Pope Francis denied ‘physical resurrection of Christ’, says Italian friend as Catholics demand Vatican denounces the ‘heretical’ claim
- Journalist Eugenio Scalfari, 95, has made the bombshell claims in a new book
- He has previously reported how the Pope does not believe in existence of hell
- The Vatican has disputed his version but some have criticised their response
An Italian journalist has claimed Pope Francis told him he does not believe Jesus Christ was resurrected as a body, but in the ‘semblance of a spirit’.
Eugenio Scalfari, 95, a frequent papal interviewer, said his long-term friend Pope Francis does not believe a key Catholic doctrine that Jesus returned in the flesh after his crucifixion.
Though the claims were disputed by the Vatican and believers, they were not flat-out denied by the Holy See, leading some to criticise it for what has been deemed as an ineffectual response on a heretical matter.
An Italian journalist has claimed Pope Francis told him he does not believe Jesus Christ was resurrected as a body
Eugenio Scalfari, a frequent papal interviewer, has made the claims in a new book and in La Repubblica, which he founded
Deacon Nick Donnelly told Church Militant: ‘The Scalfari claims about Francis’s heretical beliefs are so shocking, and the Pope’s adamant silence so incomprehensible, we have to assume that this is an accurate account of their conversations.’
According to Scalfari, Pope Francis said, ‘He [Jesus] was a man until he was put in the sepulchre by the women who restored his corpse.
‘That night in the sepulchre the man disappeared and from that cave came out in the form of a spirit that met the women and the Apostles, still preserving the shadow of the person, and then definitively disappeared.’
The bombshell claims were on the front page of Italy’s La Repubblica this week, which Scalfari founded, as well as the introduction of his new book.
Matteo Bruni, director of the Holy See Press Office, said: ‘As already stated on other occasions, the words that Dr. Eugenio Scalfari attributes in quotation marks to the Holy Father during the interviews he had cannot be considered as a faithful account of what was actually said, but rather represent a personal and free interpretation of those who listened, as appears completely evident from what is written today regarding the divinity of Jesus Christ.’
Orthodox Catholic teaching says that Jesus returned as a human body, as demonstrated by disciple Thomas touching his flesh.
The Pope has previously spoken about the topic and in a 2016 mass said that Jesus was resurrected in body and soul, discrediting Scalfari’s claims.
Scalfari has previously had run-ins with the Catholic Church after claiming the Pope does not believe in hell nor the godly nature of Jesus.
Deacon Nick Donnelly said the Vatican’s silence was ‘incomprehensible’ and the church should have denounced the ‘heresy’
Bishop Strickland, from the US, has denounced Scalfari’s claims as ‘deluded’, saying they mock the Pope and the Church
These were also both denied by the Vatican and Scalfari later admitted some words attribute to the Pope were false.
The atheist journalist acknowledges that he does not record his interviews but writes them down later from memory.
Christopher Lamb, the Rome correspondent for Catholic journal The Tablet, told MailOnline: ‘Scalfari does not take notes in interviews and reconstructs them from memory. It is hard to have any confidence in what he says. The most recent meeting between the Pope and Scalfari was two years ago.’
Mr Lamb believes those on both the left and the right are buying into the claims and the Vatican has been criticised because of opposition to the current Pope.
He said: ‘They are so opposed to this pontificate they are willing to try to create a false narrative around it. They then get upset when the Vatican doesn’t play into it.
‘The Pope went into the meeting with a naive openness and it has been manipulated by the non-believing left and the right who do not like Pope Francis.
‘I find it impossible to believe because the Pope has given his life to the idea of the resurrection and it is also contradicted by the evidence when he has talked about the resurrection.’