Editor’s Note: In this article by Sandro Magister originally published in L’Ezpresso Magazine, Magister reports that Pope Francis teaches an alternative view of the Last Judgement during the Second Coming of Christ that is dramatically different from the Catholic teaching on the subject. Magister is an Italian journalist who has for many years specialized in religious news, in particular on the Catholic Church and the Vatican. His reports, from a faithful Catholic perspective, have been considered exceptionally reliable and are widely read. Below are excerpts:
In the important newspaper “La Repubblica” of which he is the founder, Eugenio Scalfari, an undisputed authority of Italian secular thought, last October 9 returned to speaking in the following terms about what he sees as a “revolution” of this pontificate, in comments by Pope Francis that are derived from his frequent conversations with him:
Pope Francis has abolished the places where souls were supposed to go after death: hell, purgatory, heaven. The idea he holds is that souls dominated by evil and unrepentant cease to exist, while those that have been redeemed from evil will be taken up into beatitude, contemplating God.
Observing immediately afterward:
The universal judgment that is in the tradition of the Church therefore becomes devoid of meaning. It remains a simple pretext that has given rise to splendid paintings in the history of art. Nothing other than this.
On October 11, at the general audience in Saint Peter’s Square, Pope Francis said that the Last Judgment is not to be feared, because “at the end of our history there is the merciful Jesus,” and therefore “everything will be saved. Everything.”
In the text distributed to the journalists accredited to the Holy See, this last word, “everything,” was emphasized in boldface.
At another general audience a few months ago, on Wednesday, August 23, Pope Francis gave for the end of history an image that is entirely and only comforting: that of “an immense tent, where God will welcome all mankind so as to dwell with them definitively.”
An image that is not his own but is taken from chapter 21 of Revelation, but from which Pope Francis was careful not to cite the following words of Jesus:
The victor will inherit these gifts, and I shall be his God, and he will be my son. But as for cowards, the unfaithful, the depraved, murderers, the unchaste, sorcerers, idol-worshipers, and deceivers of every sort, their lot is in the burning pool of fire and sulfur, which is the second death.
And again, in commenting during the Angelus of Sunday, October 15 on the parable of the wedding banquet (Matthew 22: 1-14) that was read at all the Masses on that day, Pope Francis carefully avoided citing the most unsettling parts. Both that in which “the king became indignant, sent his troops, had those murderers killed and their city burned.”
And that in which, having seen “one man who was not wearing the wedding garment,” the king ordered his servants: “Bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the darkness; there shall be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth.”
On the previous Sunday, October 8, another parable, that of the murderous vine dressers (Matthew 21:33-43), had undergone the same selective treatment.
In commenting on the parable during the Angelus, the pope left out what the owner of the vineyard does to those farmers who killed the servants and finally the son: “He will put those wretches to a miserable death.” Much less did he cite the concluding words of Jesus, referring to himself as the “cornerstone”: “He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but when it falls on any one, it will crush him.”
Instead, Pope Francis insisted on defending God from the accusation of being vindictive, almost as if wanting to mitigate the excesses of “justice” detected in the parable:
It is here that the great news of Christianity is found: a God who, in spite of being disappointed by our mistakes and our sins, does not go back on his word, does not stop, and above all does not avenge himself! Brothers and sisters, God does not avenge himself! God loves, he does not avenge himself, he waits for us to forgive us, to embrace us.
Pope Benedict XVI in the encyclical “Spe Salvi,” which he wrote entirely on his own, forcefully reaffirmed that Last Judgment:
Grace does not make wrong into right. It is not a sponge which wipes everything away, so that whatever someone has done on earth ends up being of equal value. Dostoevsky was right to protest against this kind of Heaven and this kind of grace in his novel ‘The Brothers Karamazov.’ Evildoers, in the end, do not sit at table at the eternal banquet beside their victims without distinction, as though nothing had happened.∎
by Sandro Magister