Dignitas Infinita: Do Humans Look Dignified to You?

There’s a new Vatican document which asserts that human beings, by their very nature, have something called “infinite dignity.” A conversation at the Vatican press conference when Dignitas Infinita was launched offered some helpful insights into the theological presuppositions held by its authors.

Vatican correspondent Diane Montagna asked lead author Cardinal Fernandez: “If man has infinite dignity how can he be condemned to the eternal suffering of Hell?”

He answered:

Pope Francis has said many times that the affirmation of the possibility of condemnation to Hell is a kind of cult (veneration) of human freedom that the human being can choose, and that God wills to respect that freedom, even if it is a limited freedom and even if it is sometimes a darkened or infirm freedom, but God wills to respect it. That is the principle.

Well, that makes things crystal clear, doesn’t it? The cardinal went on:

But then the question that Pope Francis asks is: ‘With all the limits that our freedom truly has, may it not be that Hell is empty?’ This is the question that Pope Francis sometimes asks.

What does this mean? It means Pope Francis is downgrading the value of human freedom. He hedges it about with “limitations,” warns that our respect for it may constitute a “cult,” and undermines freedom’s significance with warnings of “darkness” and infirmity. So the free will we’d all believed in really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Does that even finally matter to God?

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