is frightened. If you read Dante, you get scared. But these are media representations. Hell is a state, there are people who live in hell continuously. I am not saying this for the people who suffer, the people who suffer, but for those who make a world of bad or sick self-referentiality, and end up living in hell. Hell is a state, it is a state of the heart, of the soul, of a posture towards life, towards values, towards the family, towards everything. There are people who live in hell because they seek it, there are others who do not, who are suffering. And who goes to hell, to that hell, to that state? They [who] are already living [it] from here.
Notice that the false pope’s insufferable Naturalism is revealing itself here. Everything he says about hell up to this point concerns the present world. He falsely interprets what in reality is the unchangeable state of the reprobate after death, in which they are justly punished eternally for their personal sins, as if it were a temporal condition of human life created for themselves by those who have a self-referential attitude towards everything. This is on a level with the famous quip of the atheist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre: “Hell is other people.”
Francis’ remarks here are reminiscent of his year-end homily of Dec. 31, 2020, in which he repudiated the supernatural purpose of suffering and death. They also call to mind his homily of Feb. 1, 2018, in which he managed to reflect on death without any mention of soul, grace, sin, judgment, heaven, hell, purgatory, penance, conversion, faith, hope, or charity. Instead, he blathered on about a journey, a legacy, and something about memory. His subsequent Ash Wednesday sermon wasn’t any better.
For those who may need a quick refresher, the Catholic teaching concerning hell is explained in the 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia entry on the topic.
In what follows, we will provide some quotes from the Catholic magisterium concerning hell:
The punishment of original sin is deprivation of the vision of God, but the punishment of actual sin is the torments of everlasting hell.
(Pope Innocent III, Letter Ex Parte Tua; Denz. 410)
But [Jesus Christ] descended in soul, and He arose in the flesh, and He ascended equally in both, to come at the end of time, to judge the living and the dead, and to render to each according to his works, to the wicked as well as to the elect, all of whom will rise with their bodies which they now bear, that they may receive according to their works, whether these works have been good or evil, the latter everlasting punishment with the devil, and the former everlasting glory with Christ.
(Fourth Lateran Council, Chapter 1; Denz. 429)
The souls of those who die in mortal sin or with original sin only, however, immediately descend to hell, yet to be punished with different punishments.
(Second Council of Lyons, Profession of Faith of Michael Palaeologus; Denz. 464)
Moreover we define that according to the general disposition of God, the souls of those who die in actual mortal sin go down into hell immediately after death and there suffer the pain of hell. Nevertheless, on the day of judgment all men will appear with their bodies “before the judgment seat of Christ” to give an account of their personal deeds, “so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body” (2 Cor 5:10).
(Pope Benedict XII, Bull Benedictus Deus)
Thus it is clear that the eternal punishment of the damned is infallible Catholic dogma. This punishment consists in the pain of loss (loss of the Beatific Vision, the end for which the soul was created) and the pain of sense (the fires of hell).
Yes, we are talking about actual fire: “Moreover, if anyone without repentance dies in mortal sin, without a doubt he is tortured forever by the flames of eternal hell”, Pope Innocent IV teaches (Letter Sub Catholicae; Denz. 457). The Athanasian Creed likewise speaks of “eternal fire” (Denz. 40), which, of course, is also taught in Holy Scripture.
Notice that Francis has affirmed none of these things in his remarks, even though he had an obligation to do so, since he had been asked to testify concerning his (supposed) faith, even in his capacity as (putative) Roman Pontiff.
Furthermore, yes, hell is a place. Although that has not been defined dogmatically by the Church, the testimony of the Bible in that regard is superabundant. For example, it is referred to as “this place of torments” (Lk 16:28), as Judas Iscariot’s “own place” (Acts 1:25), as “the pool of fire, burning with brimstone” (Apoc 19:20), etc. And Pope St. Peter speaks about demons being “drawn down by infernal ropes to the lower hell” (2 Pet 2:4).
Hell must be a place since after the General Judgment all bodies will be reunited with their souls, and that includes the bodies of the souls in hell: “Wonder not at this; for the hour cometh, wherein all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God. And they that have done good things, shall come forth unto the resurrection of life; but they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment” (Jn 5:28-29).
Since bodies take up space, hell must be a physical place. Of course this does not preclude it also from being a state, a condition — indeed, one of absolute and never-ending misery, pain, and despair.
A brief historical aside: Francis isn’t the first Novus Ordo antipope to claim hell is not a place. On July 28, 1999, ‘Pope’ John Paul II said as much: “Rather than a place, hell indicates the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy” — as if the two were mutually exclusive. The Catholic teaching is that hell is both a place and a state. Unlike Bergoglio, however, John Paul still knew that hell had something to do with eternal separation from God.
Just an attitude? Divine Revelations speaks of hell as an eternal place of fiery torment for the wicked
Now, as we said earlier, Francis wasn’t done yet. He had more to say, and it didn’t get any better.
Although he had just twisted hell into some kind of miserable self-referential condition in this life, he proceeded to switch to hell as pertaining to the afterlife — but not without hinting that nobody is in it:
If you ask me how many people are in hell, I answer you with a famous sculpture of the cathedral of Deslé, I don’t know if it is from the 11th or 9th century, south of France, there is a famous capital, the columns have capitals, which was a way of catechizing at that time through painting and sculpture. And that capital has Judas hanging and the devil pulling him down, and on the other side they have the Good Shepherd, Jesus who grabs Judas and takes him to the babucha [?] with an ironic smile. What does that mean? That salvation is stronger than damnation. This capital is a catechesis that should make us think. God’s mercy is always at our side, and what God wants is always to be with his people, with his children, and not for them to leave him.
(Jorge Bergoglio, in Jorge Fontevecchia, “Papa Francisco: ‘Se puede dialogar muy bien con la economía, no se puede dialogar con las finanzas'”, Perfil, Mar. 11, 2023.)
Bergoglio loves telling that story about the sculpture at the top of that cathedral column, as he has done sundry times in the last 10 years. There is just one little problem with it: It’s not quite true because the man depicted in the sculpture who is carrying the dead body of Judas on his back is not the Good Shepherd, He is not our Blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We have analyzed and explained this in the past:
Sympathy for the Devil: Vatican Newspaper tries to elicit Compassion for Judas Iscariot on Holy Thursday
Francis: “Someone might think, ‘This Pope is a Heretic’…” for saying Judas Iscariot might be saved
Yes, Judas is in Hell: Response to Steve Kellmeyer
Francis clearly wants the reader/listener to take from his comments that he believes nobody actually goes to hell, so there is really nothing to worry about. After all, if even the “Son of Perdition” isn’t damned, of whom our Lord said He “is lost” (Jn 17:12), surely no one else needs to fear. Such is the infernal theology of Jorge Bergoglio.
Interestingly enough, none other than our Blessed Lord Himself spoke about hell frequently. It is clearly an integral part of the Gospel. As merciful as Jesus was, again and again He also warned people of the very real possibility of everlasting punishment in hell: “The Son of man shall send his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all scandals, and them that work iniquity. And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt 13:41-42).
To avoid an eternity in hell, we must overcome, with God’s help, anything and everything that stands in the way of our salvation: “And if thy hand, or thy foot scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee to go into life maimed or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire” (Mt 18:8).
It is very evident that the Catholic dogma of hell is nowhere to be found in Francis’ words. To sum up, we can say that the false pope wasted no thought on the concepts of sin, sanctifying grace, eternal punishment, or divine justice. Instead, he communicated (whether frankly or by insinuation) that:
(a) hell is not a place
(b) hell is a state in this world
(c) hell is not to be feared
(d) some people are living it in this life
(e) no one goes to hell
The fact that these things do not harmonize but are in fact somewhat contradictory, is par for the course for Bergoglio. The only consistency between all five of these elements is that that they are in contradiction to Catholic belief.
Oh, by the way: There is one occasion on which Francis does recall the reality and seriousness of hell. It’s when he denounces the Mafia. Then he suddenly remembers the catechism of his youth and tells those criminals: “There is still time to avoid ending up in hell. That is what is waiting for you if you continue on this path.”
Funny how that works.