Pope Francis: Judas was a sinner, but no worse than anyone else

Print More
Giotto di Bondone (1267-1337), Cappella Scrovegni a Padova, Life of Christ, Judas Receiving Payment for his Betrayal.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

Giotto di Bondone (1267-1337), Cappella Scrovegni a Padova, Life of Christ, Judas Receiving Payment for his Betrayal.

Active RNS subscribers and members can view this content by logging-in here.

VATICAN CITY (RNS) "Judas, poor man, is the one who closed himself to love and that is why he became a traitor," Pope Francis said.

  • Karla

    Judas never Repented/followed his own agenda not the will of God just like
    many in the church today who don’t want to Repent/follow Jesus. People
    today seem to forget Jesus said you are one of Mine only if you follow Me
    and many will say to Me Lord,Lord and not enter heaven! Luke 13 talks
    about how we must bear good fruit and the fruit is fruit of Repentance not
    good works because good works don’t save/non-believers do good works
    so we must Repent and believe the Gospel to be saved. We must Repent!
    If you say you love Jesus then don’t follow the Bible/religion no Truth is in
    you! It’s not enough to just believe in Jesus. We must Repent/follow Him!

    It doesn’t matter how spiritual people are if they aren’t Biblical they are lost!
    Ephesians 5:18 says don’t get drunk and 1 Corinthians 6:10 says that all
    drunkards go to hell. The wine that Jesus made was new wine/diluted and
    was made for symbolic reasons not to get drunk plus the Bible says don’t
    get drunk on strong wine/don’t get drunk with wine for it’s debauchery so
    people who still get drunk with strong wine are also wrong/go to hell. The
    Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:9-12 swindlers,thieves,drunkards,idolaters,
    slanderers/liars/gossips,the greedy coveters,the sexually immoral and
    homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of heaven unless they Repent!
    Two guys were next to Jesus on the Cross. Only one guy went to heaven!
    Why is that? Only one guy Repented/had a change of heart about his sin.
    Bible says Repent or perish! Repent or perish! We must Repent/follow Him!

  • Fran

    The Bible begs to differ with the Pope’s statements and opinion. Judas did become completely and inexcusably corrupt. No doubt it is for this reason that he is placed last in the list of apostles and is described as the Judas “who later BETRAYED him.” (Matthew 10:4; Luke 6:16).

    Near Passover 32 C.E., Judas, with the other apostles, was sent out preaching (Matthew 10:1,4,5). Shortly after Judas’ return, and less than a year after he had been made an apostle, he was publicly denounced by Christ, though not by name. Some disciples left Jesus, being shocked by his teachings, but Peter said that the 12 would stick with the Christ.

    In response, Jesus acknowledged that he had chosen the 12 but said: “One of you is a SLANDERER. ” The account explains that the one who was already a slanderer was Judas, who “was going to betray him, although one of the twelve.” (John 6:66-71).

    At the beginning of his apostle ship, Judas was faithful to God and his son, Jesus. But he evidently started to go bad, and give in to imperfection and sinful inclinations. But he made no changes to his course.

    Judas was also rebuked by Jesus on Nisan 9, 33 C.E., when in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, Mary, Lazarus’ sister, anointed Jesus with perfumed oil worth 300 denari, worth about a year’s wages for a laborer (Matthew 20:2).

    Judas strongly objected that the oil could have been sold and the money “given to the poor people.” Jesus rebuked this action because Judas’ main reason for objecting was that he cared for the money box and he “was a THIEF…and used to carry off monies” put in the box. So Judas was a GREEDY, practicing THIEF. (John 12:2-7; Matthew 26:6-12; Mark 14:3-8).

    Judas must have been stung by that rebuke!! At this time, Satan entered into Judas, in the sense that he gave in to the will of the Devil, allowing himself to be a tool to carry out Satan’s design to stop Christ.

    Judas went, a few days later, to the chief priests and temple captains to see how much they would pay for him to betray Jesus, again showing his GREED (Matthew 26:15-16; Mark 14:10,11; Luke 22:3-6; John 13:22).

    Thirty pieces of silver ($66, if shekels) was the price offered by the religious leaders to show their contempt of Jesus, viewing him as of little value.

    According to Matthew 27:5, Judas hanged himself.

    The course that Judas chose was deliberate, involving MALICE, GREED, PRIDE, and SCHEMING. He afterward felt remorse under the burden of guilt. Yet Judas had, of his own volition, made a bargain with those who Jesus said made proselytes that were subjects of Gehenna twice as much as themselves, who were liable to “the judgment of Gehenna” (Matthew 23:15,33).

    On the final night of his earthly life, Jesus himself said, actually about Judas: “It would have been finer for that man if he had not been born.” Later, Christ called him the “SON OF DESTRUCTION.” (Mark 14:21; John 17:12; Hebrews 10:26-29)

    So, the question needs to be asked: Why is the Pope SUGAR COATING this apostle, Judas, when all the Bible accounts show how truly contemptible he really was?

  • Fmr Cath

    Fran, he is trying to make sin seem less “bad” I think… By saying “poor man” in reference to Judas it seems like the Pope is trying to make us feel bad for him and not “judge” him too harshly. This also may play into trying to say “all sin is the same” but I’m sorry, BETRAYING THE SON OF GOD is a very grave sin. Worse than any other sin I can come up with….

  • Pope Francis is just a few months away from admitting that nobody really knows any of the people written about in the Bible and nobody can be blamed for not believing in any of it.

    He is reducing Jesus from being a divine dictator who will come to judge the living and the dead…and turning Christianity into a philosophy of life on par with other philosophies: “It doesn’t really matter what you believe, just try to spread goodness and enjoy life as if this were the only life we have.”

    That is basically what an Atheist would do.

  • rob

    pope frank is right Judas closed him self off to the loving forgiveness JESUS WOULD WIN FOR HIM TO ON THE CROSS.. WHILE ITS TRUE HE REPENTED IN A WORLDLY WAY by giving the money back and feling sorry for what he had done he went out hung himself rather than trusting that Jesus would forgive him TO ..REPENTANCE HAS 3 PARTS FEELING SO SORRY FOR SIN YOU NEVER WANT TO DO THAT SIN AGAIN .. NEXT THE MOST IMPORTANT PART TRUSTING THAT JESUS HAS ALREADY WON YOUR FORGIVNESS ON THE CROSS.. and then Living your faith out of thanks to what Jesus has done..

  • rob

    NOPE WHAT you say would destroy the institution of the roman papacy.. which claims to be the very vicar of Christ,,The papacy needs Christ for a very different reason than I do .. I NEED JESUS BECAUSE BY HIS MERITS ALONE he has SAVED me He means the world to me there is no one I care more about he is my God and LORD THE LOVE OF MY LIFE.. they need Jesus because they “claim” he has appointed them to carry out his authority in his stead AND THERE miraculous powers come from him..to rule over the earth both the church and all civil governments.. When the pope calls UNITED STATES AND ALL GOVERNMENTS answer .WHEN THE POPE GRANTS THEM A AUDIANCE THEY SHOW UP. Lutherans are well aware of the power of the institution of the papacy. we know all about it because our pope is the bible Gods word and he told us about it in the bible.

  • Pingback: Pope Francis: Judas was a sinner, but no worse ...()

  • rob

    judas was a poor man he didn’t have Jesus .. Judas was a poor man he thought his sins were larger than Jesus forgiveness .. HE HAD NO trust in HOW BIG A GOD JESUS REALY WAS.. Jesus is way bigger than all the sins ever commited.
    way way Bigger than just those Everest size mountains upon mountains of sins

    wels honor choir youl want to view this large and turn up your speakers for this
    song about YOU heaven and Jesus


  • Fran


    Jesus is the son of God, as the Most High over all the earth, Jehovah God, (Psalm 83:18) told Jesus at his baptism (Mark 1:11).

  • Doc Anthony

    I’m seriously hating to say this, but Mr. Francis — the world’s first Gay-Marriage Pope — does mostly seem to be following YOUR script, Max.

    I really want to argue against you, but I’m trapped because we’re seeing the same roadmap and the same destination.

    (The road signs are curiously marked, “DEAD END.”)

    Never in my 54-year-life have I ever felt like the Catholics “picked The Wrong Guy.” They always seemed to pick pretty good popes, and especially the John Paul II and the Benedict XVI. Good strong leaders.

    But now, I finally feel like they’ve REALLY picked a Time Bomb, and a large segment of Christianity is essentially about to get blown up on the installment plan. Any suggestions, Max?

  • philip

    “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” I have forgiven Judas; have you?
    Forgiveness is a noun, an abstract concept
    I once argued with a pastor in a question and answer session during an adult class to become a Catholic. I was a sponsor for one of the adults who was seeking to enter the Church. The topic was, “The Classic Understanding of Forgiveness.” My heart started to race with the excitement of the hunt. Slowly I started to gain control of my pulse, my focus, and my surroundings. If one is going to enter into philosophical combat, one needs to construct a foundation that will hold the structure of the argument. The time restraint precluded an extensive analysis. Simply put, I said to the pastor, “Only God can forgive.” This was met with disbelief and questioned by those in attendance.
    Many Christian Faiths are based on the concept of forgiving your trespasser; as in the Lord’s Prayer. Only God can forgive. I did not fathom the full answer that night and it was not the place or time to disrupt the whole meeting.
    The concept is correct. In my opinion; “forgive” is the wrong word. I do not have the capacity to forgive someone but, I do have a God given power to erase the negative that was inflicted upon me or upon others from my soul.
    To enter God’s kingdom is to harbor no ill feelings of hatred, despise, or anger towards those who have hurt me . It is not that we forgive others, for that is God’s realm. It is that the higher understanding, and make no mistake about it, it is something I work at every day to eliminate, is our eternal goal.
    The Christian Faith has said through the centuries that Judas did the unforgiveable sin. God, I hope you understand me. It is You who have the power to forgive Judas. I cannot enter Your kingdom having any ill feelings of hatred towards one of Your children, even the one who handed You over.
    PS. I have personally handled rattlesnakes. I hold no ill feelings in my soul towards them. They are just one of God’s creatures. I either let them go on their merry way or, I eat them. In either case, I do not hate them!

  • Fran


    Jesus said concerning Judas before Jesus’ death that “It would have been finer for that man if he had not been born.” (Mark 14:21)

    In addition, he called judas the “son of destruction.” (John 17:12)

    It is therefore safe to assume that Judas received the deserved judgment which was due him from a source higher than us, Jesus.

  • @Doc,

    “Christianity is essentially about to get blown up on the installment plan. Any suggestions, Max?”

    Take heart. You want goodness in the world, Doc. You mean well.
    People are not as bad as you think. I would love to take you out for a beer.

    Life is better without religion. But even if you have religion, it is good to lighten up and get comfortable with things.

    If God’s Grace means anything the Pope is doing exactly what god wants him to do. So on that note you can fall in line.
    If God’s grace is just superstition (as I think it is) then people can just enjoy each other. No big deal?

    You want a draft or a bottle? It is on me. 🙂

  • Chuck

    I do not think Judas received the judgement you referred to. The bible clearly portrays a man wracked with guilt afterwards and trying to make amends. I believe God is a forgiving God and that he forgave Judas. If not he is not the loving-all forgiving God of the New Testament. I thought the Pope was too hard on Judas to say he closed his heart to love. Without some love in his heart, he could not have felt the remorse he did.
    Remember the first statement, especially, was a more general statement towards man that dies having rejected God.

  • Karla

    Chuck-Judas was sorry he got caught and that his own agenda was not
    accomplished but that is not Repenting. Two guys were next to Jesus on
    the Cross and only one guy went to heaven because only one guy agreed
    his sins were wrong/Repented/had a change of heart about his sin. Judas
    is/was like many people that get caught doing something wrong he was only
    sorry he got caught. Repenting is changin/agreeing sin is wrong! Bible says
    that it would’ve been better if Judas had never been born. We must Repent!

  • Mike

    @ Fran — to clarify — Jesus is God of God, light of light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, of one substance with His Father by whom all things were made.

    1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning…

    It is even more clear in Koine Greek, the original language of the New Testament, when you translate it according to grammatical principles that apply to all Greek written works from the same time period.

    However, if you get creative with Greek Grammar you can come up with bogus translations like “…the Word was ‘a’ God”. Of course the fact that Greek does not have an indefinite article and the transposition of subject and predicate nominative in the word order exhibited in the passage as indicating equality is not recognized by folks like the Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, JW translation of this passage is easily dismissed when comparing the grammar with all existing evidence of how Koine greek actually worked in the 1st century.

  • Mike

    @ Max Not so much out of the mouths of babes, but out of the mouth of someone who is “anti-christ”, that is against the value of Christ for society. Even the atheist Max sees it.

    He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. (2 Thessalonians 2:4)

    What better way to proclaim oneself God than to deny the existence of God leaving oneself to fill that position or to make up doctrines and practices out of one’s own self-claimed authority.

  • nazarene

    Guys: I am argentinian, and I am sorry to say, Francis means well but he is argentinian. We are all a bunch of weirdos. We have a crazy president, the antipope, and a few other “good for nothing” celebrities…

  • mike

    All of these people commenting with a firm conclusion are awesome gods. How else could they be so sure where Judas Iscariot resides. They are all full of hot air. God alone knows the minds and hearts of Judas and everyone else. We don’t know who is in Hell. Pope John Paul said we do not know where Judas is today. He is trustworthy. He is not judging but leaves it to God. Judging souls only has certainty when God does it and he is not reading a book translated from one or two languages to another. He knows it all. The people answering here are not trustworthy. All their arguments pro or con are Hay to borrow a phrase from Thomas Aquinas.
    Discerning is necessary but judging a soul can get one in big trouble with God. The absolute certainty is a give away that Pride has raised its ugly head or control freakism motivated by fear. I pray for Judas Iscariot, Pontius Pilate and Caiphas (high priest who said one person should die for all). I even pray for Hitler. Why? Jesus told us to. They are enemies to Christ followers. Also I am praying for myself in praying for them. There but for the grace of God go I. There is no time with God so I can pray for them now. Padre Pio explained this. God saw our prayers today…..then. Let those who put anyone in Hell listen closer to the Our Father. God demands mercy not judgement When he said Vengeance is mine he didn’t mean he was a Vengeful God. He as saying Let ME be the judge not you. You are not qualified even if you speak Greek and have a Doctorate in Theology. Again let us focus on Mercy. Jesus demand daily merciful acts. Demands. Let us pray for mercy for all. We don’t know where they are. Only God knows. Mercy not judgment. James 2:13 13 For judgment is without mercy, to him that hath not shown mercy; but mercy triumphs over judgment.