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Meredith Hughes wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have a question. I recently saw this article in my news feed and I immediately thought of you guys. I am hoping that you can help me understand this.

  • Can you clarify what Pope Francis' beliefs are regarding Hell?
  • Does he believe that Hell is a real place?

Here is the link of where you can find the article.

I would be grateful.

Sincerely,

Meredith

  { Can you clarify what Pope Francis' beliefs are regarding Hell and does he deny its existence? }

Eric replied:

Meredith —

Here are a few quotes from him from other addresses where he affirms the existence of Hell:

"Convert, there is still time, so that you don’t end up in Hell. That is what awaits you if you continue on this path."

Address of Pope Francis - Church of San Gregorio VII, Rome - Friday, 21 March 2014

"Yet the danger always remains that by a constant refusal to open the doors of their hearts to Christ who knocks on them in the poor, the proud, rich and powerful will end up condemning themselves and plunging into the eternal abyss of solitude which is Hell."

Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for Lent 2016

"Jesus says that one who calls his brother “stupid” must go to Hell."

Visit to 'Villa Nazareth' Address of His Holiness Pope Francis Saturday, 18 June 2016

"We are therefore faced with a real and true “call from the Lord to think seriously about the end: about my end, the judgment, about my judgment”.

In this regard, the Pope recalled how when we are children we go “to catechism” class, and are taught “four things: death, judgment, Hell or glory”. Of course, some might say: “Father, this frightens us”. However, Francis replied: “It is the truth. Because if you do not take care of your heart”, and “you always live far away from the Lord, perhaps there is the danger, the danger of continuing in this way, far away from the Lord for eternity. This is very bad!”.

Pope Francis - Morning Meditation in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae on the Day of Justice, Tuesday, 22 November 2016

These are all available on the Vatican website if you do a search for: Francis Hell.

Here is also a nice article on the kerfuffle, commotion, or fuss:

Eric

John replied:

Meredith —

The Pope never said there is no evil. Words were put in his mouth by an atheistic Communist reporter named Eugenio Scalfari who publishes a left-wing newspaper in Italy. He doesn't take notes when he interviews, which he readily admits and adds that he just gets to know the person and then puts their thoughts in his words. In this interview Scalfari claimed that the Pope said, condemned souls are just destroyed, but don't go to eternal Hell. This is a total fabrication and the Vatican has denied the Pope ever said it.

What is indeed concerning, is why on earth the Pope granted this man another interview. This publisher did the same thing to the Pope in 2013 and in 2015 yet the Pope likes the guy personally, so he keeps giving him interviews.

The Pope has said a lot of things that are cause for concern, but none of them have directly contradicted doctrine. The Holy Spirit, protects the Church and the Pope from teaching heresy.

Throughout the centuries different paradigms have been used to explain Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, and even evil.

The traditional paradigm of Hell is that it is a place where demons torment souls. There is eternal fire and souls experience eternal wrath. That said, Saint John Paul the Great used an entirely different model. He described the afterlife in terms of how we experience the Love of God.

  • For the soul in Heaven, who has been purified and made holy, the soul only experiences God's love as pure joy.

  • The soul in Purgatory, also experiences joy, but the fire of God's love, burns away all selfishness and purifies the soul from the effects or sin so the soul suffers a healing pain as a result of God's love.

  • The damned soul also experiences God's love, but that soul is eternally rejecting it, therefore instead of experiencing joy and healing, it only experiences God's immense love as torment. It is the soul rejecting God, His mercy, and His Love that cause the torment.

This, like the other explanations of the afterlife, are human attempts to understand and explain a revealed Mystery. They are all partial explanations of what we won't fully understand until we, ourselves, are in Eternity.

Returning to your question, Pope Francis has many times spoken of both Evil and Hell. He has warned that people who profess to be Christians, but do not live and act like a Christians, are in danger of Hell.

While the Pope, in my opinion, could do a better job in articulating certain things at certain times, we must also realize that there are many who twist his words at every opportunity.

I hope this helps.

Warmly,

John DiMascio

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