Apparently suggested by the Holy Father in this story from Tradition in Action.
On three different occasions, Francis has praised Judas publicly, suggesting that the apostle who betrayed Our Lord Jesus Christ is a misunderstood personality and “the end of his story” possibly is not Hell. We should not be surprised since on other occasions the same Pope, assuring us he is following in the tradition of John Paul II, proposes that Hell as a physical place does not exist as well.
The most recent attempt to rehabilitate Judas is in the book Padre Nostro, an interview Francis granted to Don Marco Posso. An excerpt published by Il Corriere della Sera on November 23, 2017, reveals Francis’ denial of the traditional Catholic teaching that Judas was condemned. Of the three persons involved in Christ’s Passion – St. Peter, the good thief and Judas – Pope Bergoglio affirms that “the case that moves me most is Judas’ shame.”
He goes through the story, presenting Judas as “a difficult character to understand”: first, he sincerely repents; second, the “righteous ones – the priests – reject him; third, since he “can’t find a way out of his situation,” he is overcome with a “guilt that suffocates him.” A sympathetic portrayal of the traitor Judas, who, according to the Pope, is himself betrayed by the lack of mercy of the “righteous ones,” the priests…
Then, he goes on to find a conjectural medieval “proof” for his theory that Judas could be saved: “Perhaps someone might think, ‘this pope is a heretic…’ But, no! They should go see a particular medieval capital of a column in the Basilica of St. Mary Magdalen in Vézelay, Burgundy [France] … On that capital, on one side there is Judas, hanged; but on the other is the Good Shepherd, who is carrying him on his shoulders and is carrying him away.”
Francis confesses that he loves that particular sculpture and his falsified interpretation so much that he has a photograph of it behind his desk at the Vatican to help him meditate on the great mercy of God. “There is a smile on the lips of the Good Shepherd, which I wouldn’t say is ironic, but a little bit complicit,” he explains.
For anyone with a middling knowledge of medieval art and theology, this interpretation is a blatant misrepresentation of History. First the column in the Vézelay Basilica that houses the relics of St. Mary Magdalene is obviously presenting Judas as the traitor and a symbol of horror and offering it for public disdain: His tongue hangs grotesquely out of his mouth and his eyes pop out madly as he hangs from the noose he fashioned for himself in despair.
This capital was carved between 1115 and 1120, Art History books tell us, and was intended, like similar depictions in other churches, to graphically bring to the minds of the faithful the terrible fate of the apostle who betrayed Christ, which was believed and preached to be the eternal fires of Hell. This is, in fact, where Dante – following traditional Catholic teaching – places Judas, in the deepest pit, or ninth circle, reserved for the greatest traitors.
The man carrying off the dead body could hardly be the “Good Shepherd,” or Jesus Christ, as Pope Bergoglio pretends. By the 11th century Christ was always portrayed in art and sculpture with a divine halo, a beard and invariably dressed in a long robe, the seamless garment Our Lady wove for Him.
This clean-shaven man with his short laborer tunic and without a halo is clearly carrying out the distasteful job of carting off the body of the suicidal Judas who, according to custom, received a shameful burial after dusk. Thus, the worker’s “ironic” expression that Francis prefers to interpret as Christ’s “complicity” with the crime of Judas has nothing to do with feelings of empathy; instead it simply express the repugnance of that worker in carrying such a disgusting burden.
Francis, so eager to rehabilitate Judas and imagine he could be saved, blatantly falsifies not only the symbolism of the column of Vézelay, but also medieval theology.
Retrieved December 7, 2017 from http://www.traditioninaction.org/HotTopics/P046_Judas.htm