We blogged about how Pope Francis was quoted by his atheist journalist friend as denying the deity of Christ while He lived on earth. Well, once again Eugenio Scalfari is quoting the pontiff as rejecting a key tenet of Christianity. This time it’s the bodily resurrection of Christ.
Scalfari says in his Italian newspaper La Repubblica–and in a book he is releasing–that Pope Francis said that Jesus appeared “in the semblance of a spirit” as opposed to a physical resurrection.
Here is what Scalfari quotes him as saying:
“He [Jesus] was a man until he was placed in the tomb by the women who recomposed his body. That night, in the tomb, the man [Jesus] disappeared and came forth from the grotto in the semblance of a spirit that met the women and the Apostles while still preserving the shadow of the person, and then he definitely disappeared.”
A Vatican spokesman released a statement along the same lines as the other times Scalfari quoted the Pope denying Christian doctrine (on the deity of Christ, on the non-existence of Hell):
“As already stated on other occasions, the words that Dr. Eugenio Scalfari attributes in quotation marks to the Holy Father during the interviews he had cannot be considered as a faithful account of what was actually said, but rather represent a personal and free interpretation of those who listened, as appears completely evident from what is written today regarding the divinity of Jesus Christ.”
But the writer of the story in the Conservative News Service, Michael W. Chapman makes a good point:
That is a non-denial denial. The Press Office does not state that what Scalfari wrote was false; it claims only that it “cannot be considered as a faithful account.” There is no clear denial, no demand that Scalfari correct his article or retract it, and no denial by the Pope himself. . . .Pope Francis apparently has yet to publicly upbraid Scalfari, correct the record, or ask that Scalfari’s articles be taken down.
Chapman quotes other conservative Catholics:
Italian journalist Antonio Socci, as reported by LifeSiteNews, said of this latest scandal, “Scalfari continues to attribute to Bergoglio quotes that contain unheard-of theological enormities and no one from the Vatican cares in the least of denying, nor do they tell Scalfari to stop. Catholics think: those who keep silent agree.”
Nick Donnelly, a Catholic deacon in England tweeted, “Any decent pope would immediately issue a denial of Scalfari’s allegations that he’s a heretic. A proper, functioning CDF [Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith] would issue a statement pointing out the dangers of such heresies to reassure the faithful. Bishops worthy of their office would be outraged. Instead, NOTHING.”
The notion of a “spiritual” resurrection is nothing new. That’s what Gnostics and other heretics of the early church believed. It can also be found in liberal theologians, who tend to psychologize it all, as in “Jesus was alive in his disciples’ hearts.” Perhaps “the semblance of a spirit” could be construed as being like a spirit, though a human body. So why doesn’t the Pope tell us whether the journalist’s quotation is accurate? And what he really believes?
Photo: Pope Francis by Tânia Rêgo/ABr [CC BY 3.0 br (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/br/deed.en)] via Wikimedia Commons