Pope Francis is not a pontiff for the faint of heart. Some of his statements swept through the “Roman institution of blissful calm” like a raging hurricane, leaving some conservative clerics gasping for breath.
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Luther wasn’t even wrong
Pontiff Francis, who is not without controversy even within the Roman Catholic community, likes to lean out of the window from time to time to express his personal views on Catholic doctrine and its surroundings.
Around eight years ago, Francis made a statement that sent shockwaves, sheer horror and horror through the ranks of those carrying the shepherd’s stick in Rome. The Pope actually showed understanding of the German reformer Martin Luther’s teachings regarding justification by faith (Source).
“I think that the intentions of Martin Luther were not mistaken. He was a reformer. Perhaps some methods were not correct. But in that time, if we read the story of the Pastor, a German Lutheran who then converted when he saw reality – he became Catholic – in that time, the Church was not exactly a model to imitate. There was corruption in the Church, there was worldliness, attachment to money, to power … and this he protested. Then he was intelligent and took some steps forward justifying, and because he did this. And today Lutherans and Catholics, Protestants, all of us agree on the doctrine of justification. On this point, which is very important, he did not err. He made a medicine for the Church”
Immediate damage control initiated
Theologically it’s a (big bang) blast, because the teachings of Rome, like all other pagan religions, provide for people to be righteous through their own works. The early reformers (no longer present today), however, recognized the biblical doctrine of righteousness through grace through faith (Info).
This statement made by the Pope in June 2016 was like a bombshell. The waves were high and press conferences were held. The Auxiliary Bishop of Kazakhstan, Athanasius Schneider, stepped in with particular zeal to limit the damage as much as possible. At a press conference he was asked by a journalist what he thought of the Pope’s statement. Schneider qualified the pontiff’s statement as irrelevant. Luther’s teachings were already condemned as heresy at the Council of Trent and Luther was already excommunicated. This judgment was proclaimed “ex cathedra”, i.e. in a state of “incapacity for error” (infallibility of the Church). This means that the statement from the Council of Trent still stands. However, the Pope’s statement was not spoken “ex cathedra” and is therefore irrelevant.
But the waves quickly smoothed out again, according to the motto: “It wasn’t meant that way.”.
The worldliness of the church at that time (?) mentioned only in passing by Pope Francis included in practice (a short excerpt) the trade in cardinal posts, price lists for audiences, beatifications and canonizations for a fee, slave trade, brothel operations, the annexation of houses and Court of the people accused of being heretics, corruption in the run-up to a conclave, of course secular politics and also the monetary exchange with the Augsburg banker family Fugger. At the time of Luther, Pope Leo X was a nobleman from the House of Medici. The family with the most “posed” popes in history.
Pope Francis sees an empty hell
A few days ago, Pope Francis spoke about his ideas about hell in an interview on Italian television after being asked about it (Source). “What I am going to say is not a dogma of faith, but my personal view,” said the Pope. In doing so, the pontiff has already prevented one or two gasps in the Curia. “I like to imagine hell to be empty before; I hope hell is empty,” the Pope said.
Conflict with the catechism
According to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, there is an eternal hell. In it, the souls of the damned are subjected to endless torment for all time. This means that the Church of Rome is on the same line as Islam. Not to mention the returned daughters of the once Protestant churches (Info).
Based on Catholic teaching, one automatically asked oneself where all the “damned” could be if hell were to be empty. According to Roman teaching, people either made their way to heaven via the church gate to the confessional, then priest, then Mary, then Jesus, optionally via purgatory, or they ended up straight in hell.
The church of Rome also speaks of a Satan and countless fallen angels (demons). But there is no forgiveness of sins for them and they would therefore automatically have a ticket to hell in their pockets. If Francis sees an empty hell, where have they all gone?
A suitable hypothesis
True to this chosen Catholic line, the Bible could have an answer to the question of the whereabouts of Satan and his demons. If hell is empty, then Satan and his demons must be somewhere else. This possible location would be found in Revelation 18, verse 2:
“Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.“
Symbolically speaking, the magnificent Vatican building, financed among other things by the sale of indulgences (Pope Leo X and Johannes Tetzel) to repay a huge loan from the Fuggers, would offer a lot of space for unclean spirits and hated birds. By the time the building with the dome, a replica of the belly of the pregnant Isis, is filled to the top, a lot of strange birds have already disappeared from hell and from the street. The rest was loosely divided among the other institutions affiliated with Babylon.
But since it is a spiritual battle, the Babylon of Revelation is also to be understood spiritually. Nevertheless, this modern-day Babylon has concrete structures (Info).
The basis was already missing
Just as you can’t take the literal filling of St. Peter’s Basilica with strange spirits and birds seriously, you can’t take the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church seriously either. In fact, the Bible mentions the term “hell” in several places. But the Church of Rome itself defined the properties and appearance of the term hell. The Bible provides no more information about a Catholic version (= Islamic concept) of hell than it does about purgatory.
This version of hell from a Catholic pen is only suitable for making people submissive through created fear and for portraying God as a cruel tormentor. The context of “Hell” (“Gehenna”) is actually completely different (Info). It is not eternal torment, but eternal death (non-existence).
The bottom line is that there is little comfort, because the consequence of godlessness is actual eternal separation from God. This is not expressed through eternal torment in hell, but in a final state, as if one had never existed. But there is a way out (Info).
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
Bible verses from King James Version