Bible-based | Christ-centered | Family-focused | Mission-minded
I have often wondered what it must have been like to live in the 19th century. There is so much fascinating history that was witnessed! To see and hear Restoration Movement personalities like Alexander Campbell, Barton Stone, Raccoon John Smith, Walter Scott and many others would be so exciting! I have also wondered how shocking it must have been for faithful members of the Lord’s church at that time to have heard the news of a proclamation made that Mary was “born without sin” (Pope Pius IX – 1854)! Or, a few years later, that the Pope, himself, was infallible (Pope Pius IX – 1870)! Those claims are still appalling to us today, but they must have been completely distressing to our brethren back then, when they first heard it. Well, we still live in such a time. The current Pope, Francis, has recently declared that “Hell does not exist.”
In an interview with La Repubblica, the Pope was quoted as saying, “They are not punished. Those who repent obtain God’s forgiveness and take their place among the ranks of those who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot be forgiven disappear. A hell doesn’t exist, the disappearance of sinning souls exists.” … That’s a rather shocking statement!
As you can imagine, the media went into a frenzy. “Pope Declares No Hell,” was the headline posted on the Drudge Report website. “Vatican literally falls apart after Pope Francis says ‘Hell doesn’t exist,” read a headline in a British newspaper. When I read those headlines, my stomach began to churn and I became nauseous. “How can anyone, who supposedly
Journalist, Patrick Buchanan wrote, “What did Christ die on the cross to save us from? If Francis made such a statement, it would be rank heresy. Had the pope been speaking ex cathedra, as the vicar of Christ on earth, he would be contradicting 2,000 years of Catholic doctrine, rooted in the teachings of Christ himself. He would be calling into question papal infallibility, as defined in 1870 by the Vatican Council of Pius IX. Questions would arise as to whether Francis is a true pope.
“The Vatican, obviously, responded quickly by denying the statement. They added that the Pope does, indeed, believe hell exists and that the journalist who wrote the piece for the front page headline was fabricating stories. Eventually, it was revealed that the journalist, Eugenio Scalfari, who conducted the interview with Pope Francis, capitulated. He stated that although he remembered the pope saying hell did not exist, he admitted that “he can also make mistakes.” He even confessed that he had committed an error of omission
So, the Pope apparently didn’t say, “hell does not exist.” I will admit, however, that although I was shocked, I was not surprised – given the history of the papacy. I’m glad it was corrected. The incident simply reminded me of what is most important, it does not matter what some man thinks, or has to say, no matter how important the world may consider him to be. What is matters is what God has to say, in the Bible. He has revealed that a place called hell exists. God said it. That settles it. Truth.