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NEWS: March 31, 2023
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Bird’s Eye View of the News

Atila Sinke Guimarães
‘OUR BROTHER JUDAS’ - As Holy Week approaches, the Vatican’s official organ, L’Osservatore Romano, published an article by Simone Caleffi titled “Our Brother Judas – Doubts and Questions on Judas’ Betrayal.” Its aim is to persuade readers to have sympathy for Iscariot and to suggest that he was saved by the mercy of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

L'Osservatore Romnao March 29, 2023

The Vatican organ suggests that Judas had a sincere repentance - L'Osservatore Romano 03/29/2023

The article sets sail in the wake of various incidents where Pope Francis has mentioned Judas as a man who has been misunderstood by the Catholic Church and History. Actually, he would be a man who repented of his infamous action. He would be the patron and the symbol of the “marginalized minorities” oppressed by a tyrannical Church.

Francis is so convinced of Judas’s “innocence” that he has publicly stated that he keeps a picture depicting his suicide behind his papal working desk. He has expressed on several occasions his novel opinions about the Traitor – whom the Church by Tradition condemns to Hell. TIA has analyzed some of Francis’ remarks (here, here and here)

This trend is not new. Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar, the mentor of both John Paul II and Benedict XVI, considered that Judas was the “dark side” of the Redemption while Our Lord Jesus Christ was the “luminous side” of it. He went so far as to imply that the Redemption was made simultaneously by Jesus suspended on the Cross and Judas hanging from the fig tree. Jesus with the two thieves Dismas and Gesdras and the traitor Judas would constitute the Church of Condemned Ones, the best expression of Christ’s mission.

According to von Balthasar, the truest Church that represents the deepest aspect of reality is neither the Petrine Church, the Official Church of the Apostles – who fled at the Passion – nor the Johannine Church, the Church of Love represented by St. John, Our Lady and the Holy Women at the foot of the Cross. These two modes of Church reflect only the positive side of the suffering. The Church that is the most united to Our Lord and one with Jesus Christ is the Church of Judas, the Church of the Condemned Ones.

I have analyzed this macabre theory extensively with due documentation – along with other offenses against Our Holy Mother Church – in one of the volumes of my collection on Vatican II. (1)

This is the thinking behind the mentioned article in L’Osservatore Romano.

This article “Our Brother Judas,” as well as Francis’ position and von Balthasar’s flawed thesis, are based on a twisted interpretation of a passage of St. Matthew, which reads:

“Then Judas, who betrayed him, seeing that He was condemned, repenting himself, brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and ancients, Saying: I have sinned in betraying innocent blood.” (Mt 27:3,4)

An extremely sentimental interpretation of this passage is being presented today to Catholics in order to convince them that Judas actually was sincere in his repentance. However, the Church’s interpretation of these words has been the exact opposite for many centuries. Indeed, the most famous exegete Fr. Cornelius a Lapide, S.J., reflecting this multi-secular Catholic teaching, affirms:

Judas in Hell being eaten by Satan

Judas in Hell being eaten by Satan

“The repentance that Judas sought was not a truly and genuine repentance, for this includes the hope of forgiveness, but it was compelled by torture and despair, such as that generated by the evil conscience, which torments and reproves the damned who are tormented by the fire of Hell.” (In Mattheum 27:3-4 in Commentaria in Scripturam Sacram, Paris: Louis Vivés, 1877, vol. 15, p. 597)

This is a quite severe teaching of the Church, which of itself shows how out of place the sentimental interpretation of Francis, von Balthasar and Caleffi is. Sometimes these progressivist authors will quote the curse of Our Lord on Judas, but they try to dismiss it by saying that afterwards He treated Judas as a friend at the Garden of Gethsemane.

Actually, that curse cannot be dismissed, since in the Garden, Judas, by denying that last grace, carried through his infamous betrayal.

Commenting on the passage in which Our Lord curses Judas, “Woe to that man by whom the Son of Man shall be betrayed: it were better for him, if that man had not been born.” (Mt 26:24), a Lapide affirms:

Judas hanging

The Devil takes Judas’ soul to Hell

“The betrayal of Judas was a sacrilege, directly made to the very person of Christ and God: Therefore it was truly a Christicide and a Deicide. Hence, it is very believable that Judas dwells in the most profound depths of Hell next to Lucifer, and is most bitterly tortured there. And this is what, woe, means, and what Christ intended here regarding the other reprobates.” (Mt 26: 24, ibid., p. 553)

Also commenting on the woe of Our Lord, St. Jerome says that “both damnation and Hell were threatened; for it is far better not to exist, than to exist so much as to be always miserable and perpetually burning in Hell” (Apud a Lapide, ibid., p. 553)

Those progressivist authors also ignore the most severe passage on Judas in which St. John affirms that the Devil took possession of Judas’ soul after he received Communion at the Last Supper:

“Jesus answered: He it is to whom I shall reach bread dipped. And when he had dipped the bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the morsel, Satan entered into him.” (Jn 13: 26, 27)

In fact, a Lapide explains:

“Judas, being ungrateful to this love of Christ, took the bread dipped [the Communion] in the wrong way: for he thought that Christ, out of hatred and scorn, in order to reveal his crime to the Apostles, would give him the bread dipped. Wherefore Judas, having then removed himself from the vocation of Apostle of Christ and the College of the Apostles, went to the family of Satan and the Jews, as a deserter and apostate.” (Jn 13: 27, a Lapide, ibid, vol 16, p. 532)

St. Ambrose in turn comments on the same passage:

“When Satan himself entered into the heart of Judas, Christ withdrew from him, and the moment he received Him [in the Eucharist], he lost Him. Thus, it is written: After the Communion, Satan entered into him.” (Apud ibid.)

A Lapide lists some famous Saints to explain the different reasons why the Devil took possession of Judas:

Devil takes possession of Judas

The Devil taking possession of Judas

“And the Devil entered for three reasons: firstly, because of Judas’ ingratitude, says St. Augustine, for when Christ had performed all the official acts of charity towards him and Judas was not moved, he was left to be fully possessed by the Devil.

“Secondly, since the Devil already knew from those [previous] words of the Lord and from the signs that Judas was obstinate in evil and forsaken by the Lord, as Chrysostom says.

“Thirdly, since Judas himself realized that he was already revealed to all, and isolated from the disciples and from the Master, and therefore he was confirmed in evil and, in despair, clearly gave his heart to the Devil … says Euthymius according to St. Chrysostom.“ (ibid)

These texts are but a sampling of the severity of Our Lord, the Evangelists and the Traditional Magisterium of the Church regarding Judas and the infamous betrayal that he made of the Messiah. They serve to show how erroneous the interpretation is that Judas was a sincere man who converted at the end of his life.

Do Pope Francis and those authors not know the Magisterium on this topic? They obviously know it. They purposefully advance their agenda with the clear desire to reverse this teaching and impose their own new thinking, which is totally opposed to the Catholic Faith.

I suggest to my reader to be suspicious of those who defend Judas. Tomorrow they may be defending Judas’ master, the very one who entered his soul after he received Communion on Maundy Thursday.

This is my contribution for a Holy Week meditation two days before it starts.

  1. Collection Lamma sabacthani, vol. III, Animus Injuriandi II, Los Angeles: TIA, 2011, pp.161-176.


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