Pope Francis denies Hell . . . or?

Discussion in 'Reincarnation, Religion and Spirituality' started by SeaAndSky, Mar 30, 2018.

  1. SeaAndSky

    SeaAndSky Senior Registered

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    http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2018/03/30/vatican-refuses-disavow-popes-denial-hell/

    As the author of the article points out, the carefully worded disavowal from the Vatican does not deny that there may be some substance to what is being reported (even though it is not to be taken as an accurate word-for-word report).

    Anyhow, this may just be a flash in the pan, but it may represent an interesting shift in position. I do not read what is being reported as being said as a denial of "Hell" altogether, but a denial of its continuance after the final restoration of all things, as evil souls who did not repent would ultimately become non-existent. This is a minority position among some protestant scholars, but I've never heard of it in a Roman Catholic context before. From what I can tell the statements made seem to imply a final chance for repentance post-mortem as well as the ultimate non-existence or annihilation of the wicked. These would both be extremely profound changes to the standard theological paradigms.

    This is one of the possible positions that would make a bit more sense of the ultimate restoration / apocatastasis threads in scripture while preserving the Hell narrative. This is possibly of no interest to many on the board, but changes at or from this level of the RC hierarchy are worth watching as they impact so many people in the world and world culture overall.

    PS--You can read more about the restoration/apocatastasis aspects of scripture here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocatastasis

    PPS--The timing for this, just before Easter, is also fairly remarkable.
     
  2. baro-san

    baro-san Senior Member

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    Actually the headlines and interpretations seem to be misleading (fake news). There was no mentioning of the hell. Also, no move away from the "fear-based" path.

    It’s not the first time that Scalfari, who has said he is an atheist, has made claims about the pope’s views, but the reference to the pope’s views on hell spread on social media during Holy Week.

    The Vatican released a statement calling the article by Scalfari “the fruit of his reconstruction,” Rosica said.

    Scalfari’s interview, published Thursday,
    quoted the pope as saying during a meeting that while the souls of repentant sinners “receive the forgiveness of God and go among the line of souls who contemplate him, the souls of those who are unrepentant, and thus cannot be forgiven, disappear.” -- from WaPo
     
  3. SeaAndSky

    SeaAndSky Senior Registered

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    Hi Baro-san,

    The important change is that "souls of those who are unrepentant, and thus cannot be forgiven, disappear"--this is a radical change as established doctrine would call for them to be tormented everlastingly in Hell. Likewise, there is some implication that there is a final chance for repentance prior to this fate.

    News headlines tend to be a bit over-blown in order to attract clicks/eyes and readers. That is why I added an "or?" to my title above. I believe the article cited by me amply supports my use of "or?". As I noted above: [T]he carefully worded disavowal from the Vatican does not deny that there may be some substance to what is being reported (even though it is not to be taken as an accurate word-for-word report).

    Apparently this reporter has been used in the past to create plausible deniability if needed. The critical issues here are not the existence of Hell, but the everlastingness of Hell, i.e., everlasting infernal torment vs. some form of annihilationism. Also, to my eye, there is some indication of post-mortem repentance being mooted. However, I have some concern as to whether you read my post above, as you do not seem to be aware of these points.

    To my mind, the foregoing certainly represent a "softening" of viewpoint, though they certainly don't represent a disavowal of a "fear based" path.

    Cordially,
    S&S
     
  4. baro-san

    baro-san Senior Member

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    Christian by birth and baptism, I'm not up to snuff with the intricacies, so unable to read much into these news. From what I read so far about this Pope, I wouldn't be surprised for him to push for some major changes of the doctrine, maybe even bringing back reincarnation, although he seems to be more preoccupied by social issues (I guess his apparent softening against sinners would come from the same preoccupation).
     
  5. SeaAndSky

    SeaAndSky Senior Registered

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    Hi Baro-san,

    This is an interesting pope, and I agree with your analysis. He is definitely more interested in social issues than doctrine (from what I can tell). However, he has proved to be capable of raising conservative Catholic hackles on both fronts. Still there is enough waffling and ambiguity involved in most statements of this type that it is very hard to pin him down in terms of where he stands and what he might do.

    I doubt if he'd ever go so far as to bring in reincarnation, but he could be laying some necessary ground-work for someone 2 or 3 popes up the line. And, if the two points mentioned above ever mature into settled doctrine, they would represent a radical departure from established doctrine.

    Hmm. In terms of reincarnation, I suppose the next step would be to move towards a more Cathar-like position, by re-defining the nature of Hell such that the fires of Gehenna represent the fiery passions and suffering we endure bound to the wheel of birth/death, with Heaven representing liberation.

    Cordially,
    S&S
     
  6. John Tat

    John Tat Senior Registered

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    This is just another example that has been going on since Christianity began.. It evolves with the times.. Scholars for centuries have been re defining the meaning of the written word.. That being said... It's interesting a pope would even talk about such a thing.. I have seen other reports from different Christian group who also say there is no hell...Its all to do with the changing times we live in
     

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