Vatican distances itself from Pope’s ‘no Hell’ quotation
Veteran Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari, 93, left, has again claimed that Pope Francis does not believe in the existence of Hell.
According to this report, he made the claim today in a front-page La Repubblica article after his his latest wide-ranging conversation with the Pope.
On the existence of Hell, Scalfari described himself asking Francis what happens to the souls of sinners, and specifically, where they are punished. He then quoted the Pope as saying:
They’re not punished. Those who repent obtain forgiveness and enter the ranks of those who contemplate him, but those who don’t repent and can’t be forgiven disappear. A Hell doesn’t exist, what exists is the disappearance of sinning souls.
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke issued a now-customary distancing statement, describing the conversation as a “private meeting, without releasing any interview”, and that Scalfari’s article was:
The fruit of his own reconstruction …. and should not be considered as a faithful transcript of the Holy Father’s words.
For the record, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the official compendium of Catholic teaching, upholds the existence of Hell:
The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of Hell and its eternity. 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’.
Francis himself has spoken of Hell as a real option for one’s eternal destiny on multiple occasions, including a 2017 to the famed Marian shrine of Fatima.
This is the fifth time Francis has sat down with Scalfari, a atheist, since the pontiff’s election in 2013, and on those previous occasions, the Vatican has said something similar about Hell after Scalfari published accounts of their conversations.
In 2016 Scalfari told a large audience in Rome that Pope Francis asked him not to convert to the Catholic faith because then he’d have to find another stimulating non-believer to speak with.
Such a task, Scalfari quoted the Pope as saying, would be “a hell of a job”.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn