The Vatican denies that the Pope said that hell 'doesn't exist'

Elias Hubbard
April 4, 2018

The Holy See said a reported interview between Pope Francis and an Italian journalist, which claims the Pope denied the existence of hell, should not be considered an accurate depiction of Francis' words, but the author's own "reconstruction".

Almost every time a Francis interview has appeared on Repubblica's front page, the Vatican press office has insisted the pope's words weren't necessarily accurate, without denying them outright or explaining what he meant.

It was the fifth time in five years that Francis has spoken to Repubblica's founder, Eugenio Scalfari, a 93-year-old devout atheist who acknowledges he doesn't record or take notes during interviews.

The Catholic news outlet says Scalfari also has a history of misquoting or reconstructing things the pope did not say.

[Francis:] "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 can not therefore be forgiven disappear".

It was at least the third time the Vatican has issued statements distancing itself from Scalfari's articles about the pope, including one in 2014 in which the journalist said the pontiff had abolished sin.

"Today we implore fruits of peace upon the entire world, beginning with the beloved and long suffering land of Syria whose people are worn down by an apparently endless war", the pope said.

Since his election in 2013, Francis has often urged Catholic priests and prelates to live simply, to serve others, and not to seek careers and status in the Church or in society at large.

The alleged quotes ascribed to Pope Francis directly contradict the many public remarks he has made in homilies and speeches confirming the existence of hell.

The statement from the Vatican Press Office said the Pope and Scalfari held a "private meeting for the occasion of Easter, however without giving him any interview". It states that "souls of sinners descend into hell where they suffer eternal fire", according to the BBC.

What's been the reaction to this story?

That has prompted questions about why the pope continually lets himself be quoted by Scalfari.

Bottom line: no one knows.

Francis told the tens of thousands of people listening in a flower-bedecked St. Peter's Square in the Vatican that the Middle East conflict did "not spare the defenseless", calling for "reconciliation for the Holy Land".

What do you think - do you believe hell exists?

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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