“There is no hell where the souls of sinners suffer in eternity”, Pope Francis he told Eugenio Scalfari, a 93-year-old atheist philosopher, today, during a conversation in the Vatican.
Francis said: “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 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, especially after the 93-year-old Scalfari admitted to never using a tape recorder during interviews.
In response to the interview, the Vatican’s press office released a statement in which it claimed the quotes used by Scalfari were not directly attributable to the pope, but a “reconstruction.”
The Catholic, and majority of Christian teachings imply that upon death, those saved ascend to heaven. It is in this context that the Pope prays to Mary believing she is in heaven to intercede before ‘her son’.