As Pope Francis makes headlines this week about allowing priests to marry, a veteran Italian journalist has alleged the leader of the Catholic Church told him Jesus is not divine.
Eugenio Scalfari is the founder of La Repubblica newspaper and the 96-year-old journalist wrote in a recent column that he discussed with Pope Francis about whether Jesus was God.
Scalfari did not suggest he had recently interviewed the Pope. Based on recollections from a previous encounter – Scalfari doesn’t take notes during interviews – he wrote that he raised with the Pope several examples from the Bible of Jesus praying.
Scalfari suggested that these prove Jesus was not divine and he claims Pope Francis replied: “They are the definite proof that Jesus of Nazareth, once he became a man, even if he was a man of exceptional virtue, was not a God.”
The Vatican’s press office released a statement yesterday that disputes Scalfari’s version.
“As already stated on other occasions, the words that Dr Eugenio Scalfari attributes in quotation marks to the Holy Father during talks with him cannot be considered a faithful account of what was actually said but represent a personal and free interpretation of what he heard,” said Matteo Bruni, director of the Holy See’s press office.
On other occasions, Scalfari has claimed the Pope told him that hell does not exist, and Communists think like Christians. Such claims by Scalfari have all previously been rejected by the Vatican.
As Catholic Herald points out, Pope Francis said in October that “God chooses an uncomfortable throne, the cross, from which he reigns giving his life.”
In his homily on December 24, 2015, Pope Francis stated: “The grace which was revealed in our world is Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary, true man and true God … In him was revealed the grace, the mercy, and the tender love of the Father: Jesus is Love incarnate.”