Catholic Culture Solidarity
Catholic Culture Solidarity

From confusion to heresy: how papal statements are exploited

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Mar 30, 2018

“Pope News” tweets:

Why are some people so keen on being certain about the existence of Hell? Do they need the fear factor to be good?

Massimo Faggioli responds:

This euphoria about hell (for others, of course): the theological version of winning is the only thing that matters.

Where is this discussion headed?

  • Phase 1: He didn’t say that; he was misunderstood.
  • Phase 2: But if he did say it, it’s a good thing, because…
  • Phase 3: People who believe otherwise are rigid doctors of the law, and..
  • Phase 4: The Pope has spoken; his authority must be respected, his critics silenced.
  • Phase 5: So we need a completely new paradigm; abandon old crusty beliefs.
  • Phase 6: But why are you saying that this contradicts the Catholic tradition? Remember, he didn’t say it!

If you’ll recall, that’s pretty much the pattern we’ve seen develop in discussion of Amoris Laetitia.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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