Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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"And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments ..." (Luke 16:23)

Is Pope John Paul II in Heaven?

Rev. Angus Stewart


Not even John Paul II himself, during his time on earth, would claim that at death he would be with Christ in paradise. For according to official Roman Catholic teaching, no one can know that they will go to heaven when they die, except by special direct revelation. The supposed merit of masses, penance, prayers to the saints, fastings, pilgrimages, indulgences and all the rest cannot bring the comfort and assurance of everlasting salvation. For who can say that their works are pure? And when have they done enough? As the proverb asks, "Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?" (Prov. 20:9). 

Moreover, the Roman Catholic Church itself does not believe that John Paul II is in heaven. Witness the requiem masses (masses for the dead) and prayers offered on behalf of his soul. According to Roman Catholicism it is only those in purgatory and not those in Heaven who benefit from such masses and prayers. But purgatory is a fable! As the Westminster Confession puts it, "Besides these two places for souls separated from their bodies [Heaven and Hell], the scripture acknowledges none" (32:1).

While many "well-meaning people" reckon that the pope is in Heaven and the Roman Church thinks that he is in purgatory, the biblical Christian realizes that he is in Hell. Below I will give two simple reasons for this conclusion: his preaching another gospel and his idolatry.

(1) The deceased pope denied justification by faith alone in Christ alone, which is called by God "the truth of the gospel" (Gal. 2:5, 14). John Paul II lived "in bondage" (4:9; 5:1) and under God’s "curse" (3:10), for he did not obey "the truth" (3:1; 4:16; 5:7) being "bewitched" by Satan and sin (3:1). God is not mocked: every one who "perverts the gospel of Christ" (1:7) "shall bear his punishment, whosoever he be," including the pope (5:10). The apostle Paul proclaims, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed" (1:8). Then the apostle repeats the solemn word: "As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed" (1:9).

If apostles or angels are accursed if they preach another gospel, how will the pope escape? As the leader of over 1 billion Roman Catholics, John Paul II preached the false gospel of salvation by faith and works on all continents leading millions upon millions of people to Hell. He even presided as the head of a church which officially damned the gospel of Christ and all who believe that gospel, for the Council of Trent with all its anathemas (1545-1563) was affirmed at Vatican II (1962-1965).

(2) Think too of all his idolatries as the pontiff of the false church of Rome. John Paul II is a life-long worshipper of the wafer in the mass, and he adores and kisses religious pictures, idols, crucifixes etc. He dedicated himself and his whole pontificate to the Virgin Mary and has sought to promote Mariolatry all around the world. He made no secret that his personal motto is totus tuus sum Maria (Mary, I’m all yours). Then there are his blasphemous claims to be the head of the church and the vicar of Christ on earth. God’s Word—the standard of His judgment (John 12:48)—is very clear. "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Neither fornicators, nor idolaters ... shall inherit the kingdom of God" (I Cor. 6:9-10). Outside the heavenly city are "idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie," for "idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Rev. 22:15; 21:8).

But there is mercy with God for all Hell-deserving sinners like us who turn from the "dung" of their own self-righteousnesses (Phil. 3:8; Isa. 64:6) to God’s perfect righteousness in Christ alone!