* This story has been updated to include a statement from the Vatican (below).
In another interview with his longtime atheist friend, Eugenio Scalfari, Pope Francis claims that Hell does not exist and that condemned souls just “disappear.” This is a denial of the 2,000-year-old teaching of the Catholic Church about the reality of Hell and the eternal existence of the soul.
The interview is headlined, “The Pope: It is an honor to be called revolutionary.” (Il Papa: “È un onore essere chiamato rivoluzionario.”)
Scalfari says to the Pope, “Your Holiness, in our previous meeting you told me that our species will disappear in a certain moment and that God, still out of his creative force, will create new species. You have never spoken to me about the souls who died in sin and will go to hell to suffer it for eternity. You have however spoken to me of good souls, admitted to the contemplation of God. But what about bad souls? Where are they punished?”
Pope Francis says, “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. There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “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.’ 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.” (1035)
The Catechism further states, “The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: ‘Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.’
“Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where ‘men will weep and gnash their teeth.'”
Pope Benedict XVI said in a 2007 sermon, “Jesus came to tell us that he wants us all in Heaven and that Hell, of which so little is said in our time, exists and is eternal for those who close their hearts to his love.”
As for the human soul, the Catholic Church teaches that it is eternal, immortalin countless places throughout the Catechism. One instance, “Endowed with ‘a spiritual and immortal’ soul, the human person is ‘the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake.’ From his conception, he is destined for eternal beatitude.” (1703)
* In a statement released on Mar. 29, after Scalfari’s report garnered worldwide attention, the Vatican said:
“The Holy Father Francis recently received the founder of the newspaper La Repubblica in a private meeting on the occasion of Easter, without however giving him any interviews. What is reported by the author in today’s article [in La Repubblica] is the result of his reconstruction, in which the textual 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.”
DOES HELL EXIST? POPE FRANCIS SAYS NO IN NEW INTERVIEW THAT COULD CHANGE CATHOLIC CHURCH FOREVER
Catholic Pope Francis made a startling revelation Thursday by stating that hell did not exist, in an interview with a leading liberal Italian newspaper.
In an article titled “It Is an Honor to Be Called a Revolutionary,” La Repubblicafounder Eugenio Scalfari acknowledged the pontiff’s previous remarks about how “good souls” who sought repentance from God would receive it and then asked, “What about the bad souls?” Seemingly going against centuries of core Christian belief, Pope Francis said the souls of sinners simply vanished after death and were not subject to an eternity of punishment.
“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 said, as translated by Catholic blog Rorate Caeli.
“There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls,” he added.
Shortly after the article was published, the Vatican issued a statement that claimed the article was “not a faithful transcript” and that the meeting between Pope Francis and Scalfari was a private meeting 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 in a statement translated by the Catholic News Agency.
The Catholic New Agency also pointed out that, after a controversial 2013 article, Scalfari admitted that some words attributed to the pontiff “were not shared by Pope Francis” himself.
Francis is the 266th Catholic pope and the first to be born outside of Europe. Born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires to an Italian family that fled the fascist rule of Benito Mussolini, he entered the Society of Jesus, commonly known as the Jesuits, at the age of 21.
Since becoming pope following the resignation of his predecessor in 2013, Francis has been known a vocal supporter of reform for the Catholic Church and advocate for the poor. He has pushed for greater outreach to the young and other faiths as well as more liberal attitudes toward controversial topics such as contraception, evolution and homosexuality.
These ideals have often drawn the ire of the Catholic Church’s more conservative clergy, some of whom have pushed back against Pope Francis’s leadership.
Pope Francis has reportedly overturned millennia of Catholic teaching and said there is no hell for non-believers and sinners – only nothingness.
The comments, reported in Italian newspaper La Repubblica, were made to his long-time friend, atheist philosopher Eugenio Scalfari.
Mr Scalfari regularly meets with the Pope, but doesn’t record or transcribe their conversations.
“Hell does not exist – what exists is the disappearance of sinful souls,” the Pope said, according to Mr Scalfari.
“They are not punished, those who repent obtain the forgiveness of God and go among the ranks of the souls who contemplate him. But those who do not repent, and therefore cannot be forgiven, disappear. There is no hell – there is the disappearance of sinful souls.”
After La Repubblica published Mr Scalfari’s claims, the Vatican issued a statement which didn’t deny the Pope’s alleged comments, but said they should not “be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father”.
The Catholic Church has long said hell is real. The Pope just last week warned members of the mafia they’d end up in hell if they didn’t give up their lives of crime.
Last year, the Pope said Satan was a real person, “not like mist”.
Mr Scalfari is the founder and former editor of La Repubblica, reportedly the Pope’s favourite newspaper. He says the Pope and he regularly chat, but like to meet in person for lengthy chats on religion and politics.
According to the Bible, those who sin and fail to accept Jesus Christ as their lord and saviour are “thrown into the lake of fire”.
Pope Francis ‘abolishes hell’, saying souls of unrepentant sinners will simply disappear
It is been accepted Christian doctrine since the founding of the church, but Pope Francis appears this morning to have abolished Hell.
In a move that will enrage conservative Catholics, the Pontiff told La Repubblicathat the souls of unrepentant sinners were not punished in the afterlife, but simply disappeared.
“Hell doesn’t exist, the disappearance of the souls of sinners exists,” he told Eugenio Scalfari, a 93-year-old atheist philosopher, during a conversation in the Vatican.
It was the fifth meeting between Pope Francis and Mr Scalfari, the founder of one of Italy’s leading newspapers. Mr Scalfari has retired as editor of the Rome daily, but continues as one of its leading writers.
The previous conversations between the two men have also caused controversy and prompted…