Featured Image

(LifeSiteNews) — The Vatican released a video address proving that a scandalous painting portraying a nude Jesus ministering to Judas, Christ’s own betrayer, hangs in Pope Francis’ personal study.

Vatican News on Wednesday released a video address from Pope Francis delivered that day to the Pan-American Committee of Judges for Social Rights and Franciscan Doctrine (COPAJU), showing that the controversial painting is indeed hanging in Francis’ study, behind his desk.

In 2021, the Vatican’s own newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, revealed that the artist donated the painting to Francis and that it hung “behind the desk” of the Pope. However, proof of this has not been made visible to the public until now. 

The Vatican-approved publication displayed a portion of the painting as its cover photo in 2021. A comparison shows it is clearly the painting hanging in Francis’ study.

The 2021 Vatican editorial explained that that painting was inspired by Francis’ 2018 book, Quando pregate dite Padre Nostro, in which Francis suggests Judas may not be in hell. This idea 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.

2018 was not the only time Francis has pushed the notion that Judas may be saved. In 2020, 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,” Pope Francis said at the time.

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 explained 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 12 of them!), but no other replacements. Ultimately, all of the original 11 together with Matthias left this world in death to become the everlasting foundations of the heavenly Jerusalem: “And the wall of the city had 12 foundations, and in them, the 12 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 permanent 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 12? 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 12.”  

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.”