Yes, Virginia, the Pope Does Believe in Hell

Recently there has been a flurry of #fakenews claiming, incorrectly, that Pope Francis doesn't believe in Hell.

It's important to note that the source of all this is a 93-year-old Italian reporter, who is an atheist and who doesn't take notes or record conversations.  He goes by memory, even when using "quotes," and he's misattributed things to the pope in the past.

The Vatican has denied that the pope said what that reporter said the pope said.  However, since the denial doesn't explicitly say that the pope believes in Hell, the nattering nabobs of the left, and the right, are saying that maybe it wasn't really a denial.

The good news is that since his election to the papacy, Pope Francis has made his beliefs on Hell clear:

Yet the danger always remains that by a constant refusal to open the doors of their hearts to Christ who knocks on them... the poor, the proud, rich and powerful will end up condemning themselves and plunging into the eternal abyss of solitude which is Hell.

Referring to members of the Mafia, Pope Francis said:

There is still time not to end up in hell, which awaits you if you continue on this road.

And the pope said this to a group of children in response to the question "If God forgives everybody, why does hell exist?":

This is hell: It is telling God, 'You take care of yourself because I'll take care of myself.'  They don't send you to hell, you go there because you choose to be there.  Hell is wanting to be distant from God because I do not want God's love.  This is hell.  Do you understand?

Based on the pope's consistent public declaration of the existence of Hell, it's safe to say that the Italian reporter's claims are baseless.

This is just another example of the leftist media running with anything that might indicate that the Pope supports modern liberal beliefs. Some other examples of the media distorting what Pope Francis has said include:

Misrepresenting the pope's position on DACA.

Saying the pope condemned Trump when the pope didn't do that.

Misrepresenting the pope's comments to Congress on immigration.

Saying the pope equated not accepting all immigrants with murder when he didn't.

Interestingly, the same media ignore those things the pope says that go against the liberal worldview, including:

Economics: How to help the poor: "We are not simply talking about ensuring nourishment or a 'dignified sustenance' for all people [i.e., welfare], but also their 'general temporal welfare and prosperity'" [159].  "This means education, access to health care, and above all employment, for it is through free, creative, participatory and mutually supportive labour that human beings express and enhance the dignity of their lives."

Abortion: "Defense of unborn life is closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right[.]"  "It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development.  Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems."

So-called gay marriage: "Let's not be naïve, we're not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God.  We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God."

Environment: "Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion.  How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties?"  "If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of the new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away."

The sad reality is that it's nearly impossible to trust that the leftist media will ever accurately portray what the pope really says on any issue.

No matter what your faith tradition or your opinion of the pope, the reality is that the pope has not changed the 2,000-year-old Catholic teaching on the existence of Hell.

Use this weaponization of the pope by the media as an opportunity to explain to your friends why the leftist media can't be trusted to tell the truth.

You can read more of Tom's rants at his blog, Conversations about the obvious, and feel free to follow him on Twitter.

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