Author and Catholic historian Prof. Roberto de Mattei, the former Modern History chairman at the University of Cassino, said in a recent interview that he is convinced that Pope Francis does not believe in the existence of Hell and is a "crypto-heretic," someone who seeks to keep his heresy hidden.
In an April interview with Gloria.tv, the host asked Prof. de Mattei about Pope Francis's Italian friend Eugenio Scalfari. De Mattei explained that Scalfari, an atheist and a communist, is the founder of La Repubblica, an Italian publication. De Mattei added that Scalfari, despite his frienship and frequent interviews of Pope Francis, supports abortion, homosexuality, and euthanasia.
The host asked, “Pope Bergoglio (Francis) said to Eugenio Scalfari that Hell does not exist [in a March interview]. Does this mean that Bergolio is a heretic?”
Prof. de Mattei said, “The existence of Hell is a truth of faith. So, everyone who denies, negates this truth is heretical."
"I am convinced, personally, that Pope Francis doesn’t believe in the existence of Hell," said the professor.
"In his interview [with Scalfari] he declared this," said De Mattei. "But then there was an intervention, very ambiguous, of the press office of the Holy See. So it’s not so clear what really, officially Pope Francis thinks."
"So, his position seems to be a crypto-heretical position," said De Mattei. "Crypto-heretical means a position which is not openly, formally heretical, but heretical in a dissimulating, hidden way.”
The Gloria.tv host then asked, "How can the church deal with a heretical pope? What happens then?”
Prof. Roberto de Mattei said, “There is a big problem but I was very happy when recently his intervention to the congress in Rome, Cardinal [Raymond] Burke spoke only of this possibility. Because some theologians, also conservative, don’t believe in the possibility of a heretical pope."
"Cardinal Burke, founding his view on the best canonists and theologians of the church, gave a clear demonstration in his speech on this point," said the professor. "It is possible, unfortunately, that a pope can become a heretic.”
In the March 28, 2018 edition of La Repubblica, Scalfari quoted the Pope as saying, "There is no Hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls." The Pope also reportedly said, "It is anhonor to be called revolutionary."
That article sparked worldwide media attention and the Vatican was forced to issue a statement. The Vatican press office did not deny what Scalfari reported but instead said, "No quotation of the aforementioned article must therefore be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father."
Pope Francis did not deny what he was reported to have said and Scalfari never issued a retraction or a correction.
Prof. Roberto de Mattei is the author of six books, including the biography Plinio Correa de Oliveira: Apostle of Fatima, Prophet of the Kingdom of Mary and To the Left of Luther: The Sects of the Sixteenth Century.
He also directs the magazine Radici Cristiane and the Corrispondenza Romana news agency. Prof. de Mattei is married and has 5 children.