Last December 14, in an audience in the Paul VI hall with patients and staff of Rome’s Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital, Pope Francis suggested that God “was unjust with his son”, because “he sent him to the cross.”
The controversial comments were an answer to a question put to him by Valentina Vanzi, a nurse in multi-speciality paediatrics, who asked why children suffer. The Pope replied:
I have no answer to this question. Nor has Jesus given an answer to these words. There is no answer to this question, all we can do is look at the crucifix and let it give us the answer”. The Pope added: “is God unjust? He was unjust with his son, he sent him to the cross, if we follow this logic then we have to say this. But it is our human existence, our flesh, that suffers in that child and when one suffers, people do not speak, they weep and pray in silence.
The commentary of the Pope contradicts with the Church’s understanding of Jesus’ self-giving act on the Cross. God is not “unjust” for sending His Son to the Cross – to the contrary, the Church teaches that one of the attributes of God is that He is Just.
Likewise, the Church teaches that Jesus voluntarily laid down His life out of love for us – His dying on the cross was not a result of an unjust decision by the Father, but rather an expression of His love for us. Our Blessed Lord said that as the Good Shepherd, he voluntarily lays down his life for the sheep. No one takes His life from Him, He lays it down for His sheep of His own accord. John 10: 14-18:
I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me — just as the Father knows me and I know the Father — and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.
Finally, we also recall here St. Paul in Philippians chapter 2: 5-11:
For let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. For which cause God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above all names: That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.
Why is the Pope saying things that seemingly contradict established Church teachings? It will be helpful to study at this point numerous prophecies made by saints and reputable modern-day prophets who have foretold of a time (right before the Second Coming of Christ) where there will be a great Apostasy, or loss of Faith, in the Church, brought about by the “False Prophet” of the Book of Revelation. Below are some useful links to read in this regard: