Monday, October 30, 2017

St. Francis vs. Pope Francis

Pope Francis:  No one can be condemned forever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel!

Amoris Laetitia 296,7

     The way of the Church is not to condemn anyone for ever; it is to pour out the balm of God’s mercy on all those who ask for it with a sincere heart… For true charity is always un-merited, unconditional and gratuitous”. Consequently, there is a need “to avoid judgements which do not take into account the complexity of various situations” and “to be attentive, by necessity, to how people experience distress because of their condition”
     It is a matter of reaching out to everyone, of needing to help each person find his or her proper way of participating in the ecclesial community and thus to experience being touched by an “unmerited, unconditional and gratuitous” mercy. No one can be condemned for ever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel! Here I am not speaking only of the divorced and re-married, but of everyone, in whatever situation they find themselves. 
     Naturally, if someone flaunts an objective sin as if it were part of the Christian ideal, or wants to impose something other than what the Church teaches, he or she can in no way presume to teach or preach to others; this is a case of something which separates from the community (cf. Mt 18:17). Such a person needs to listen once more to the Gospel message and its call to conversion. Yet even for that person there can be some way of taking part in the life of community, whether in social service, prayer meetings or another way that his or her own initiative, together with the discernment of the parish priest, may suggest.

The Last Judgement by Michelangelo; Sistine Chapel


St. Francis: Unrepentant souls will go into the inferno where they will suffer torture without end.

Exhortation to the Brothers and Sisters of Penance 

From Chapter Two - Concerning those who do Not do Penance.

      See, you who are blind, deceived by your enemies, the world, the flesh and the devil, for it is pleasant to the body to commit sin and it is bitter to make it serve God because all vices and sins come out and “proceed from the heart of man” as the Lord says in the Gospel (cf. Mk. 7,21).  And you have nothing in this world and in the next, and you thought you would possess the vanities of this world for a long time. But you have been deceived, for the day and the hour will come to which you give no thought and which you do not know and of which you are ignorant.
    The body grows infirm, death approaches, and so it dies a bitter death, and no matter where or when or how man dies, in the guilt of sin, without penance or satisfaction, though he can make satisfaction but does not do it; the devil snatches the soul from his body with such anguish and tribulation that no one can know it except he who endures it, and all the talents and power and “knowledge and wisdom” (2 Chr. 1,12) which they thought they had will be taken a way from them (cf. Lk. 8,18; Mk. 4,25), and they leave their goods to relatives and friends who take and divide them and say afterwards, “Cursed be his soul because he could have given us more, he could have acquired more than he did.”
     The worms eat up the body and so they have lost body and soul during this short earthly life and will go into the inferno where they will suffer torture without end.


     So, is the difference to be explained by stating that St. Francis belonged to a different era of the Church? Are the two approaches simply two sides of the same coin? Or is one man right and the other just plain wrong?
View my books on the Blessed Virgin, St. Francis, Padre Pio, and others.  


  1. I'm sure we can find many of the saints and early writers of Christianity with differing opinions on this. In the end only God knows each soul, and judges. And on that point I like what Padre Pio had to say about this in John McCaffery's book "Tales of Padre Pio." The passage has always remained with me and surely will for all readers who know Padre Pio's love for humanity, for "the neighbor." He and McCaffery were having a discussion and Pio said thoughtfully, "...I believe that not a great number of souls go to hell. God loves us so much. He formed us in His image. God the Son incarnate died to redeem us. He loves us beyond understanding. And it is my belief that even when we have passed from the consciousness of this world, when we appear to be dead, God, before He judges us, will give us a chance to see and understand what sin really is. And if we understand it properly, how could we fail to repent?"
    God's possible last-moment reprieve to "give us a chance to see and understand what sin really is" could be a response to Jesus' words on the cross: Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they are doing. Jesus is on the Cross to redeem us, but for those who have not repented, Forgive them, Father . . .These words are not a random cry, but have meaning and depth coming from the Son of God, as every word of the Gospel has its purposeful meaning.

  2. In all honesty I do not know anything other than the Virgin Mary did say at Fatima that many souls go to hell because nobody prays for them. Also, there is the Fatima prayer which mentions being saved from the fires of hell and finally I just read this article about Martin Luther and Saint Padre Pio:

  3. Sorry to add one more comment if we use Saint John Bosco as an example what happened in his situation in the sense of why he was so concerned about his boys going to hell.

  4. The Blessed Virgin Mary said "many souls go to hell" and Padre Pio said "not a great number of souls go to hell." We can only guess how much is meant by "many" or "not a great number". Only God knows. Both Our Lady and Padre Pio -- who loved her! -- were out to save souls. Our Lady of the Rosary instituted the five First Saturdays of Reparation to save sinners, and Padre Pio spent up to 18 or 19 hours in the confessional, sometimes, saving souls one at a time--there was a weeks' long waiting list to see Padre Pio for confession. He loved humanity, "the neighbor", and believed God's Love and Mercy to be so great He gave sinners a final chance before the moment of death to know what sin is, and if they understood, how could they not repent.
    In the article on Martin Luther, Fr. Manelli does not cite a reference for what he claims Padre Pio said about Luther. The article states Father Manelli knew Padre Pio personally. Are we, then, to infer that Padre Pio told Father Manelli directly? Or is it one of those stories that just gets repeated until it has lost its origin.