The Catholic Church leader has denied the rumors alleging that he said hell does not exist.
Eugenio Scalfari of La Repubblica reported last week that Pope Francis denied the existence of hell. The 93-year-old avowed atheist reporter wrote that when asked about the fate of “bad souls,” Pope Francis responded, “Hell does not exist.”
Scalfari said that the pope added, “The disappearance of sinful souls exists.”
After Scalfari made the claims, Catholics and other believers immediately took to every platform available to them to express their fury at this.
The Vatican has now stepped in to adamantly reject Scalfari’s characterization of the conversation, which it insisted was not an official interview but rather a “private meeting.”
On Good Friday, the Vatican issued a statement saying:
“What is reported by the author in today’s article is the fruit of his reconstruction, in which the precise words uttered by the Pope are not cited. No quotations in the aforementioned article, then, should be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father.”
Also, an article by the Catholic News Service said Scalfari has admitted “on more than one occasion” that he doesn’t take notes or record his conversations with the pope. In other words, he relies largely on memory and recollection, as opposed to documentation.
The news outlet also reminded readers that this is a favored subject of Scalfari’s. It reported the journalist wrote a similar article in 2014, so this is a resurrection, of sorts.
The news service wrote:
“According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, ‘immediately after death, the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, “eternal fire.” ‘
” ‘The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs,’ the catechism says.”
The religious news concluded with the advice:
“Convert, there is still time for not ending up in hell. It is what is waiting for you if you continue on this path.”