WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Pope Francis shocked the world when he made a surprising revelation Thursday by saying that hell did not exist.
- The pope was interviewed by Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari, a self-proclaimed atheist, who befriended the pope in 2013.
- The Vatican has scrambled shortly after the article was published, clarifying that the article was “not a faithful transcript.”
On an article published by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Pope Francis allegedly made comments that seemed to be denying the existence of hell. Eugenio Scalfari, the newspaper editor, had a private meeting with Pope Francis before the Easter weekend.
Scalfari recognized the pope’s past remarks about how “good souls” who asked repentance from God would receive it.
“What about the bad souls?” Scalfari asked the pope.
Scalfari claims that Pope Francis told him, “hell doesn’t exist, the disappearance of the souls of sinners exists.”
“They are not punished, those who repent obtain the forgiveness of God and enter the rank of souls who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot, therefore, be forgiven disappear,” Pope Francis was quoted as saying, as translated by Catholic blog Rorate Caeli.
The Vatican issued a statement immediately after the article’s publication, claiming that the article was “not a faithful transcript” and that it was a private meeting between the two and not a formal interview.
“What is reported by the author in today’s article is the result of his reconstruction, in which the literal words pronounced by the Pope are not quoted. No quotation of the aforementioned article must therefore be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father,” the Vatican said as translated by the Catholic News Agency.
The Catholic New Agency also noted that in 2013 Scalfari conceded that some words attributed to the pope “were not shared by Pope Francis” himself.
“Scalfari’s fifth meeting with Pope Francis, it is not the first time he has misrepresented the Pope’s words following a private audience,” the news agency wrote.
Pope Francis has been known a vocal supporter of reform for the Catholic Church and champion for the poor since becoming pope in 2013. He has since reached out to the youth and other religions. He is also known for voicing out his opinions liberally toward controversial topics including homosexuality, contraception, migration and the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Church’s more conservative clergy have been upset with the pope’s principles, “some of whom have pushed back against Pope Francis’ leadership.”