Cardinal Raymond Burke said the recent scandal over Pope Francis’ alleged denial of Hell during an interview caused the church scandal that was “beyond tolerable.”
Burke railed against what he saw as the Vatican’s weak response to Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari’s claim that Francis said in an interview that Hell did not exist and that the souls of those who perish outside of Christ’s grace simply cease to exist, according to Catholic Herald. The Vatican’s failure to absolutely refute that Francis would say or believe such a thing, and certain Catholic leaders’ proclamations that this was a sign of a new church, were absolutely unacceptable and scandalized the Catholic faithful around the world, according to Burke.
“What happened with the latest interview given to Eugenio Scalfari during Holy Week and made public on Holy Thursday was beyond tolerable,” Burketold La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana. “That a famous atheist claims to announce a revolution in the teaching of the Catholic Church, believing to speak in the name of the Pope, denying the immortality of the human soul and the existence of hell, has been a source of profound scandal not only for many Catholics but also for many lay people who respect the Catholic Church and its teachings, even if they do not share them.”
Burke called Scalfari’s claim insulting, not only because Scalfari is an atheist who cannot speak on behalf of the church but also because he made the claim on Holy Thursday. Burke did not reserve his ire only for Scalfari, but blasted the Vatican as well for only saying that Scalfari’s alleged quote from Francis was inaccurate.
“Instead of clearly re-stating the truth about the immortality of the human soul and hell, the denial only said that some of the words quoted are not of the Pope,” Burke said, according to Catholic Herald. “It did not say that the erroneous, even heretical ideas expressed by these words are not shared by Pope and that the Pope repudiates such ideas as contrary to the Catholic faith. This playing with faith and doctrine, at the highest level of the Church, rightfully leaves priests and faithful scandalized.”
Burke also lambasted other cardinals and bishops who did not speak out against Scalfari’s claims. Worse, according to Burke, were those who “spread fantasies” of a “new paradigm” for the church based on the claim from an atheist that the Francis embraced the heresy of the Annihilation of Souls.