The Vatican has reacted to an Italian journalist’s report quoting Pope Francis as saying “hell does not exist.”
In a statement on Thursday, the Vatican said though the pontiff met with La Repubblica co-founder, Eugenio Scalfari, he did not grant an interview or make such statements.
In the statement, the Vatican called the article by Mr Scalfari “the fruit of his reconstruction.”
“After death, the souls of people who repent are pardoned by God and join in his contemplation,
“but those who do not repent, and therefore cannot be pardoned, disappear.
“Hell does not exist – what exists is the disappearance of sinful souls,” Mr Scalfari had quoted the pope as saying.
The journalist, a self-acclaimed atheist who has had previous meetings with the pope, has been accused of making up claims about the pope’s views in the past.
The National Catholic Reporter quotes the statement from the Vatican as stating that the pope and Mr Scalfari had a “private meeting” with an Easter greeting but not an interview. The agency noted that it was their fifth meeting.
“No quotes of the aforementioned article should, therefore, be considered as a faithful transcription of the Holy Father’s words,” the statement said.
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