There are some uncomfortable truths that we would like to forget… to make things easier. Though there is certainly no benefit derived from this mentality, some people persist in it, thinking that by the fact of insistently denying the truth, it will just cease to exist.
A few months ago, certain newspapers, of dubious religiosity, published articles with headlines such as: ‘Francis reviews the theology of Hell’ ; ‘Does an eternal hell exist? Francis is open to reviewing this idea’ ; or ‘Francis reviews the dogma of the eternal chastisement in hell’ . To defend such an outlandish theory, the articles – devoid of true intellectual integrity – were based on an affirmation of Francis made during the Mass with the new cardinals at the Consistory in February, 2015.
Since such truths are what real pastors should make the most efforts to preach about – if, in fact, we wish to work for the salvation of souls – it is opportune to ask ourselves certain questions: By any chance may the Pope change a revealed truth? Perhaps the Church cannot eternally condemn, but what about God? Should preaching about hell cease? After death can’t one still repent? Does God, who is good, really chastise eternally?
The people of God – Francis said – come across persons “who exploit and make the most of them; “who deprive their souls of oxygen, robbing them of hope”; “who punish penitent sinners for the very sins they conceal within themselves”. “This – the Pope said – is called lack of mercy”. “I would just like to say one of the most beautiful passages contained in the Gospel. It never fails to move me: ‘Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir.’ ‘Neither do I condemn you’: one of the most beautiful passages because it is full of mercy.” (Homily, Santa Marta, March 23, 2015)
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