In his Thursday homily at the Santa Marta residence, Pope Francis made an error when preaching on God’s love. He implied that God “can only love and not condemn”. While this sounds nice on the surface, I’d like to point out the glaring contradiction. God does condemn.
Words have meanings and we should make sure we use them properly, it is important we use the correct definition:
Condemn: (1) express complete disapproval of, typically in public; censure. (2) sentence (someone) to a particular punishment, especially death.
Clearly, if we look at the definition of “condemn”, we know that God does indeed condemn. God condemns all sin, including venial sin. He explicitly tells us how in choosing sin, we choose death. God also condemns us at the moment of our death when Jesus Christ judges us and condemns us to Hell if we have lived a sinful life and have rejected Him through our words or deeds.
We ourselves choose to go to Hell by the lives we live here on Earth. But ultimately, Jesus Christ, the Supreme Judge, administers the sentence that we will spend the rest of Eternity in the damning fires of Hell, or with Him in His Glory.
But this isn’t what Pope Francis is saying. Pope Francis simply and plainly states that God doesn’t condemn. Jesus Christ says otherwise.
“For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. For God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by him. He that believeth in him is not judged*. But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the judgment*: because the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light: for their works were evil. For every one that doth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved.
**Footnote Is not judged: He that believeth, viz., by a faith working through charity, is not judged, that is, is not condemned; but the obstinate unbeliever is judged, that is, condemned already, by retrenching himself from the society of Christ and his church.
 The judgment: That is, the cause of his condemnation.**
But he that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they are done in God. ” John 3:16-21
Jesus Christ is crystal clear. Those who do not believe in Him are condemned. These are Our Lord’s words. Even more so, we can look at other areas of scripture in which God condemns His people.
“And the Lord God said to the serpent: Because thou hast done this thing, thou art cursed among all cattle, and beasts of the earth: upon thy breast shalt thou go, and earth shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel. To the woman also he said: I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thou shalt be under thy husband’ s power, and he shall have dominion over thee. And to Adam he said: Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat, cursed is the earth in thy work; with labour and toil shalt thou eat thereof all the days of thy life. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herbs of the earth. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return to the earth, out of which thou wast taken: for dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return. And Adam called the name of his wife Eve: because she was the mother of all the living. And the Lord God made for Adam and his wife, garments of skins, and clothed them. And he said: Behold Adam is become as one of us, knowing good and evil: now, therefore, lest perhaps he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever. And the Lord God sent him out of the paradise of pleasure, to till the earth from which he was taken. And he cast out Adam; and placed before the paradise of pleasure Cherubims, and a flaming sword, turning every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” Genesis 3:14-24
Or the time Cain killed his brother, Abel.
And he said to him: What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’ s blood crieth to me from the earth. Now, therefore, cursed shalt thou be upon the earth, which hath opened her mouth and received the blood of thy brother at thy hand. When thou shalt till it, it shall not yield to thee its fruit: a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be upon the earth. And Cain said to the Lord: My iniquity is greater than that I may deserve pardon. Behold thou dost cast me out this day from the face of the earth, and I shall be hidden from thy face, and I shall be a vagabond and a fugitive on the earth: every one, therefore, that findeth me, shall kill me. And the Lord said to him: No, it shall not be so: but whosoever shall kill Cain, shall be punished sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, that whosoever found him should not kill him. Genesis 4:10-15
Not only did God condemn Cain to walk this Earth cursed, but He condemned anyone who would try to kill Cain by putting him out of his misery.
We can also recount the Bread of Life discourse in the Gospel of John in which Our Blessed Lord said “He who does not eat the Flesh and drink the Blood of the Son of Man has no life in him”. If this isn’t a condemnation, then I do not know what is.
But this wasn’t the only error in Pope Francis’ homily. When it comes to God’s “weakness”, he said it is His inability to love us:
“The gift is God’s love, a God who can’t sever himself from us. That is the impotence of God. We say: ‘God is all powerful, He can do everything!” Except for one thing: Sever Himself from us!”
The ability to sever ourselves from God or any relationship by not loving is an imperfection reserved to humans only. In a perfect world, we would all love. But in our fallen and imperfect world thanks to our loving parents Adam and Eve, we are able to sever relationships and become unloving to others, including God. To say that God’s “weakness” is to not be able to do this is a fallacy. Severing oneself is an imperfection. God in His omnipotence is perfect, thus everything He does is a perfection. For him to not be able to do something imperfect isn’t an imperfection but a perfection.
God has zero weaknesses because He is perfect.