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As we blogged about, the Italian journalist Eugenio Scalifari quoted Pope Francis as denying the deity of Christ, saying that “Once incarnate, Jesus stops being a God and becomes a man until his death on the cross,” and that “Jesus of Nazareth, once having become a man, was, though a man of exceptional virtues, not at all a God.’” The Vatican, after a tepid first response, now denies that this is what the Pope said or believes.
Here is the Vatican statement, from the Catholic News Agency:
Holy - Father - Scalfari - Communications - Paolo
“The Holy Father never said what Scalfari wrote,” Vatican communications head Paolo Ruffini said at an Oct. 10 press conference, adding that “both the quoted remarks and the free reconstruction and interpretation by Dr. Scalfari of the conversations, which go back to more than two years ago, cannot be considered a faithful account of what was said by the pope.”
“That will be found rather throughout the Church’s magisterium and Pope Francis’ own, on Jesus: true God and true man,” Ruffini added.
Pope - Scalifari - Conversation - Questions - Let
So good, though it would help to hear from the Pope himself, as well as Scalifari, on what was said in the conversation that he reported. Questions remain, but let’s set those aside for now and put the best construction on everything. Roman Catholics and all members of the church catholic will be relieved to hear that the Pope holds to the teaching of historic Christianity, that Jesus is “true God and true man.”
The formulation in Scalifari’s article, though, whether or not the Pope said it, raises some interesting issues in Christology. It states that Christ was God, as the Second Person of the Trinity; then, with the Incarnation, He was “not at all” God, but just a virtuous man; then, after His death and presumably His Resurrection and Ascension, He rejoins the Trinity and...
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