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Pope Francis has drawn accusations of heresy after a recent “60 Minutes” interview with Norah O’Donnell showed him calling the human heart “good.” After discussing women in the church and the Pope’s blessing of homosexual individuals, O’Donnell asked the Pope what gives him hope. Pope Francis responded (translated from Spanish) saying “Everything. You see tragedies, but you also see so many beautiful things. You see heroic mothers, heroic men, men who have hopes and dreams, women who look to the future. That gives me a lot of hope. People want to live. People forge ahead. And people are fundamentally good. We are all fundamentally good. Yes, there are some rogues and sinners, but the heart itself is good.”

The Pope’s words fly in the face of traditional Christian doctrine, which teaches that humanity lives in a fallen state of sin, unable to redeem itself, and requiring a perfect sacrifice in the form of Jesus Christ, the only perfect and sinless man. It also goes against Jeremiah 17:9 which states “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” and Jesus’s words in Mark 10:18 when he expresses that none are good except God. X did add context to the Pope’s words, noting he had said “somos un poco pícaros y pecadores,” which literally means “we are a little bit rogues and sinners” rather than “some rogues and sinners.” That does not address, however, the idea that people or the heart are fundamentally good. “If this is true, we don’t need a Savior to die on the Cross. So this pope is a heretic,” Eric Metaxas, who comments on Christianity and culture, wrote on X.  “This is core to Christianity. Because if everyone is basically good, the gospel is not good news. If the gospel is not good news, what’s the point?” wrote “Relatable” podcast host Allie Beth Stuckey.

Other users on X accused the Pope of heresy, calling his viewpoint Pelagianism, so named after Pelagius, a fifth century Catholic monk who was excommunicated from the Catholic Church for teaching that humanity is inherently good. Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, had strong words against the Pope. After declaring the papacy an “unbiblical office,” Mohler called Pope Francis a contradiction. “We’re talking about a man who now inhabits that office who is the contradiction of at least many of the claims made by the Roman Catholic Church. He’s not the defender of even those Roman Catholic doctrines. Well, he relativizes them. He emotionalizes them.” After affirming that the Bible calls the heart “desperately wicked,” Mohler stated that the Pope’s abandonment of Scripture was similar to liberal Protestant churches that have abandoned established doctrine. “One lesson here is that theological liberalism ends up as the same mush, whether it’s Catholic mush or Protestant mush. It’s mush,” he concluded.

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