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Italian journalist: Pope does not believe Jesus is God

October 09, 2019

Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari has caused a new uproar by writing that Pope Francis does not believe that Jesus is God.

In an editorial comment in La Repubblica, Scalfari writes:

Anyone who has had the good fortune to meet with him and speak with him in utmost confidence—as I have done several times—knows that Pope Francis conceives of Christ as Jesus of Nazareth: a man, not an incarnate god. Once incarnate, Jesus ceases to be a god and become a man, until his death on the cross.

Scalfari goes on to claim that when he presented this thought to the Pontiff, Pope Francis replied that “Jesus of Nazareth, once he became a man, although he was a man of exceptional virtue, was not a god at all.”

If accurate, that quotation would put Pope Francis in a clear and direct contradiction with the perennial teaching of the Church.

In response to media questions about Scalfari’s editorial, the Vatican issued a statement:

As has been affirmed on other occasions, the words that Dr. Eugenio Scalfari attributes between quotes to the Holy Father during his colloquies held with him cannot be considered a faithful account of what was effectively said, but represent more a personal and free interpretation of what heard, as appears entirely evident from what was written today concerning the divinity of Jesus Christ.

Scalfari, a professed atheist, who has been granted several exclusive interviews with the Pope, acknowledges that he does not record the interviews, nor take notes, but writes his accounts later from memory. In the past he has caused controversy by claiming that Pope Francis had told him, on various occasions, that hell does not exist, that Communists think like true Christians, and that all divorced and remarried Catholics should be admitted to Communion. On each occasion the Vatican has indicated that the quotation could not be considered accurate.

Scalfari’s latest sensational claim is apparently not based on a new interview, but on his recollections from previous encounters with the Pontiff.

[See Phil Lawler’s analysis of Scalfari’s report, and the Vatican’s response, here.]


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