Pope Francis draws accusations of heresy for claiming humans 'fundamentally good'

Pope Francis addresses pilgrims during his weekly general audience at Saint Peter's Square in the Vatican on Oct. 26, 2022.
Pope Francis addresses pilgrims during his weekly general audience at Saint Peter's Square in the Vatican on Oct. 26, 2022. | VINCENZO PINTO/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis drew scorn and accusations of heresy on social media Sunday for maintaining during his recent "60 Minutes" interview that the human heart is "fundamentally good."

Responding to interviewer Norah O'Donnell's question regarding what gives him hope when he looks at the world, the pontiff said "everything," and then went on to list examples of people doing good things as evidence of humanity's essential goodness.

"You see tragedies, but you also see so many beautiful things," he said. "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."

Many commenters on X criticized Francis for his remarks, with some accusing him of failing to grasp the basic teaching of the Gospel. Others quoted portions of Scripture that teach God alone is good and that humanity has a sinful nature.

"This is contrary to basic Christian theology," radio host Erick Erickson wrote. "We are all sinners. There aren't just 'some sinners.'"

"If this is true, we don't need a Savior to die on the Cross. So this pope is a heretic," wrote author Eric Metaxas.

"Welp, this is a Satanic lie…" wrote Babylon Bee editor Joel Berry.

"This raises a question: Is the Pope Catholic? Apparently not! The minute he saw an American journalist nodding at him, he should have known he had gone astray," Daily Wire host Andrew Klavan wrote.

Daily Wire Editor Emeritus Ben Shapiro wrote simply: "Uhhhhhhh."

"I have said for decades the real issue with Rome is the gospel," wrote author James White. "Francis says 'people are fundamentally good.' 'There are some sinners.' 'The heart itself is good.' This is humanism. It is not Romans, it is not Galatians, it is not Jeremiah or Isaiah or Proverbs or Psalms or Genesis or Revelation. It is humanism."

"This man has no concept of the gospel itself," White continued. "This may be some of the clearest evidence I have ever seen of the utterly apostate nature of the Roman hierarchy. And before you jump on me: the majority of so-called Protestants are just as much in error as Francis."

Some X usersnoted that Francis' comment appeared to be an example of Pelagianism, a fifth century heresy that denied original sin and taught the essential goodness of humanity.

Pelagianism was named after a monk named Pelagius who was ultimately excommunicated from the Catholic church in 418, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. Multiple councils condemned his worldview, which was also famously repudiated by Augustine of Hippo in his "Confessions."

Francis also raised eyebrows for other comments he made during his "60 Minutes" interview, such as accusing conservative U.S. bishops of exhibiting "a suicidal attitude" by opposing his "efforts to revisit teachings and traditions."

The pontiff also responded to the furor around the Vatican's recent "Fiducia Supplicans" guidance, claiming it does not permit the blessing of a homosexual union itself, but rather the two individual homosexuals engaging in the union.

"What I allowed was not to bless the union; that cannot be done, because that is not the sacrament," he said. "I cannot. The Lord made it that way. But to bless each person? Yes. The blessing is for everyone."

Jon Brown is a reporter for The Christian Post. Send news tips to

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