Scalfari is once again writing things that cause confusion in the Catholic world. He reports yet another interview with Pope Francis. Scalfari claims the following…
What about those with no faith? The answer is that if one has loved others at least as much as himself, (possibly a little more than self) the Father will welcome him. Faith is of help but that is not the element of the one who judges – it’s life itself. Sin and repentance are part of life [and include]: remorse, a sense of guilt, a desire for redemption and the abandonment of egoism.
Those who have had the fortune of meeting Pope Francis, know that egoism is the most dangerous enemy of our species. Animals are egoistic because they are prey to their own instincts, the main one being their own survival. On the other hand, man is moved also by conviviality and so feels love for others, and for the survival of the species to which he belongs. If egoism overpowers and suffocates his love for others, it darkens the divine spark within him and he is self-condemned.
What happens to that lifeless soul? Will it be punished? How?
Francis’ answer is very clear: there is no punishment, but the annihilation of that soul. All the others will participate in the bliss of living in the presence of the Father. The annihilated souls will not be part of that banquet; with the death of the body their journey is ended and this is the basis for the missionary work in the Church: to save the lost souls. And this is also the reason why Francis is a Jesuit to the core.
Once again, we are left with Scalfari’s own word. Now for a theological assessment of the opinions Scalfari puts on Pope Francis’s lips.
First, “If one has loved others at least as much as himself… the Father will welcome him.” Well the statement is totally ambiguous. The condition of salvation is to die in grace. No one who dies without sanctifying grace in his soul is saved. Period. This grace entails, as its proper effect, a habitual orientation to love God out of charity for his own sake, and in consequence to love the self and the neighbor in God. Now, love is always oriented to a good. I can love the bowling club partner by willing his success. Perhaps I will his success more than my own. But what is the “good” I will? Bowling success. Is that getting me into heaven? Absurd. In short, loving my neighbor “more” than myself or “at least as much” does not identify the proper condition of salvation. In fact, outstanding doctors of theology state that I have a duty to love myself more than my neighbor. That is right, more. They say the order of love is as follows: Love God first of all, your own soul next, your neighbor’s soul next, your neighbor’s body next, and your own body last. That would be the proper order of a loving mother for her children. And why self love in terms of spiritual goods first? Because I do not will my neighbor to have a good unless I appreciate, love, that good too. Moreover, unless I love God and love my loving God, I would not consider it a value to will for my neighbor. Hence, good love of neighbor requires good love of self. In sum, Unless I love my neighbor in God, and because of God, I cannot get into heaven. Thus, the statement as it comes from Scalfari by no means indicates a sufficient condition of salvation.
Second, charity cannot exist without faith. So, if I am not a believer, I cannot have the charity I need to have be saved. I must be converted to the one true God in faith in order to have charity so as to please him. Heb 11.
Third, what does “that [faith] is not the element of the one who judges” mean? It is an absurd statement. God does not have or need faith. Of course. Yet, God does demand faith of the soul. See Heb 11; Rom 3-4; Council of Trent, Session VI. If anyone says the opposite, anathema sit.
Fourth, “There is no punishment but only annihilation”. This is heresy. Everyone who dies without sanctifying grace goes straight to hell. And the soul cannot be punished in hell if it doesn’t exist. Whoever says the opposite states heresy.
Scalfari is leading people away from the truth of Catholic faith. It is lamentable that he carries on like this without being rebuked. Well, a Catholic must form his or her faith and conscience not from the whims of rumor but from the solid teaching of Scripture and Tradition.