The Daily Telegraph carried the following on July 23, 1999:
Heaven is not paradise in the clouds, says Pope
The traditional Christian interpretation of heaven as a kind of paradise "in the clouds" is wrong, according to the Pope.
Instead, he said, the word referred to a state or dimension of fullness of a person's encounter with God.
"The heaven or bliss in which we will find ourselves is not a physical place, nor even an abstract concept," the Pope said.
Rather, he said, addressing 7,000 people in his first audience since his return from holiday, the word 'heaven' referred to what he called a "living and personal relationship with the Holy Trinity".
The Pontiff's intervention was being seen yesterday as in keeping with other public audiences, which he has used to update other interpretations of the catechism.
The Daily Mail reported on July 24:
The Pope slams the pearly gates
For those expecting to be welcomed by St. Peter, paradise has just been postponed.
Because Heaven isn't quite the place we may have been led to believe, says the Pope.
We must not imagine fluffy clouds and angels playing harps in the sky, according to the Pontiff. Instead, we should think of Heaven as a 'state of being' after death.
John Paul II told pilgrims outside the Vatican: "The Heaven in which we will find ourselves is neither an abstraction nor a physical place among the clouds." Instead, he added, it is a "living and personal relationship with the Hold Trinity" and a "blessed community of those who remained faithful to Jesus Christ in their lifetime, and are now at one with His glory".
It was bad news, of course, for the traditional images of art and literature – from Michelangelo to William Blake – which held out the prospect of a shining celestial city.
However, the 79-year-old Pope's remarks earlier this year may have given a hint of the revised Heavenly image. Then, he declared that Christians should stop picturing God as an "old man with a white beard" and instead see Him as a Supreme Being with masculine and feminine aspects.
The traditional image of Hell is cooling down a little as well. The magazine of the Jesuits says it is not all fire and brimstone.
Instead, it is a state of being in which those who had rejected God and "consciously chosen not to do" would be excluded from God's presence for ever.
The other newspapers carried similar reports. All of them failed, however, to see the real significance of the statement. The Church of Rome in her fallible 'infallibilities' does not admit that many of her people ever get to Heaven. Only those who have been canonised – created saints – are sure of Heaven. Others, as well as the Popes themselves, go to Purgatory, where, according to Papal 'infallibility' they burn in the same fire as the fire of Hell until their relations on earth can pay for enough masses to be said or sung to have them released from their torments.
The authority for believing that Heaven is a real place is none other than that of Christ the Truth. He told his disciples that Heaven was not only a real place, but that it was His Father's house of many mansions. Christ also revealed to John the Apostle in the Book of Revelation the glories and wonders of the place inside the pearly gates.
The Pope – the Antichrist – gives the lie to all that by his recent statement. However, he propagates the lie that there is a Purgatory – the Semi-Hell of Rome – for the tormenting and purging of the dead until enough until enough masses have been said for their souls and they can escape.
The Lord Jesus Himself gave the lie to this pagan and papal dogma. He said that there are only two places – Heaven for the redeemed and Hell for the reprobate: "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matt. 7:23-14)
The Pope ought to have declared his financial interest in keeping the entrance doors of Purgatory wide open. Without Purgatory the Pope would be bankrupt and his Church financially ruined. The Reformers called it 'pickpocket Purgatory': they said that by means of it the Pope and his minions the priests picked the pockets of the faithful. 'Many masses, much money; fewer masses, less money; no masses, no money.'
If the Pope told the truth instead of lies about Heaven and Purgatory, the whole system of the Papacy would collapse. These words of Holy Scripture should be carefully studied:
"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? Any now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all the deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (II Thes. 2:3-12)