He’s the same atheist reporter that reported about the Pope’s controversial views on Hell, last year.
With the previous story, the Vatican may have quibbled about the exact construction of his language, which they called ‘a reconstruction’ rather than a direct quote, but no retraction was issued, nor was any public statement offered by the Pope to contradict it.
Skip ahead to 2019. Right around the time of a VERY controversial Catholic Synod that opened with what can only be described as a pagan ritual in which the Pope himself was an active participant.
That’s as bad and controversial as things are ever going to get, right? After all, what’s more controversial than that?
Is there a Papal equivalent to the phrase ‘hold my beer’?
Because less than a week later, he’s already topped it, with the one caveat, ‘if the reporter’s interview with Pope Francis was accurately reported’.
First, we’ll briefly recap who Scalfari is before covering his latest controversial statement.
So who is Eugenio Scalfari?
Most North American commentators have been calling him some variation on “veteran Italian journalist,” and many have noted his atheism, but to Italians he is much more.
The founder of La Repubblica and its editor from 1976 to 1996, Scalfari served as a member of Italy’s Chamber of Deputies from 1968-1972, was one of the founders of the leftist and anti-clericalist Radical Party in 1955, and is regarded as having been one of the leading voices in the drive to legalize divorce and abortion.
“In Italy Eugenio Scalfari is the symbol of secularism and of anti-clericalism,” Riccardo Cascioli, editor and the director of the Catholic opinion paper La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, told LifeSiteNews. Scalfari’s is an “expression of a radical-bourgeois class, which for these forty years has led La Repubblica to conduct all of the major anti-Catholic battles,” from abortion to artificial procreation and the imposition of taxes on Church organizations that Cascioli said discriminate against schools that do not follow the state.
“La Repubblica has never missed an opportunity to throw mud on the Church,” said Cascioli. “Despite this, or perhaps because of it, La Repubblica is certainly the most widely read newspaper by ‘progressive’ Catholics, and in those same environments Scalfari is treated with the utmost respect.”
Ok, so we know he’s hostile to traditional religion (Catholicism in particular). Does that mean he is too biased to be trusted? Not exactly. He is reputedly a friend of the Pope’s, and has interviewed him on a number of occasions.
At issue is one of the central doctrines of Christianity. One that has been officially affirmed by the entire Church for nearly 2000 years. Is Jesus truly divine?
Anyone interested in deep-diving the question and interested in explanations chock full of ten-dollar words could look up any number of articles on the topic of ‘hypostatic union’.
The too-long-didn’t-read version is deceptively straightforward.
Jesus, while living as a man, was fully human in every way.
At the very same time, Jesus is the Divine Son of God, second person of the Triune Godhead. Taking on humanity did nothing to diminish his genuine divinity.
He was not a God-man hybrid. He didn’t have one or the other aspect of his existence nullified. One of the ‘mysteries’ of faith is that Jesus was, at once, fully God and fully man.
That is NOT what Eugenio Scalfari claims the Pope told him he believed.
Did the Pope Deny the Divinity of Christ? pic.twitter.com/xDXb6HIk60
— Church Militant/St. Michael's Media (@Church_Militant) October 9, 2019
According to the highly respected Catholic blog, Rorate Caeli, and Radio Spada in Italy, Scalfari states in the Oct. 9 edition of La Repubblica (behind paywall) the following: “Those who, as it has happened many times with me, have had the luck of meeting him and speaking to him with the greatest cultural intimacy, know that Pope Francis conceives Christ as Jesus of Nazareth, man, not God incarnate.”
“Once incarnate, Jesus stops being a God and becomes a man until his death on the cross.”
Scalfari continues, “When I had the chance of discussing these sentences, Pope Francis told me: ‘They are the proven proof that Jesus of Nazareth, once having become a man, was, though a man of exceptional virtues, not at all a God.'”
A surrogate has dismissed the claims.
At the end of today's #SinodoAmazonico #AmazonSynod Presser; Paolo Ruffini says "the Holy Father never said what Scalfari writes”, in reference to an article by Scalfari which claimed Pope Francis said "Jesus of Nazareth … was man of exceptional virtue, not at all a God." pic.twitter.com/6r0MmYuz8U
— Catholic Sat (@CatholicSat) October 10, 2019
But we have not yet heard an elaboration on what WAS said or why a reputed friend of Pope Francis would mischaracterize him on something so central to Christian belief.