This adage came to mind when reading Pope Francis’s latest interview with Eugenio Scalfari. It is sadly true that the pope has chosen Scalfari—an old socialist atheist, apostate from the Catholic Church,2 and co-founder of the Italian leftist newspaper La Repubblica—as a friend and confidant. Indeed, Pope Francis has made Scalfari the unofficial spokesman for his innermost thoughts.
“We’re Friends—Just Call Me Francis”
In his account of their latest conversation, which took place on January 14, 2020, Scalfari shows how close he and the Pope really are: “Our readers have known for some time that I have a very intense relationship with His Holiness…. [The last time we met, w]e shook hands and embraced each other, also in Santa Marta’s room in the Vatican…. ‘Holiness’ [I said, addressing him; he answered:] … ‘Do not always call me that.3 I prefer Pope Francis or just Francis. We’re friends, aren’t we?”4
“There Is No Hell; There Is No Catholic God”
Scalfari freely publishes his conversations with Pope Francis, often attributing absurd or heretical statements to the pope, for example, “There is no Catholic God;”5 “Proselytism is solemn nonsense;”6 and “There is no hell. There is the disappearance of sinful souls.”7
Pope Francis never denies these attributions. He restricts himself to allowing a Vatican spokesman to give confusing explanations that convince no one. More tellingly, he does not end his friendship with the old atheist. They continue talking by phone and in person. And Scalfari carries on with his heretical attributions.
“Jesus of Nazareth Was Not Entirely God”
Last October, Scalfari wrote that talking to the pope about the words of Our Lord on the Cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46) Pope Francis supposedly commented: “They are the ultimate proof that once he became man and albeit one of exceptional virtue, Jesus of Nazareth was not entirely God.”8
Read more at TFP