Blogs
Featured Image

April 7, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – According to the Vatican’s own newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis has placed a painting of a resurrected nude Jesus ministering to Judas, Christ’s own betrayer, behind the Pope’s desk in his personal study in the Vatican.

The Vatican newspaper dedicated the first three pages of its Holy Thursday edition to Judas and called into question, as Pope Francis has done, Judas’ damnation. Although Pope Francis has, several times already, suggested that Judas is not in hell, that notion directly conflicts with statements of previous popes and Our Lord Himself, who said of Judas it would be better for him that he had not been born.

L’Osservatore Romano, which is officially approved before publication, featured as its cover photo a scandalous painting of a nude resurrected Jesus ministering to Judas. And if that’s not bad enough, the acompanying editorial explains that that painting was inspired by one of Pope Francis’ books that suggested Judas may not be in hell, and that the artist gave it to Francis, who had placed it behind his desk in his personal study along with a statue of Jesus carrying Judas as a lost sheep.  

Now, I hate to say it but, considering the track record of Pope Francis, it’s not all that surprising that he has such a fascination with Judas. To many faithful Catholics, it seems like Francis is betraying the Mystical Body of Christ in much the same way that Judas betrayed Our Lord.  

This painting being behind the Pope’s desk and placed on the cover of the Vatican newspaper is itself a scandal. Andrea Monda, the director of L’Osservatore Romano, explains in the Vatican newspaper’s editorial that the painting was inspired by Francis’ 2018 book Quando pregate dite Padre Nostro in which Francis suggests the salvation of Judas.  

It’s not the first time Francis has pushed the notion that Judas may be saved. Last April, he did the same thing in a televised homily in his private chapel on Wednesday of Holy Week, where he had to read that very passage where Jesus says it would be better for Judas not to have been born.

“How did Judas end up? I don’t know,” said Pope Francis at the time.

As often happens, Pope Francis let’s his trusted men speak with more vigor than he himself would. In December last year, one of Pope Francis’ most trusted allies in the Vatican, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, went so far as to say that all those who say Judas is in hell are “heretics.”

Paglia, who is the President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, said on December 10, 2020 that, “We must also remember that, for the Catholic Church, if someone says that Judas is in hell, he is a heretic. 

In that same address, Paglia asserted that a priest may legitimately remain at the bedside of someone undergoing assisted suicide in order to “hold their hand” and “accompany” them.

Nevertheless, the teaching of the church is clear on the damnation of Judas. The Catechism of the Council of Trent is very explicit on this point saying that Judas “lost soul and body” and that his betrayal despite his priesthood “brought him everlasting destruction.” 

Moreover, the first Pope, St. Peter, was clear that after Judas betrayed Christ he had to be replaced as an apostle, whereas after the deaths of other apostles they were not replaced.  

Theologian Peter Kwasniewski explains this point well in an essay at Rorate Caeli 

The first Pope argues that Judas, by his transgression, fell away from the apostleship forever. Note that Judas was the only apostle whose place had to be filled after his death. When James was killed by Herod (Acts 12:2), Peter and the others did not appoint another man as a James substitute. There were successors to the apostles (and many more than twelve of them!), but no other replacements. Ultimately, all of the original eleven together with Matthias left this world in death to become the everlasting foundations of the heavenly Jerusalem: “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them, the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Rev 21:14). Put simply, an apostle who died in a state of grace is an apostle forever, irreplaceable, going to his reward as a perrmanent foundation stone of the Church. This can only mean that Judas, who had to be replaced, died in sin and lost his ministry and apostleship forever. He went “to his own place,” that is, the place that befitted him: hell. 

But we hardly need go to the Catechism or even the first Pope on this question when Our Lord Himself has already been explicit on it. Three times in the Scriptures, Jesus is recorded as indicating Judas’ ultimate fate. In John 6:71, Jesus calls Judas a devil. He says “Have not I chosen you twelve? And one of you is a devil.” The following verse explains, “Now he meant Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon; for this same was about to betray him, whereas he was one of the twelve.”  

In John 17:12, Jesus calls Judas the “son of perdition” in his prayer to God the Father. “While I was with them, I kept them in thy name. Those whom thou gavest me have I kept: and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition: that the scripture may be fulfilled.” 

And finally, in both the Gospels of Matthew 26:24 and Mark 14:21, we hear Jesus saying of Judas: “It would be better for that man if he had never been born”  

As Cardinal Avery Dulles once reflected when contemplating these verses in an article about the fate of Judas: “If Judas were among the saved, these statements could hardly be true. Many saints and doctors of the Church, including St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, have taken it as a revealed truth that Judas was reprobated.” 

So, let us never presume our salvation. Let us rather work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, as St. Paul teaches. We must practice self-control or, as St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:27, “I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway. 

Hell is not empty of human souls. As Our Lady of Fatima revealed to the three children of Fatima, there are many many souls falling into hell like snowflakes. That is why this life is all about winning our eternal salvation. St. Paul likens it to a race which we have to run.

So, let’s run the race, let’s fight the good fight! Let’s strive to get to that place where St. Paul was right before his martyrdom when he said (2 Timothy 4), “I am even now ready to be sacrificed: and the time of my dissolution is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord the just judge will render to me in that day: and not only to me, but to them also that love his coming. 

The John-Henry Westen Show is available by video on the show’s YouTube channel and right here on my LifeSite blog.

It is also available in audio format on platforms such as SpotifySoundcloud, and ACast. We are awaiting approval for iTunes and Google Play as well. To subscribe to the audio version on various channels, visit the ACast webpage here.

We’ve created a special email list for the show so that we can notify you every week when we post a new episode. Please sign up now by clicking here. You can also subscribe to the YouTube channel, and you’ll be notified by YouTube when there is new content.

You can send me feedback, or ideas for show topics by emailing [email protected].

By clicking subscribe, you are agreeing to receive emails about The John-Henry Westen Show and related emails from LifeSiteNews.

Featured Image

John-Henry is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews.com. He and his wife Dianne and their eight children live in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario, Canada.

He has spoken at conferences and retreats, and appeared on radio and television throughout North America, Europe and Asia. John-Henry founded the Rome Life Forum an annual strategy meeting for pro-life leaders worldwide. He co-founded Voice of the Family and serves on the executive of the Canadian National March for Life Committee, and the annual National Pro-Life Youth Conference.  

He is a consultant to Canada’s largest pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition, and serves on the executive of the Ontario branch of the organization.  He has run three times for political office in the province of Ontario representing the Family Coalition Party.  

John-Henry earned an MA from the University of Toronto in School and Child Clinical Psychology and an Honours BA from York University in Psychology.

Comments

Commenting Guidelines

LifeSiteNews welcomes thoughtful, respectful comments that add useful information or insights. Demeaning, hostile or propagandistic comments, and streams not related to the storyline, will be removed.

LSN commenting is not for frequent personal blogging, on-going debates or theological or other disputes between commenters.

Multiple comments from one person under a story are discouraged (suggested maximum of three). Capitalized sentences or comments will be removed (Internet shouting).

LifeSiteNews gives priority to pro-life, pro-family commenters and reserves the right to edit or remove comments.

Comments under LifeSiteNews stories do not necessarily represent the views of LifeSiteNews.