“And these shall go into everlasting punishment” (Mt 25:46)…

Jorge Bergoglio and the Blasphemous ‘Hope’ of an Empty Hell

He always has something to say: papal pretender Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J.

The Italian late-night talk show Che Tempo Che Fa had a special guest on its Jan. 14, 2024 episode: the apostate Argentinian Jesuit Jorge Mario Bergoglio, marketed under his stage name ‘Pope Francis’.

For the second time in two years, the false pope was being interviewed live by the show’s host, Fabio Fazio.

Approximately 45 minutes into the show (full video here), Francis was asked about hell, that pesky dogma of eternal damnation for the wicked. The host, to all appearances quite sincerely, expressed his struggle to reconcile an eternal hell with an all-loving God:

Fabio Fazio: It is hard to imagine Hell, a Father that condemns eternally…. It is hard to imagine.

Francis: Yes, it is hard to imagine. This is not a dogma of Faith, what I am going to tell you, it is a personal thing of mine, which pleases me: it pleases me to think that Hell is empty. It is a pleasure. I hope it is a reality. But it pleases me.

(translation by Tradition in Action)

So that is how the current illegitimate occupant of the Chair of St. Peter ‘reconciles’ the reality of eternal punishment in hell with the truth of an all-good God: He ‘hopes’ that even though hell be a place of eternal punishment, God doesn’t actually send anybody there. Brilliant!

The truth is: Francis didn’t merely have a golden opportunity to educate the countless viewers on this important topic, so often misunderstood, he actually had a strict obligation to do so. What he did instead was scandalous. By giving the answer he did, not only did the ‘Pope’ express a blasphemy and indirectly affirm a heresy, he also made it appear as though there is no answer to Fazio’s challenge of everlasting punishment imposed by an all-good God.

Bergoglio’s Difficult Relationship with the Truth about Hell

Looking at the last 11 years with ‘Pope Francis’, we notice that at no point has Francis ever unequivocally affirmed the dogmatic truth about hell and how easy it is to end up there. For one thing, although his mouth is constantly moving, eternal damnation is practically never a topic for him. Secondly, whenever he does speak about hell, it is either to joke about it, to deny it, to distort its nature, or to neutralize it in some other way.

Let’s look at some examples from the past, in reverse chronological order:

Curiously, the only exception to his minimizing of hell is when this ‘Pope’ rails against the Mafia, which earns him easy applause. Then suddenly eternal punishment fits his agenda, so he doesn’t mind employing it:

In addition to his rocky relationship with the truth about hell, Francis also likes to point out that he has hope for Judas Iscariot, the one individual we know for certain is damned eternally:

It is clear that there is no place for eternal punishment for the wicked in Bergoglio’s Naturalist theology. He doesn’t even approve of life imprisonment in this world for capital criminals, how could he believe in a God who will punish eternally those who die in mortal sin?

Even most secular people will have enough common sense to understand that if there is a God who punishes the wicked eternally in hell, then it is absurd to think that hell might be empty. If even by our natural human standards, there have been and still are people in this world who are wicked and die in that condition without repentance, how much more must this be the case when the standard of goodness is not our natural human ideas but the supernatural standard of the all-holy and ever-living God? “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31).

Divine Revelation on Hell and Damnation

The pattern we detect in what Francis has said about hell is undeniable: Bergoglio does everything he can to minimize the threat of the reality of hell, with whatever means he deems suitable at the time he speaks. While he may not always deny its existence outright, he does always try to do some damage; that is, regardless of the particulars, he always leads the hearer to the same conclusion: Hell need not be feared — either because it doesn’t exist, or because no one probably goes there, or because it’s not eternal, or because it’s not that bad, etc.

And yet, when we consider the testimony of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, of the saints and approved spiritual authors, and of the traditional Catholic magisterial pronouncements, it is clear that only a fool would think hell might be empty and not fear going there. How spiritually obtuse must one be not to be afraid of eternal punishment? Even a man as graced by God and as holy as St. Paul the Apostle, testified under divine inspiration: “For I am not conscious to myself of any thing, yet am I not hereby justified; but he that judgeth me, is the Lord” (1 Cor 4:4); “But I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway” (1 Cor 9:27).

That hell is not empty — and any ‘hope’ to the contrary therefore a blasphemy — is easily proved from Divine Revelation:

And I say to you that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven: But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

(Matthew 8:11-12)

And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty. And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats. And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee? Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee? And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me. Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me. Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee? Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me. And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting.

(Matthew 25:31-46)

And he went through the cities and towns teaching, and making his journey to Jerusalem. And a certain man said to him: Lord, are they few that are saved? But he said to them: Strive to enter by the narrow gate; for many, I say to you, shall seek to enter, and shall not be able. But when the master of the house shall be gone in, and shall shut the door, you shall begin to stand without, and knock at the door, saying: Lord, open to us. And he answering, shall say to you: I know you not, whence you are. Then you shall begin to say: We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. And he shall say to you: I know you not, whence you are: depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you shall see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.

(Luke 13:22-28)

And they came upon the breadth of the earth, and encompassed the camp of the saints, and the beloved city. And there came down fire from God out of heaven, and devoured them; and the devil, who seduced them, was cast into the pool of fire and brimstone, where both the beast and the false prophet shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. And I saw a great white throne, and one sitting upon it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away, and there was no place found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing in the presence of the throne, and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged by those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and hell gave up their dead that were in them; and they were judged every one according to their works. And hell and death were cast into the pool of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life, was cast into the pool of fire.

(Apocalypse 20:8-15)

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, they shall have their portion in the pool burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. Blessed are they that wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb: that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city. Without are dogs, and sorcerers, and unchaste, and murderers, and servers of idols, and every one that loveth and maketh a lie.

(Apocalypse 21:8,14-15)

The testimony of Sacred Scripture, then, is very clear. To ‘hope’ that hell is empty is to ‘hope’ that Scripture is in error, that God lied, or that God is mistaken, all of which would be blasphemies to affirm, not to mention heresies.

At other times, Francis likes to preach that we ought to let ourselves be ‘nourished with the Word of God’, but when push comes to shove, it turns out that he teaches plenty of things plainly contradicted by Scripture and Tradition, revealing that he actually repudiates Divine Revelation. It is true that he frequently quotes the Bible, but only insofar as the biblical testimony is helpful to a particular thesis he wishes to advance. Where Scripture refutes him, he simply ignores it, thus proving that his fondness for Holy Writ is rather selective — a very typical hallmark of heretics. Indeed, the word “heresy” comes from the Greek haireomai, which means “to choose”, as in picking and choosing what one will believe.

The Catholic Position Vindicated

It is clear that God does not desire our eternal demise but our eternal happiness in Heaven: “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4). However, Christ suffered His most cruel Passion because sin is real, hell is real, and He does not want us to choose the option option of everlasting punishment. Nonetheless, an option it remains.

So then, how do we reconcile eternal punishment in hell with the equally dogmatic truth that God is all-good and all-merciful? Obviously, this challenge is not new in Church history — it has been answered for centuries. To keep this simple, we will quote the responses given by the famous 20th-century radio priest duo, Fathers Leslie Rumble and Charles Carty:

922. What evidence have you that such a hell exists?

The very best. The God who made us tells us that He also has made a hell. There is a hell in which both the bodies and the souls of the lost will be afflicted. Thus the gentle Christ Himself warns us, “It is expedient for thee that one of thy members should perish rather than that thy whole body go into hell.” Mk. IX., 29. Remember that all shall rise some day, the good and bad alike, the body sharing in the fate of the soul. “All that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God. And they that have done good things shall come forth unto the resurrection of life; but they that have done evil unto the resurrection of judgment.” Jn. V., 28. Those who are lost will go to everlasting fire. Christ calls it “unquenchable fire.” Mk. IX., 44. He tells us of the grim sentence, “Depart from me you cursed into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels.” Matt. XXV., 41. Such a solemn utterance of the judicial sentence demands the literal sense. Judges do not speak in metaphors at such moments, “Let him be hanged—but of course only metaphorically!” And it will be conscious suffering. Our Lord says, “Their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished.” Mk. IX., 43. And again, “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matt. XIII., 49. Continued conscious suffering is the fate of the lost. And reason demands such a fate. When a man sins gravely, he chooses between God and a thing forbidden by God. He cannot have both, and he prefers to renounce God rather than the created good. If he dies without repentance his will is still alienated from God. He would do the same thing again if he got the chance. And as long as these dispositions last, he must do without God, and happiness. These dispositions lasting forever once this probationary life is over, so will the penalty.

943. However bad people may be, I think it is against right ideas of God to speak of His punishing anyone forever.

Then what are you going to do with Satan? He is a creature of God even as we. Is he going to reform? Will he ever come out of the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels? No. And granting the fact that God is punishing one of his creatures like that, responsible human souls can certainly meet with the same fate. I do not like the thought of anyone suffering in hell any more than you do. But that will not make me deny the existence of hell. Hundreds of things we do not like are facts.

944. How can you reconcile hell with God’s love, justice, and mercy?

If I could not, that would but prove something wrong with my own ideas on the subject. For it is certain that God is loving, just, and merciful; and He has revealed that there is a hell. So the ideas cannot be repugnant. However God’s love, justice, and mercy demand that there be a hell. His love demands a hell, for the more He loves goodness, the more He must hate sin. To the man who says that God loves too much to send a man to hell, I simply reply that He sends no man there; men go there. And God has loved too much not to let them go there if they scorn, reject, and throw God’s love back in His face. Again, His justice demands that if a man dies rejecting an infinite goodness he should endure a penalty of a never-ending nature. If there were no eternal punishment, a man could cry to God, “You say ‘Thou shalt not.’ I say ‘I shall.’ Do your worst. You cannot punish me forever. What care I for your commandments or for yourself! You must either make me happy in the end, or annihilate me, when I shall have escaped your power.” It is impossible for the drama of iniquity to end like that. That would not be justice. And as for God’s mercy, already it is a mercy that man has the thought of hell as an emergency brake to stop his headlong rush into vice. The truth that there is a hell has mercifully saved many a soul from a life of blasphemy and sin, and still more often from death in a state of sin. And remember that God’s mercy is offered to every man over and over again during life. Mercy is asked for, not forced upon people. Some men who are loudest in their protests against God’s injustice would be the first to complain if God forced anything upon them, even His mercy. But men cannot have God’s mercy and reject it at one and the same time.

945. But Christ who came as the revelation of God, was so kind and gentle!

That intensifies the force of the arguments for hell. Only a grim reality could have forced Him to speak as He did. He taught heaven and hell equally. You cannot have heaven because you like it and reject a hell taught with the same authority because you do not like it. Think of His passion and death. If there were no hell to save us from; if we all had to go to heaven whether He were crucified or not; then His sufferings and death were foolish. Men wish to abolish hell. There is but one way to do so. Let each man abolish his own hell by repenting of his sins and endeavoring to serve God.

946. You make Christ cruel.

I do not. Due punishment for not doing as Christ commands is justice, not cruelty. Parents know that it is not cruelty to inflict reasonable and deserved punishment upon children who are rebellious. And God has more right to your obedience than any parents to the obedience of their children. It is a blameworthy weakness in parents if they allow their children to do just as they please with no fear of the consequences. And God is not so foolish as to give serious laws to His rational creatures on the understanding that nothing will happen if they break them. But there is no need to endure the extreme penalty. Keep the laws and you will be safe.

(Rev. Leslie Rumble and Rev. Charles M. Carty, Radio Replies: First Volume [St. Paul, MN: Radio Replies Press, 1938], n. 922,943-946; available online here. A handy booklet just on the topic of hell was released as Hell Quizzes, providing the relevant passages from Radio Replies.)

‘Pope’ Francis could have answered Fabio Fazio’s conundrum so easily and quite effectively, and yet he chose the blasphemous and heretical cop-out of an empty hell. Thus he scandalized untold souls, who are now convinced that the Catholic Church has no answer and must hide behind, “Well, let’s hope no one actually goes there.”

In 2021, Bp. Donald Sanborn gave a magnificent sermon explaining the Catholic doctrine on hell. We encourage every reader to take a listen:

One such truly Catholic sermon on hell will do more good for souls than endless Novus Ordo blather about closeness, accompaniment, and tenderness.

For more discussion of this topic, the following article will be helpful:

Someone who truly loves God and neighbor will try to rescue as many souls as possible from eternal damnation.

That Jorge Bergoglio does everything in his power to trivialize hell and the threat of eternal damnation, shows who his real master is. It is certainly not the God who “so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting” (Jn 3:16). Rather, it is the one who “is a liar, and the father thereof” (Jn 8:44), the serpent who “said to the woman: No, you shall not die the death” (Gen 3:4).

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