(Michael W. Chapman – CNSNews) Commenting on the worldwide reaction to Pope Francis’ interview with his longtime atheist friend, Eugenio Scalfari, in which the latter claimed the Pope said there is no Hell and that the souls of the damned are not eternal, Cardinal Burke, an American who serves on the Vatican’s highest court, said the situation was “beyond tolerable” and “a source of profound scandal.”
Cardinal Burke also criticized the Vatican’s response to the scandal as “strongly inadequate” because the Vatican did not say Pope Francis rejcts these “heretical ideas.”
Cardinal Burke, the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, made his remarks in an Apr. 4 interview with La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, portions of which were translated and published in the Catholic Herald.
“What happened with the latest interview given to Eugenio Scalfari during Holy Week and made public on Holy Thursday was beyond tolerable,” said Cardinal Burke.
“That a famous atheist claims to announce a revolution in the teaching of the Catholic Church, believing to speak in the name of the Pope, denying the immortality of the human soul and the existence of Hell, has been a source of profound scandal not only for many Catholics but also for many lay people who respect the Catholic Church and its teachings, even if they do not share them,” said the cardinal, as reported in the Catholic Herald.
The Pope’s reported remarks made worldwide headlines. In response to the scandal, the Vatican issued a statement on Good Friday. It said, in part, “What is reported by the author [Scalfari] in today’s article [in La Repubblica] is the result of his reconstruction, in which the textual words pronounced by the Pope are not quoted. No quotation of the aforementioned article must therefore be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father.”