Pope Francis has been quoted as saying “there is no hell where the souls of sinners suffer in eternity”.
The Pope was quoted in a Thursday interview with Italian daily La Repubblica as saying “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,” he reportedly added.
The Pope was interviewed by Eugenio Scalfari, a veteran Italian journalist and atheist who regularly muses about faith and religion, and enjoys access to the leader of the Catholic Church.
In the past, the veracity of quotes he attributed to the Pope has been called into question.
The Vatican press office has issued a statement noting that Scalfari’s quotation cannot be considered “a faithful transcription” of the Pope’s actual words.
Scalfari, who has now interviewed Pope Francis several times, does not record the sessions or take notes; he relies on his memory to reconstruct the conversations.
However, the Vatican has never complained about Scalfari’s work, and Pope Francis has continued giving interviews to him.