Volume > Issue > A Peek into Papal Priorities

A Peek into Papal Priorities

NEW OXFORD NOTEBOOK

By Pieter Vree | December 2019
Pieter Vree is Editor of the NOR.

October was a momentous month on the Francis front.

First, Francis’s old friend Eugenio Scalfari was stirring things up again. The last time we heard from this nonagenarian Marxist journalist, he claimed that Francis had told him that Hell does not exist (see “Scalfari Strikes Again,” New Oxford Note, June 2018). In October, Scalfari made another outrageous assertion. The Pope, he said, had directly denied one of the fundamental tenets of Christianity.

In la Repubblica, the Italian newspaper he edits, Scalfari wrote that “anyone who has had the good fortune to meet with him and speak with him in utmost confidence — as I have done several times — knows that Pope Francis conceives of Christ as Jesus of Nazareth: a man, not an incarnate god. Once incarnate, Jesus ceases to be a god and become a man, until his death on the cross” (Oct. 9). Good heavens!

Scalfari alleges that Francis considers scriptural accounts of Christ’s prayers to the Father — specifically, His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane — to be “definite proof that Jesus of Nazareth, once he became a man, even if he was a man of exceptional virtue, was not a God.” Though Scalfari might not know it, given that he is a professed atheist, advancing this line of thought would make Francis guilty of the ancient heresy of Arianism.

The Vatican Press Office scrambled to issue a same-day statement: “The words that Dr. Eugenio Scalfari attributes in quotation marks to the Holy Father during talks with him cannot be considered a faithful account of what was actually said but represent a personal and free interpretation of what he heard, as appears completely evident from what is written today regarding the divinity of Jesus Christ” (Oct. 9).

Not exactly an ironclad denial — or an affirmation of Francis’s belief in the divinity of Christ.

Enjoyed reading this?

READ MORE! REGISTER TODAY

SUBSCRIBE

You May Also Enjoy

Oh Pain, Where Is Thy Sting?

Psychobabble and weird theology can be used to justify anything.

Losing the Liberals

As we mark the two-year anniversary of Jorge Bergoglio's election to the papacy, the extended honeymoon period with liberal Catholics that he enjoyed is coming to a bitter close.

The Self-Fulfilling Prophet

Oscar Andres Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga has opined, "I'm firmly convinced we are at the dawn of a new era in the Church, just as when Pope John XXIII opened its windows 50 years ago and made it let in fresh air."