Pope Francis has had another conversation with his atheist friend, the journalist Eugenio Scalfari. Previously, Scalfari reported that the pontiff denied the existence of Hell. But this time, if the report is correct, the Pope repudiated the definitive teaching of Christianity: the deity of Jesus Christ.
From Michael W. Chapman, Scalfari: Pope Francis Told Me That Jesus Incarnate Was a ‘Man … Not at All a God’:
In the latest edition of La Repubblica, Pope Francis’ longtime atheist friend and interviewer, Eugenio Scalfari, claims that the Pope told him that once Jesus Christ became incarnate, he was a man, a “man of exceptional virtues” but “not at all a God.”
The teaching of the Catholic Church and most Christian churches is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was incarnated as fully man and fully God. . . .
According to the highly respected Catholic blog, Rorate Caeli, and Radio Spada in Italy, Scalfari states in the Oct. 9 edition of La Repubblica (behind paywall) the following: “Those who, as it has happened many times with me, have had the luck of meeting him and speaking to him with the greatest cultural intimacy, know that Pope Francis conceives Christ as Jesus of Nazareth, man, not God incarnate.”
“Once incarnate, Jesus stops being a God and becomes a man until his death on the cross.”[…]
Scalfari continues, “When I had the chance of discussing these sentences, Pope Francis told me: ‘They are the proven proof that Jesus of Nazareth, once having become a man, was, though a man of exceptional virtues, not at all a God.'”
The Vatican quickly issued a statement that said the piece in La Repubblica “cannot be considered as a faithful account of what was effectively said, but represent more a personal free interpretation of that which he [Scalfari] heard.” Well, Scalfari is a respected journalist who used quotation marks. And if Scalfari is always misinterpreting and misquoting what he says, why does the Pope keep doing interviews with him? At any rate, the Vatican statement did not deny the substance of what Scalfari reported.
I’m sure the Pope’s handlers will come up with a labored interpretation that will make it seem that he did not deny the creeds of Christianity. But if he said what he is quoted as saying, the Pope is not just a liberal or being progressive: He is a heretic. Not just in the sense that the term is thrown around sometimes to refer to any departure from Catholic doctrine. An actual Christological heretic, the sort condemned at Nicaea. (Which would that be? Help me out here.) At any rate, if he said this, under the definition of the Athanasian Creed, the Pope is no longer Catholic.
Already, even before this report, some traditional Catholics have been sounding like Eastern Orthodox and Reformation Christians in using the A-word: Antichrist.
Photo of Pope Francis by Zebra48bo [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)] via Wikipedia Commons