The Vatican on Thursday worked to clarify whether Pope Francis denied the existence of hell in an interview with a well-known Italian journalist.
The controversy began when the 93-year-old journalist Eugenio Scalfari, the founder of the daily La Repubblica, published a report in which he asked Francis where "evil souls" would land, USA Today reported. Francis & # 39; s answer, according to the journalist, was that those who repent could be forgiven, but those who did not "disappear."
The article, which ran on March 29, reported that Francis said, "Hell does not exist."
"They are not punished, those who repent receive the forgiveness of God and enter into the rank of souls who look at him, but those who can not repent and therefore can not be forgiven disappear," Francis says said. "There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls."
Scalfari, an atheist, does not normally use tape recorders during interviews, the USA Today report said. The Vatican said that history was the result of the "reconstruction" of the rapporteur.
"What the author reports in today's article is the result of his reconstruction, in which the literal words spoken by the Pope are not quoted," Vatican said. "No quote from the above article must therefore be considered a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father."
The Catholic News Agency reported that Scalfari had "misrepresented" the pope in the past. The agency reported that Scalfari "falsely reported that Pope Francis made comments in 2015 denying the existence of hell."
According to the teachings of the Catholic Church, there is a hell for eternity.
"Immediately after death The souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin, go to hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell," eternal fire. "The main punishment of hell is the eternal separation from God, in that only man can possess the life and happiness he was created for and longs for, "says CNA.
In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI said that it exists and it is eternal, even though nobody talks much about it anymore. "
Pope John Paul II declared in 1999 that heaven" is neither an abstraction nor a physical place in the clouds, but the fullness of communion with God The goal of human life. "Hell, on the other hand," was the ultimate consequence of sin itself … Instead of referring to a place, hell indicates the state of those who are free and definitive of God, the source of all life and joy.
The Associated Press has contributed to this report