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Did Pope Francis Say There is No Hell? Vatican Responds

VATICAN CITY – A report by an Italian journalist in which he claimed that Pope Francis denied the existence of hell has been refuted by the Vatican on Thursday, saying that the comments were the author’s own “reconstruction.”

A recent meeting between Pope Francis and Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari, 93, was a “private meeting for the occasion of Easter, however without giving him any interview,” the March 29 communique stated, Catholic News Agency reported.

“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.”

A self-proclaimed atheist, Scalfari is the founder and former editor of Italian leftist newspaper La Repubblica.

In the report published Thursday, Scalfari described himself asking Francis what happens to the souls of sinners, and specifically, where they are punished. He then quoted the pope as follows:

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“They’re not punished. Those who repent obtain forgiveness and enter the ranks of those who contemplate him, but those who don’t repent and can’t be forgiven disappear. A Hell doesn’t exist, what exists is the disappearance of sinning souls.”

The Vatican also accused Scalfari of falsely attributing similar comments to Pope Francis in 2015.

Pope Francis has previously spoken about the existence of hell in public speeches, including at a prayer vigil in March 2014.

There he gave an address in which he said that members of the mafia should change their lives, “while there is still time so that you do not end up in hell. That is what awaits you if you continue on this path.”

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