Pope Francis in hell

“There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls,” Pope Francis reportedly said.


An Italian journalist set the media world ablaze last week when he reported that Pope Francis personally told him that “hell does not exist” during a private meeting.

Scrambling, the Vatican press office quickly refuted reports that the pope denies one of the main tenets of the Catholic faith – eternal damnation. They insist the published transcript was not “a faithful transcription of the Holy Father’s words.” However, they did confirm that Pope Francis met with journalist Eugenio Scalfari – an avowed atheist who has a close personal relationship with the pontiff.

Despite the Vatican’s effort to set the record straight, this eye-raising report has succeeded in sowing confusion and turmoil throughout the Catholic world.

What Did the Transcript Say, Exactly?

Scalfari’s transcript quoted Pope Francis as saying that the souls of repentant sinners obtain the forgiveness of God, but that bad souls are not punished. “Those who do not repent and cannot therefore be forgiven disappear. There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls,” Francis reportedly said.

This statement directly contradicts traditional Catholic teachings regarding the afterlife. Followers well-versed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church wonder what the pope would think of the following passage:

“Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, ‘eternal fire.’ The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs” (1035).

Pope Francis giving a sermon

Pope Francis has often irked conservative factions with his progressive views.

Critics Lash Out

Some prominent Catholic voices – many of whom already disapprove of the progressive-minded pope – immediately jumped on the reports, raising serious concerns about Francis’ ability to lead the church.

Most notable among these voices was Pat Buchanan, who penned an editorial accusing the pontiff of “contradicting 2,000 years of Catholic doctrine” and went as far as to say that if the reports were true, “questions would arise as to whether Francis is a true pope.”

“What did Christ die on the cross to save us from?” Buchanan wrote. “If Francis made such a statement, it would be rank heresy.”

Pope’s Defenders Respond

Not everyone was thrilled to see the pontiff’s name raked through the mud. The National Catholic Reporter insisted that “something doesn’t smell right” about the transcript and claims the pope “clearly believes in hell.”

Eager to defend the Holy Father from what he considered a gross mischaracterization of well-publicized beliefs, the Catholic publication Crux pointed out that Francis “actually talks about Hell more frequently that any pope in recent memory, and he has never left any doubt that he regards it as a real possibility for one’s eternal destiny.”

Hell concept art

The concept of hell exists across numerous religious teachings.

So, Is Hell a Real Place?

Talk about an impossible question. Most people probably have a concept of hell in their minds, but how could one know for sure that it’s real unless they’ve been a visitor? Plus, different religions have vastly different interpretations of hell – who’s to say which one is correct?

The Catholic church teaches that hell is a terrible place filled with fire and brimstone where bad souls are forever condemned as punishment for their sins. Other Christian denominations offer a slightly softer version, but the concept of finality remains consistent.

Jewish hell is interpreted as fairly unpleasant, but your stay there is usually temporary. After a period of atonement in purgatory, souls may ascend to the Garden of Eden.

Islamic hell is described as a universally tortuous and evil resting place, while Hindu hell appears far more specialized, with various levels of punishment depending on the crime.

Buddhist hell (if you can even call it that) is by far the most forgiving: the soul exists in an intermediate state known as Bardo for 49 days, at which point it’s either straight to Nirvana or a second chance at life.

Final Thoughts

Almost universally, the major religions teach that hell is a nasty place which can be avoided by acting virtuously while on Earth. While people of faith draw motivation from this idea, cynics characterize such teachings as useful tools for controlling people – an intimidating scare tactic meant to keep followers in line. “Act how we tell you to, or you’ll suffer for eternity!”

There’s no way to know exactly what Pope Francis believes, but if he indeed doubts the existence of hell, that would be a historic break from Catholic tradition. It would also undermine centuries of religious teachings regarding human behavior and the consequences which may stem from it.

What do you think? Is hell an eventuality worth fearing, or merely the product of human imagination – meant to scare unwitting followers into doing good?

 

111 comments

  1. Barry says:

    Scare tactics.Scare you into being a
    ” Good ” person.

    1. James says:

      Some dictators definition of “good”.

    2. Carl Elfstrom says:

      Define good, preferably without biblical connotations. Acting one way, but being different at the core of your being won’t work off any karmic debt.

      1. Tom says:

        Carl…that is true…your should believe in your whole being in loving kindness and forgiveness…Peace…Tom

    3. Evan Brink says:

      Precisely! A once good Boogie Man story to scare the “Sheep” into staying with the flock. Be good or Burn.

      1. Sofia A Smith says:

        Matthew 25:46 talk about punishment, I believe Jesus,i believe he would not lie,what he says goes.my always say better be safe than sorry

    4. Sue wang says:

      I heard he is calling for a one world religion

      1. Loretta Oscislawski says:

        This is inevitable.
        There is already a all believing church. All religions welcome .

    5. Sofia A Smith says:

      I know it scarey to think about hell but I rather be scared and go to heaven then feel secure and go to hell

      1. David Griffith says:

        But, all the fun people are in hell.

        1. Tom says:

          David…are you following Billy Joel?…Peace…Tom

    6. Paul DaBill says:

      Etc. 9.5
      Fit the living know they will die. The dead know nothing at all.
      Hmm read the BIBLE. ALL YOUR ANSWERS ARE IN THERE.

    7. Dana Hoffman says:

      I appreciate your comment Barry but still stand firm in my opinion that no one has to be scared into being a good person. Its like you are not born knowing how to lie thats something that is learned, and scaring a person into doing something just isnt right in my opinion. It doesnt have to be like that, and God is not fear he is love and so I would never want to use scare tactics in making/forcing someone to do something that they might not otherwise do if they were not scared. Love and respect needs to be used in place of scare tactics. I respect all religions whether I agree with them or not, religion is something very personal and I would like to be seen as a person that does good and shows love and gives hope because thats whats expected of me from my religion, is to love thy neighbor not scare the hell out of my neighbor….lol

      1. Tom says:

        Dana…agreed…Peace…Tom

        1. Dana Hoffman says:

          Tom – Peace and many Blessings to you brother.

          1. Tom says:

            Dana…thank you…your cat looks like one of my cats…there is a good reason why it is so healthy to relate to pets and other animals…Peace…Tom

    8. pablo Fumero says:

      Sorry to tell but the Pope is right. Hell does not really exist and neither does the Devil. We make our own hell when we die but it is not permanent. That is one of the church inventions to scare people into going to church and controlling caca.

  2. Alan says:

    The term “hell” is derived from an original term meaning “underworld” which, at the time, everyone believed is where we ALL went once dead. Someone decided to change the meaning for their own purposes (controlling the masses most probably).

    1. Carl Elfstrom says:

      According to Greek mythology Cerberus ( the three headed dog ) guards the entrance of Hades, the underworld,preventing the spirits of whom which are there from leaving. Later, in western mythology ( such as christian ) Cerberus became known as the hound of Hell. Those early Christians were so unimaginative they had to steal everything from Paganism.

      1. Les says:

        True. The word Hell itself was stolen from the Norse Hel.

    2. Sue wang says:

      What we everyone do when the pope call for everyone to be Catholic? Have any one thought about that have any heard that he asking for a one world religion? So tell me what’s going to hapoen when people refuse ? People are you reading and watching? What will happen? Will it be to late for any one to do anything because it will be in force upon us ?

    3. Sue wang says:

      I belive that when we die our soul are going some place good or bad I belive when you die you have to stand in front of our creator but that’s what I belive years ago my spirity left my body and when my spirity left my body i had to bow to yeshua he ask me did i let any one know about him did i tell any one about him i told him no i didnt know much i beg and i told him please send my spirit back to my body you know my heart if you send my spirty back i will let people know there is God there is yeshua which is jesus yeshua mean jesus i was sent back so I belive when you die uou have to give account for all things but that’s my experience.

      1. Sue wang says:

        There things that the Catholic Church change like for one the day to observe is the sabath on a Saturday but it was change to a Sunday which years ago they started it . Egyythian mithraism introduce it as a festival of the sun worship was the official worship of the Roman Empire Roman constantine name his self bishop of the Catholic Church . So read about it what day are we supose to observe is it Sunday no Saturday
        So research for yourself and you will see.

      2. Catherine Ohrin-Greipp MSW, LCSW says:

        NDE research has provided with us with a lot of information regarding the relationship between what one experiences and their belief system. Those who are biblically- based people usually report the type of NDE experience you had. It does not mean these are facts, but only personal experiences based on YOUR religious frame of reference/views. They are a type of hallucination and can be profoundly life altering or absolutely terrifying experiences. So your experience and what you “saw” and “felt” are based on your religion. You might want to educate yourself about Near Death Experience research. There is a national as well as international conference which is held annually.

        1. Tom says:

          Catherine…respectfully, NDE “experiences” are just another facet of the illusions we call our lives…Peace…Tom

  3. James says:

    Heaven ? Hell? Not as described by the general populous. No one is gonna get 40 virgins when they die. No one is gonna burn in some inferno when they die. No one is gonna get a lounge chair in some gated community (pearly gates) when they die… Humans are on / in hell & heaven as we type & read. This is it. How, where, when the various forms of our beings energy disperse & go their various ways (or not) is something few (if any) humans truly know at this point of our backwards form of advancement in evolution. We may chelate our physical being w/ the latest radioactive technology or contaminated foods. But, as a spiritual being? We, as a species, is all over the board when it comes to understanding the metaphysical world(s).

    1. Carl Elfstrom says:

      Read the Kybalian by Three Initiates on hermetic philosophy. They knew more about metaphysics and the order of the universe thousands of years ago than science can profess today.

    2. Keith Eash says:

      You are making a statement totally atheistic but then they do allow Satanists in th e ULC to since they have the Pentagram displayed with all of the pagan symbols.that are not Judeo-Christian related. Your belief provides no positive hope but a useless worthless negativism: why am I even here I just as well kill myself. I would’nt want to be a member of your downcadt faith. Even thebmafe up Jedi religion has hope.

      1. Brother Bobby says:

        All religions are made up. All beliefs are welcome here. Please try to be more respectful of others’ beliefs even when they appear to contradict your own.

        1. Evan Brink says:

          Amen! Brother Bobby!

          1. Tom says:

            Agreed…Peace…Tom

      2. Dr Dag says:

        Open your mind to the possibility of learning and accepting others that are different than you instead of closing it and stating anyone different than you is wrong.

    3. wayne k. says:

      You will get 72 Virgins, or Grapes, depending how you read the original wording of the Koran. I suspect the ‘Grapes’ version is correct. My Idea of Hell would be 71 woman nagging me that it was their turn an not that fat bitch with the greasy blonde hair.

  4. Mike says:

    I believe Hell, is real. However, the location and or the workings of the Hell is the mystery.

    1. JOHN MAHER says:

      I BELIEVE that @ this MOMENT HELL or the UNDERWORLD is the W H and that is NOT a MYSTERY or FAKE NEWS, DUMP DOTAR ORANGUtRUMP, NOW !!!

      1. Val Jester says:

        John are you capable of having a cogent articulate conversation?

        1. Jim says:

          No Val he is not, just look at his posts. Like I said in previous posts if you pray, Pray for him for if there were ever a person in need of prayer its John Maher.

          1. Reverand Steve says:

            Amen, Jim and Val

      2. Catherine Ohrin-Greipp MSW, LCSW says:

        Thank you John for your passionate comment.

      3. Carl Elfstrom says:

        I can see how the entrance to Hades could be in Orangutrump’s office. Good investigative work John Maher.

      4. Evan Brink says:

        If this is the same John Maher that I’m thinking about, then He lost His mind after Hillary lost. He was a washed up musician. (But, This is only if this is the same John Maher.) Sorry if this isn’t the singer.

    2. Sue wang says:

      So true you could not say that any better

    3. Sue wang says:

      So true

  5. Jim says:

    John you would not know real news if it came up and kissed you in the face. You are such a bigot.

    1. JOHN MAHER says:

      JIMBO the BIMBO that MUST BE YOUR LAST NAME BIGNOT bigot, I may NOT KNOW REAL NEWs BUTT I DO KNOW the FAKE MINDs of VILLAGE IDIOTs like U and the DOTAR ORANGUtRUMP SHYTEHOUSE

    2. T'Keren Valmaz says:

      LOL bigot coming from a closed minded woman hating bible thumper like you Jim. JM may choose to type in a wild and confrontational manner but he at least doesnt see women as objects to be used and thrown away.

      1. Jim says:

        Ahh T Keren. I’m sorry I upset your wagon. I put you in the same category as Johnboy. Your mental capacity is to low for you to understand and actually be able to hold a conversation with normal folks. It does not matter what side of an issue you are on you should at least respect the others opinions. You two seem to want to belittle everyone who in any way disagrees with your point of view. That is the definition of a bigot. You as well as John can only feel good about yourselves when you are putting others down. Much like the school yard bully. So spout your hate and call your names I will pray for both of ya and I’m sure that the rest of the folks on these blogs will just ignore you which is what I’m going to do. You cant fix stupid, and you guys are seriously broke.

  6. Lyle Stevens says:

    We’re all living in hell right now ….. seriously the innocent dying in mass never ending war … HELL ! Hell was created by men whom cold not control the masses … fear mongering to quell the masses angry over stripping of any wealth held by the poor . Same goes for Sports …Sports was created for the masses to have a outlet so they did not turn on the church . 🤔

    1. T'Keren Valmaz says:

      While it is sadly true our world is thick with chaos and violence, we must let it serve as motivation to strive to make this world better. To use it as an example of what not to let happen in the future. If that suggests to you ending archaic institutions based on ancient traditions steeped in superstition then I encourage you to rally people around you to join you in decrying those that surrender reason to self delusion.

  7. Wesley W Brown says:

    If you dont belive in hell and if you dont belive in heaven dont but when you die you are going too one place pick your choice

    1. T'Keren Valmaz says:

      Nope sorry for you sure if that is what you construct for yourself as an afterlife whatever. For those actually seeking enlightenment the journey never ends. Life after Life in this ever expanding infinite universe.

      1. Tom says:

        T’Keren…i agree with you about life after life, as that is how we proceed to balance our karma, and eventually become at peace/love…but the incarnations do end at that point…as several writers have said, hell is a concept to control people…God is perfect love/peace; never angry, and certainly not vindictive…Peace…Tom

  8. John Owens says:

    The Hell in which most superstitious believers teach, where the “immortal” souls of “unsaved” humans are burning in torment forever and ever does not exist. That idea comes straight out of ancient heathen mythology, and the modern concept of it is based not on scripture but on Dante’s Divine Comedy. The idea that people try to read it INTO the scripture is hilarious and pathetic.

    Yes, the word appears in the King James translation of the scriptures, as I am sure some version of it does in the Latin Vulgate, but it has been translated that way from several other Greek and Hebrew words, each having a distinct meaning and connotation, NONE of which compares to the cartoon version of Hell that most superstitious believers teach.

    I have never cared for the priesthood in general and the Pope or the concept of a Pope, and I cannot stand this particular New Age Pope but without reading a transcript of everything he said at this interview, I have to agree with what he said about this one subject.

    There WILL be a fire, but it will consume its fuel. No human will burn forever and ever. That’s ridiculous.

    1. T'Keren Valmaz says:

      Heathen….lol oh Owens your prejudice is showing up clearly again. News flash your opinion matters nothing next to the pope. In fact treating him like less then the voice of christians the world over puts you in the same false christian factions like those that bought into the madness of Joseph Smith.

      The fact is that based on the line jesus said “That which you decree on Earth shall hold true in Heaven” means that anything the vatican mandates has the power to define what the afterlife will be like for christians.

      If you dont want to follow Vatican authority then renounce the faith entirely rather then try to act your own cult perversion of it.

      1. SigCorps Chris says:

        Wow your just a hateful, spite filled person. For a person who claims to follow a religion bases on tolerance you are not very. We all come here to worship as we each believe, is that not the point of this gathering.

        While we cannot be certain what is actually the truth, we each must be true to ourselves. This very concept that the of no Hell and that bad souls just fade away is a belief of the JWs. While I am not part of their church, their argument for this belief is sound. As for my own beliefs, I try to live my life, not because I am scared of ending up in “hell”, but as a tolerant, respectful individual who lives as Jesus describes in the new testament. Love God, love your fellow humans and love yourself. Do all that and hell never even comes unto play.

  9. Val Jester says:

    I am certain we do not possess a full understanding of the reality of heaven or hell. Understanding or not, it is clear that heaven would be much preferable to hell. I struggle with the concept of a loving God that would consign one of his creations to everlasting punishment like burning be he/she refused to believe in or follow Christ. The decision to availe ones self of the security of eternal security by becoming a Christ follower is so simple that the consequences of rejection of Christ should have consequences. I believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God. Because of this, I have to believe that there will be eternal consequences of our decisions. The Bible says EVERY knee will bow and EVERY tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. The “Every” in that verse includes those who during their life times refused to confess Jesus. The idea is at some point each one of us will be confronted with the reality of eternity and the insurmountable evidence that gives no credence to our feelings our how we want to believe. Hell might be as simple as unfettered emotions that leads to a devistating and unrelenting realization that heaven is a great as the Bible teaches; and is gone forever. We will find out.

    1. T'Keren Valmaz says:

      Except Jesus wasnt then nor ever will be the Messiah. Any rabbinical scholar can explain why in depth. Thus your entire concept of Faith is based on what amounts to a cult perverting their prophecy.

      As always you attempt to push your view onto everyone on a site meant to accept everyones varied views. There is no heaven nor hell for those that believe in reincarnation for example, something you really need to learn to accept as valid to ever be taken seriously by this forum community.

      1. Val Jester says:

        And your first paragraph isn’t pushing your views? Don’t be so shallow. You don’t like my views? Move on.

        1. Carl Elfstrom says:

          I’d just like to know what percentage of Christians believe in other fairy tales too, like Mother Goose for instance.

  10. Val Jester says:

    You are also assuming that you “taking me seriously” is a prerequisite to my happiness and/or well being. I assure you it is not.

    1. Jim says:

      I think your initial post was very insightful. I’m not sure I would say that I agree with all of it but it did make me think which is what I think this forum is for. There are a few folks who just cannot stand anyone else opinions but there own and then tries to slam them for speaking what they feel. You handled it very well Val I look forward to your other posts.

  11. Sally T says:

    A young woman asks her mother “My boyfriend does not believe in Hell, should I marry him?”. Mom “Sure, between the two of us, we can convince him.”.

    1. Jim says:

      Love it. As I told my son in laws if you want to be happy when your wrong admit it and when your right shut up.

  12. Catherine Ohrin-Greipp, MSW, LCSW says:

    It always amazed me how Roman Catholicism turned something sacred to indigenous peoples around the world into something to be feared. Fire provides light, heat, a way to cook and we still consider fire to be a sacred manifestation and gift from Creator. I went to Catholic School from 4th to 12th grades. Awful experiences, especially when the 4th grade nun told the class that anyone who was not Catholic would burn in hell forever. In my 9 year old child mind, I could only envision my mother, who was raised Episcopalian, suffering as flames were burning her in hell… a terrifying sight in my mind’s eye. When I told her that night why I was crying, I saw an intense anger in her and her promise to “march me into talk with those nuns tomorrow morning” She told the nun, the Mother Superior and Monsignor off in such a way, they looked terrified and she told them they better not punish me in any way or there would be trouble. I am so grateful to her. This pope has valuable insights or maybe he is becoming enlightened.

    1. Catherine Ohrin-Greipp MSW, LCSW says:

      Why is my 1st comment awaiting moderation, yet my next one is not??? Weird

      1. Carl Elfstrom says:

        You’ll last longer on this blog by not concerning yourself with why ULC moderates some comments, and deletes others. As much as I write, and as controversial as I often am… It’s best to just take it in stride and don’t let it affect you.

        1. Catherine Ohrin-Greipp MSW, LCSW says:

          Thanks Carl, still learning how this blog works and perhaps what gudelines have already been presented.! Have a beautiful day.

  13. Catherine Ohrin-Greipp MSW, LCSW says:

    Oh and by the way, I have recovered from the intense abuses from my Catholic school traumas.

    1. Carl Elfstrom says:

      I went to two catholic school s between kindergarten and fifth grade, and thank God I was able to get expelled from both of them. They even told me they would never let me go to another one, even if I wanted to become a priest, which made me laugh quite heartily while staring into their evil eyes. I too could have suffered trauma, but I was too often getting drunk on communion wine when serving as an altarboy. That just gave me a peaceful, easy, feeling while I carried out my sacrilegious duties. About the only thing left to say on that subject is ” Pleased to meet you. Won’t you guess my name .” And, “Carry on my wayward son. There will be peace when you are done. Lay your weary head to rest, and don’t you cry no more. Don’t you cry no more, for all we are is dust in the wind.”

      1. Catherine Ohrin-Greipp MSW, LCSW says:

        Funny, but very real! Yes,and I was being programmed to become a nun as I had two aunts who were nuns, one was nice and the other was mean. I could not see myself in a habit carrying out the evil abuses I witnessed and experienced first hand in school. Unfortunately my mother signed some document when she married my father that all children born of their union must be raised Roman Catholic. I begged to be let out and transfer to the nearby public school. I did not have the guts to get myself expelled. I guess girls were different then. Good for you Carl!

  14. Carl Elfstrom says:

    Some peoples hell is others heaven. In the part of heaven I’m going to A/C D/C will be playing live throughout eternity. And you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. Cerberus will see to that.

    1. Carl Elfstrom says:

      I’ve been bucking Christianity and Roman Catholicism since the day I was made, and am not about to stop now. Through this blog I’m having the time of my life voicing my irreverency. I have quite a way with words, and will defeat all christian challengers. I’ll make them cry and beg for mercy. Please, try me. I’m here to serve, and consider it a challenge before the whole human race, for we are the champions of the world. Keep the faith.

      1. Tom says:

        Carl…respectfully, why not try simply being a loving person, as opposed to challenging Christianity, which is simply a man-made “religion”…you seem to be a creative person, and will do well as a loving one…Peace…Tom

    2. Tom says:

      Carl…..it sounds like “Hotel California”…Peace…tom

      1. Carl Elfstrom says:

        Tom, do you remember the way St. Judas used to sodomize Jesus, and Jesus would squeal like a pig and beg for more? Just between us, is that what you’re trying to say you want me to do to you, by talking about that lovie dovie crap? It sounds really queer, in a feminine way, for a man to talk to another man about love. Or were you saying it as a minister, like a priest to an altar boy?

        1. Carl Elfstrom says:

          Furthermore, I’m not challenging Christianity, but am villainizing it, putting it down, and am trying to destroy it.

          1. Carl Elfstrom says:

            I bet I can at least succeed in running off every prolific christian from this blog, so then we can get down to real spiritual matters. Christianity is about as anti-spiritual as it gets. I bet you didn’t know that Jesus’ last words were ” St. Judas, I love you daddy. I’ll sit in your lap on the throne next to the Father in Heaven, and you can hump me throughout eternity!”

          2. Carl Elfstrom says:

            Tom, keep it up, it only gets better. And as I’ve said before, ” Pleased to meet you. Won’t you guess my name ?”

          3. Tom says:

            Carl…while i agree it is fun to see that there is a song or movie to cover virtually every life event, it remains that really being spiritual is simply being loving and forgiving, as opposed to critical and judgmental…Peace…Tom

        2. Tom says:

          Carl…respectfully, it would help you if you saw all humans as people, instead of men, women, gays, races, ethnicities, religions, etc…the top “problem” with the world is the refusal to see that love and forgiveness are above every other activity, and ego-based actions do not add to our growth; they usually add more karmic baggage…based on what i have read that you have written, it seems to me you are close to being able to consider the foregoing…Peace…Tom

  15. Carl Elfstrom says:

    I think the pope is getting senile, and might have Alzheimer’s disease. Of course, that’s nothing new. They never get elected to that position before they’re old men, and usually toothless ( which at least makes them very good pedophile **** suckers). I wonder if the number of altar boys they’ve gone down on has anything to do with their level of senility. Maybe the ones who swallow more… It could be, like Jesus Ice cream, like manna from heaven for them. Of course, the last pope wasn’t a swallower, and he’s going down on Billy Graham right now in hell right now, and they’re doing it in the name of Jesus but even that won’t save them from burning in the fictitious hell they condemned others to.

    1. Catherine Ohrin-Greipp MSW, LCSW says:

      Remember Pope John the 23rd? He promised to “clean house”and was subsequently murdered.

      1. Carl Elfstrom says:

        I can’t remember that one Catherine, but thanks for mentioning it. It sounds like a funny story that I would enjoy reading. I’ll have to Google it.

        1. Dark Gray says:

          I think Catherine means John Paul I, not John XXIII

          1. Catherine Ohrin-Greipp, MSW, LCSW says:

            No, I meant Pope John XXIII, he was responsible for many changes in his church: the Catholic Church:
            John XXIII opened the Church’s windows and doors and the mass was no longer only in Latin; the church began to accept that the laity had active roles to play and contributions to make, although clericalism did not, by any means, disappear;
            the Mass was celebrated in the language of the people, with various changes that encouraged greater participation by the people;
            Catholic teaching on social justice was reaffirmed and many religious orders turned away from teaching only in elite schools and universities, and the ground was set for the emergence of liberation theology;
            a veritable explosion of theological experiments occurred, many of them from scholars whose writing had been suppressed before the councils;
            morality was reconsidered, with the insights of modern social sciences beginning to inform what ethical standards meant in practical terms;
            Ecumenism, understood as an openness to work with and eventually reunify all branches of Christianity, became the watchword in both word and deed — this was particularly seen in biblical scholarship;
            the council specifically reached out to the Jewish people, whom it affirmed were still Chosen and the elder faith brethren of all Christians;
            the Church accepted that, while Christianity represents the fullness of divine revelation, all other religions may represent human experiences of the divine, perhaps insufficiently developed.
            Understand, I am no fan of my former religion.

          2. Dark Gray says:

            @Catherine

            I see. Well FWIW, there are people who believe that JPI was assassinated because he threatened reforms that would expose some shaky banking schemes involving the Vatican bank. See http://apokalypso.com/Ch1_Fall-of-Papacy.htm

  16. Carl Elfstrom says:

    Come out, come out wherever you worthless Christians are. I’ve barely just begun to fight ! Its about time for me to take a break, so I can meditate, while I listen to the sweet, Holy music of St.Judas Priest’s angelic song entitled ” Screaming For Vengeance !”

  17. Randy says:

    If the Pope really believed in hell he wouldn’t have let all those kiddy-diddlers off so easy.

  18. Bro. James the Apostate, OSHSF says:

    A few thoughts immediately come to mind on the subject.

    First, growing up as the son of an IFB minister, I remember our cult had 8′ wall charts by a 19th century revivalist, Clarence Larkin called “The Underworld”. We studied it as if it was given by Christ, Himself. We were taught that Hell was a geographical place, under the grave. (http://clarencelarkincharts.com/Clarence_Larkin_10.html)

    Also, while I was in seminary (Sacred Heart Major Seminary/Archdiocese of Detroit) we were taught there was no such literal/physical/geographical place as “Hell”, but rather a miserable state of being and separation from the Good/God, which John Paul II addressed in 1999 (https://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/audiences/1999/documents/hf_jp-ii_aud_28071999.html).

    Last, since most Judaic sects don’t believe in “eternal life”, or a physical/geographical “Hell”, I would only deduce Jesus did not believe in the “eternal” place as well. I’ve walked through the Sheol referenced by Jesus, (cemeteries/funerary pyres outside the walls of Jerusalem) and know of the physical “place of the dead”, I tend to believe the proverbial place of eternal torment was capitalized on in the dark ages and Dante’s Inferno.

    It’s been an effective tool of guilt and terror to keep naughty children in line. Needless to say, I haven’t had any Rapture Anxiety attacks since I quit the Fundamentalist concept of Jesus and emancipated myself from the IFB cult.

  19. Donna G. Young says:

    I have found so many of the comments on this site to be heartbreaking. How can people who are ministers of their faith, whatever that faith may be, be so negative, disrespectful, and condemning of others’ beliefs. I do not have to have the same belief as you to respect you. Please ladies and gentlemen we can have wonderful debates, enlightening conversations, and learn more about each respective belief without being crude and disrespectful. How can you hope teach the beauty of your beliefs when you only spout condemnation and disrespect in the face of someone who believes differently? Sending up smoke and prayers for each of you.

    1. Tom says:

      Donna…I have agreed many times…there is no love in negativity and disrespect…Peace…Tom

  20. Maria Kranz says:

    I, too, survived 12 years of parochial schooling. I still to this day remember our first grade nun drawing on the blackboard two huge cliffs with a giant log between them. She said that we
    each would have to walk across that log and if we fell we would fall into hell below. I wondered
    for a long time when it would come my turn to have to walk across that log and was petrified
    about having to do it.
    I had many nuns and priest who were cruel. They cared for the rich girls and boys in school and since I was not I was left out of their little cliques. When I tried to join one, the nun bluntly told me I was not invited.
    During that whole 12 years I knew 3 good priests and one good nun. Two of the priests left
    the priesthood and married. One of the nuns taught me to love reading. It was unfortunate that I had them in high school for one class only.
    I, too, worried about my best friend who lived next door to us as she was was a Lutheran. I
    worried for her silently that she would not get to heaven.
    How sad it is to be raised in fear. Isn’t fear the opposite of love?
    I have not gone to church in thirty years and have absolutely no guilt about staying away.
    I’ve had too many experiences within school and church that didn’t even come close to love.
    I never ever felt it in either place.
    I do believe in a divine power and definitely do not believe any priest needs to be my go-between which I now find ridiculous. The kingdom of heaven is within each of us. We each
    have a divine spark within us. How sad we were taught our whole young lives that we were
    bad. That we had sin on our souls. No wonder our world is such a mess.

    1. Catherine Ohrin-Greipp MSW, LCSW says:

      Thanks for sharing your experiences. I do not feel any regret either about leaving the Roman Catholic Church or the nasty abusive nuns, corrupt priests and popes who protected pedophiles.And the issue on contraception was too much too- a bunch of women hating men in silk robes and designer shoes deciding what a woman should or should not do with her body. I spent a lot of my young adult years exploring other religions and found way too many more hypocrites and the same trash talk about their way being the ONLY way while begging for more and more money with threats of hell and damnation. They didn’t even really read their bibles, but would pick and chose what to point to as a justification for bigotry, misogyny, patriarchal nonsense, and divisiveness.

  21. Rhonda Mancilla says:

    Seperation from God is hell….

  22. Canadian Yankee says:

    I find it impossible to believe that a logical mind would create a God, or describe a vision of God that is so twisted at to have created Hell. If one believes in an all powerful God that is the creator of all things, including humans, then like any “all powerful” creator all that he creates is his responsibility Bad and good are human conceptions and not necessarily Gods definitions. If a drunk driver had ran over Hitler when he was a teen, all would have said the person doing the driving was a bad person but in the light of history 10 million plus would have been save by that act. In “my” definition of God he is one with a plan and we are created to fulfill that plan. As Shakespeare said, “We are all actors on a stage….” I can only determine, from what I have read from those who profess the existence of hell ,that the god they serve is one who controls by fear and that is not a god but rather a despot.

  23. Dana Hoffman says:

    Using Hell as a scare tactic is just as bad as trying to convince children that every Easter there is a rabbit that lays chocolate eggs and brings you goodies if you are good. These types are scare tactics are the same kind of tactics that our Gov uses to cause people to do what they want you to do. You dont need a book to teach you how to be good and to love they neighbor, Just like you dont need a book to teach you not to drink and drive. Love needs to replace these scare tactics, and it needs to start at a very early age. I think personally that the teaching others the reason why you would not want to be cast into hell vs living a pain free stress free life with our creator is a much better way of teaching rather than scare tactics. Scaring someone like that teaches them nothing but to be scared and to be scared of what? who knows because there is no one out there to share their story of ever going to hell with others and what its like to be there.

  24. Maria Kranz says:

    My Father once asked me if there was a hell, and I asked him if he would ever send any one
    of his five children to hell. So why would God send anyone as the Bible does say He forgives
    70 times 7. His love is so beyond what we can ever know.
    I believe in reincarnation so the forgiveness comes from allowing us to come back to learn
    our lessons. I believe this is what forgiving 70 times 7 means.

  25. Captain Obvious says:

    Translate Jesus Bible talk,
    he said if you live a self destructive pointless life without kindness, you’ll end up poor and dead with your body tossed into the local land fill garbage dump.

    So, instead of ending up as trash,
    live a life of productive healing kindness like the Good Samaritan.

    God IS Love
    Love LOVE with all your emotion, all your thoughts, all your actions.

    A life of loving kindness and productive gratitude and generosity will be a form of Heaven & happiness to you, among all you know, and Within YOU.

    ‘hell’ , the land fill trash dump, is just wasted harmful efforts.

    Do something Helpful NOW, Today !

    Because NOW is all you will ever gave in this world during this life experience.

  26. Timothy Wade says:

    I am not a Roman Catholic but I understand the meaning, I believe the Pope tried to convey to Mr. Scalfari. There are ,many meanings for the word hell in scripture and not all are concerned with fire. Even, the word which is concerned with a fiery punishment does not refer to an eternal punishment but the final end of unrepentant souls. It is sometimes referred to as a place of eternal fire and many Christians take this to mean eternal suffering in fire. Indeed, ours is a Sadistic God if this is true but it is not. Our God, as his son taught us, is all about forgiveness but he also gave us free will and by this decree he can not rescue those who choose to die. For those who choose separation from god, death is the only alternative since there is no place where God is not, there is only one alternative. I believe Eugenio Scalfari did not understand the Pope’s message and neither man is guilty of anything other than a misunderstanding of meaning. As for Pat Buchanan, he should ‘study to show himself approved.’ “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” Hell in this case can not refer to death since death is already mentioned, therefore hell and suffering come to an end forever.

  27. Karsten Johansson says:

    Did Catholics forget a couple of popes ago we learned that Hell was a “state of mind” and not an actual place.

  28. Karsten Johansson says:

    Ask yourself this: Can an omnipotent god create a place so evil that even he can’t be there? Either Hell is still a place where one can still repent, or it doesn’t exist.

    Revelations says that only 144,000 will go to Heaven (12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel), so maybe it’s about time Christians actually read and understand the concepts of Heaven and Hell before they continue preaching about them.

  29. Maria Kranz says:

    With thrill ions upon billions of souls that have lived for the thousands upon thousands of years on this earth……..it is ridiculous to think 144,000 get into “Heaven”. We may as well chalk it
    up right now if that’s the case. It’s so ridiculous to even think that.

  30. Revd Des says:

    I think the pope is very near the mark, there is no hell because we are living it here and now.
    If you manage to get through this without sin you may get to go to heaven if not, well we will all wonder about that one.

  31. John Helms says:

    I am by no means wise enough to second guess anyone’s beliefs and honestly don’t want to. I do believe that we are saved. I don’t think we can earn and don’t have to. We are saved by the grace of God. This is a simple way of looking and my spirituality and beliefs but that is the way I see it.

    Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—

    John 10:27-29
    27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

  32. Ricardo says:

    The question is who do you want to believe
    either
    Jesus is a lier
    or
    Pop Francis ( if indeed said that there is no Hell)
    either
    if Jesus is lied about Hell,then He lied about Heaven too & infact He lied about Himself,His kingdom & God in general…

    As for me i trust Him more than any religion leader,fake news reporter e.t.c…coz
    He is the way, the truth & the life.

    1. Dana Hoffman says:

      Yes respecting everyones views and beliefs is not a bad thing..Even if you dont agree, I mean hey look at this way most people believe there is a God and a Devil and if thats the case even they live on the same earth and get along. I will never knock another persons belief, especially if its one that causes them to be a good person, have compassion for their fellow man and love thy neighbor.

  33. stone sherrill says:

    this is odd. has pope francis talked on other occassions about hell? a person doesnt become pope unless theyve been dedicated to the faith all his life, seems doubtful a pope would refute a very basic concept.

  34. Mary Gundrum says:

    Personally I do not believe in hell. I do believe that it is some sort of a scare tactic. This is coming from a person who was raised in catholic. I am thankful that I have recovered from the guilt that the catholic church places on it’s members. There are some beautiful rituals that the catholic church has and I it is not all wrong. This whole story reminds me of Bishop Carlton Pearson.

  35. Bro. James the Apostate, OSHSF says:

    Organized religion merely is a political tool to capitalize on natural human struggles and spiritual concepts – Good versus Evil. At one time, it was the only way the nobility could keep the peasants pacified. So, the priestly class was created to serve the nobility. Only the nobility and priests could read.

    From Socrates and Plato to Gautama Buddha, ancients understood Peace/Nirvana/Heaven was an inside job, and we merely had to stop long enough and understand it and live in it. Religion destroyed any criticism or thinking challenging their authority. Even in Michelangelo’s Creation, “God” is a concept of the mind – as illustrated by the shape of the robes forming a human brain encompassing the Creator.

    When we meditate, there is but one voice we listen for, struggling between desires (wants) and awareness/consciousness. When we quiet ourselves enough and listen, we realize it’s the familiar sound of our own voice.

    I spent most of my life being told that on my own, I was ‘unworthy’ and my best could never be good enough, and any good I did was as ‘filthy rags’. I bought the pitch that “God” was always a fluffy, metaphysical being ‘out there’, struggling to get inside me.
    What I’ve come to realize is that The Good (“God”) was inside of me all the while, fighting like Hell to come out – in my thoughts/actions toward others.

    We have the choice … The consequences of a selfish and self-centered/self-serving mind is the Hell we create for ourselves – in which there is no Peace. Or, we can choose to become aware of the suffering around us, and then choose to sacrifice our will (everything we think) and our lives (everything we do) and bring comfort to others, to live in the Kingdom we choose to build in this world, here and now.

  36. Bob McCormick says:

    I believe that the kingdom of God is within each of us. And we experience it in proportion to our consciousness of it’s existence. Which would explain why some have nicer lives than others. This Power which most of us sense is greater than we are, and it uses us. But we are also able to use IT. “It would have to have pre/existed all things in order to have created that first atom that exploded and started the process of creation and evolution. ““this Power would have to be perfect, knowing no lack, and it would consist therefore of `pure `love. Therefore it would be incapable of creating a HELL where souls would suffer eternal suffering. `We create our own HELLS when we are unaware of this ONENESS of all things, having come from the same ~SOURCE. Hell is the absence of being aware of God. It’s all energy and something must continue after death.The reason we are here is to love and serve each other while making our way back to this SOURCE. That works for me.

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