News outlets and social media are abuzz with reports that Pope Francis denied the reality of Hell. Is there an ounce of truth to any of these statements? Of course not, Hell is most definitely real and Pope Francis didn’t say anything on the contrary.

The allegations came from a recent meeting with Pope Francis and 93-year-old Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari. Scalfari was not given an audience with the supreme pontiff for an interview, but instead was “a private meeting for the occasion of Easter.” Scalfari wrote a long story about their meeting, and included a question and answer section at the end.

According to Scalfari’s article in Thursday’s edition of La Repubblica, a popular Italian daily general interest newspaper, he asked Pope Francis where “bad souls” go and where they are punished. Scalfari quoted Pope Francis as responding verbatim:

“They are not punished. Those who repent obtain God’s forgiveness and take their place among the ranks of those who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot be forgiven disappear. A Hell doesn’t exist, the disappearance of sinning souls exists.”

However, in the communique issued by the Holy See on Thursday, they say Scalfari’s article was a fabrication – “the fruit of his reconstruction,” and not a “faithful transcription of the Holy Father’s words.”

The meeting was Scalfari’s fifth with the Holy Father, and not the first time he misrepresented his words either. Following controversy over quotes the journalist had attributed to Pope Francis in November of 2013, he admitted that at least some of the words he had published “were not shared by the Pope himself.” Following the controversy, he met with journalists of the Foreign Press Assocation in Rome and “said some of the Pope’s words I reported, were not shared by Pope Francis.”

What is the official teaching by the Church on Hell? Read the Catechism below:

“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.” – Catechism of the Catholic Church 1035

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  1. ‘ …was crucified, died and was buried. HE descended into hell. On the third day He……’
    our everyday prayers, without comment

  2. Neither the Vatican press office nor Pope Francis have unequivocally confirmed that he’ll is real. I really just expected the Holy Father to be, well, Catholic. In his speeches he does seem very bothered about the planet, climate, redistribution of wealth. He often does not mention Our Lord. I feel like we don’t have a good shepherd and he just seems to be causing confusion. Can I please ask everyone, whether you agree with me or not, please pray for the Holy Father, priests and religious and the Church.
    Viva Cristo Rey!

      • Yes Peter I agree. He has actually denied hell twice- same words to Scalfari. Just because he didn’t say those exact words doesn’t mean he didn’t give the basic intent in his words. He keeps giving Scalfari “meetings” and then doesn’t fully retract what is said or even deny it!! Read the “denial” by the press office people and read the truth. It’s bareky even written “between the lines”. Why do websites feel the need to defend him? Just defend the faith instead. This headline is deceiving.

        • The last time he discussed this topic with Scalfafi was in 2015, just so you can look it up. And for the record, a lot of people came to his defence over AL; they said he didn’t really mean that you could go to Communion in a state of sin or to Reconciliation in repentant…or that he denied intrinsic evil/mortal sin. That he didn’t really propose Relativism… but he did and that’s been formally announced now. Have any of you ever heard of double-speak or a double Magisterium? That is what he’s doing. Look it up. Yes, pray very much for the man who sits in the Chair of Peter -and all the Church- that they may be true to all of Christ’s teachings. Christ is over the Pope.

      • God gave us the this planet t care for it. It’s not unCatholic to be concerned about how we are treating such a gift.

        The redistribution of wealth is a constant message in the bible. Remember the poor widow who gave 2 copper coins which was everything she had as opposed to the wealthy, who put in large amounts but certainly not everything they had.

        • Don’t you think God calls us to voluntarily share what we have? If our wealth is redistributed by the government, by threat of force, then their is no charity in our hearts, and I don’t think this would be pleasing to God. We should help our neighbors of our own accord, not leave it up to the government to do it for us.

    • We have an amazingly spiritual and humanistic Shepard. What are you talking about. Our Lord exits within the guidance for the planet, climate, redistribution of wealth. You may want to ask yourself what it is to be Catholic because if you can’t see that the Lord is with our Pope there is a problem there.

      • Their in lies the problem with you and today’s Catholics as well as our Pope… Humanistic/Humanism. “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s”. Pope’s from the past have spoken out (and rightfully so) especially before the turn of the 20th century against all types of Humanism and it’s vile “religion of man” preachings. “I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt NOT have any strange gods before Me.”

    • We have an amazingly spiritual and humanistic Shepard. What are you talking about. Our Lord exits within the guidance for the planet, climate, redistribution of wealth. You may want to ask yourself what it is to be Catholic because if you can’t see that the Lord is with our Pope there is a problem there.
      That is in response to Peter F

    • I agree with your faith although truly isn’t the time for the Pope nor any Christians believers to deal with the distribution of Wealth, Wards and Climate Changes the best he can do is give an opinion and you know he will be criticize no Matters what, God Bless you.

    • Sorry my friend I disagree with you.
      Our Holy Father is a fine example of what a good shepherd is. We have for very long time been talking and praying in the Lord’s name. Pope Francis does that and more; he teaches us to care for our planet and all of God’s creation. He has been very vocal on issues that are unpopular today, like welcoming refugees/migrants, that marriage is a holy covenant between a man and a woman, etc. etc. He must be always thinking “How would our Lord respond in this situation?” when he speaks and lives in his papacy.
      You can read and understand the Gospels according to your level as long as you are on a Spiritual journey toward God. May you be blessed in your search for direction my friend.

  3. The problem is, neither His Holiness nor the Vatican have said he DIDN’T say it. That’s the issue – more confusion. Leaders lead, followers follow. Someone needs to let him know.

  4. As a faithful Catholic, this Holy Father really confounds me on many issues. If this reporter has misquoted the pontiff often in the past, why would he be so dense to sit down with him again. I am tired of reading quotes like “the Pope didn’t really say this of that…what he really meant was”. We have to believe the Holy Spirit will guide him and us through these gaffs.

    • Wow I could have said it better ! If the guys Gona spread lies then why meet him ! But it could be an old friend who like to tweak the pope lol . Who knows why he does what he does . But it does get people riled up and talking lol

  5. Totally agree with you. We need to pray for Our Holy Father. We really need to storm heaven with prayers for our priests as well. Thank you

  6. Unfortunately, there is the reality of hell. I believe Pope Francis understands the existence of this terrible place. But who goes there no one knows but God himself. Our job on earth is to see that we live a good life and acting in accordance with the gospel. There is a road that we choose, wide or narrow. As far as this 93 year old Eugenio Scafaldi is concerned, I think it’s probably time for this man to retire.

    • Actually a lot of people go there(to hell). -Vision of Fatima-
      and one of the known saints has an incorrupt body. ‘who’ goes there is not known for sure but we do know that mortal sinners who are unrepentant and die in that state, the Church teaches, are the damned. (Not the annilihated). And becaus the majority of souls go to hell, including many bishops and priests, the pope should be primarily concerned with the work of the Church as given by Christ; that is the Salvation of Souls. The other teachings are second nature to a soul who seeks Salvation and is properly catechised.

  7. How do you know that the Pope did not say that? The Vatican, nor the Pope, denied that the Scalfari interview was substantially true. Cardinal Burke states that, “Instead of clearly reasserting the truth about the immortality of the human soul and hell, the [Vatican] denial only states that some of the words quoted are not the Pope’s,” he said. “It does not say that the erroneous and even heretical ideas expressed by these words are not shared by the Pope, and that the Pope repudiates these ideas as contrary to the Catholic Faith.”

    Burke went on to say, the episode “went beyond what is tolerable,”, adding that to have a well-known atheist speaking on behalf of the Pope in “denying the immortality of the human soul and the existence of hell, has been a source of profound scandal not only for many Catholics but also for many people in the secular world who have respect for the Catholic Church and its teachings, even if they do not share them.”

    He also decried the fact that the story came out on Holy Thursday, “one of the holiest days of the year,” and that the Holy See’s response was “highly inadequate.”

    • Yes interesting observation Ernest. That last statement means that we choose for ourselves heaven or hell. While in one manner we do, by choosing the path of reconciliation or continuing the path of evil, we cannot choose once we die. Because our choices were made while we lived, the judgment seat of God gives us what we pre-determined for ourselves.

  8. I agree with your faith although truly isn’t the time for the Pope nor any Christians believers to deal with the distribution of Wealth, Wards and Climate Changes the best he can do is give an opinion and you know he will be criticize no Matters what, God Bless you.

  9. This pope has been around for 81 years. A Priest a Bishop and a Cardinal and now the Pope. These are all teaching positions. Teaching us (the laity) the Catholic Faith. There has been nothing but confusion coming from the Vatican since his election. He has replaced many Cardinals who teach from the Truths laid out in the Cathechism of The Catholic Church to very very liberal minded cardinals who have very different views about where they would like to bring the Church. Anyone who is following Vatican news will know what I am talking about. This Holy Father came in with an agenda to Revolutionize the Church. Hence, all the confusion, all the double speak. He has a method of using confusion to get done what he sets out to do. Much attention on Climate change, Immigration and refugee problems ( very serious world problems) but using them to DISTRACT from the changes that he is trying to get implemented into Catholic teaching. Read Amoris Latitia. Popes are elected to an Office. They are to use that Office to uphold and teach from the Truths of the Gospel message that has been handed down to the Church for over 2,000 years. God is a merciful God who loves us so much that He gives us many opportunities to repent, (change our sinful behavior) so that we can obtain His Saving Mercy and Grace. I hear this pope talk a lot about God’s Mercy but nary a word about Repentance. There is something very wrong about this message. More confusion!

  10. what really gets me is that the Vatican Press Office should be vetting those who sit down with the pontiff who happen to be journalists or bloggers. Those who have represented his words accurately should be given preference over those who have not. In fact, perhaps only they should be given access.
    the Vatican is responsible for protecting our Holy Father from those with neferious intent so that the faithful are not reading falsehoods about some aspect of our faith.

    • Can they also protect the pope from himself? And us from erroneous teachings? We are not protected at all at present. We are like sheep ravenged by wolves

  11. I completely agree with you, Andrea. Double speak is not the way to guide or teach the faithful. It is still disturbing that he has not answered the questions of the Dubia. Also there is no reason for him to constantly address Climate-change, (whch is a natural, normal phenomen,) Immigration or other country governmental affairs. Many of the important changes and corrections in the Vatican which unfortunately Pope Benedict XVI, was not able to correct, especially in the Curia have not been addressed. The sheer size of the Catholic Church should be enough to keep him busy. I am sure the Holy Spirit is doing double time. It is very important that we pray, pray, pray for this Pope who has a wonderful Charisma, but is not interpreting Scripture according to the teaching of JESUS.

  12. Anyone seeking the Truth should be praying ?? fervently to God for Him to reveal the Truth to them. Because the media does not know the full Truth, not either side, but God does. Be as wise as serpents but as harmless as doves. God’s Wisdom is a precious gift. Seek it day and night.

  13. The pope said that the Jews do not have to believe that Jesus was the Messiah in order to be saved. Acts. 4:12″ Peter talking about Jesus, “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” The Pope is a first class heretic.

  14. I would like to add a few points to support or counter some of the comments made in this thread.
    The Pope loves to engage with people of various backgrounds and that includes atheists, people of other faiths, non-Catholic Christians, homosexuals, divorced individuals, outcasts of society etc. in the knowledge that we are all created by the One, Loving God, and in the hope that we can build bridges and exchange ideas for the good of all mankind. As God does not give up on anybody, Pope Francis did not give up on meeting with Scalfari … again, despite him having misquoted the Pope previously. I admire him for that.
    I would also like to add that our Pope being a Jesuit and having risen in the ranks of the hierarchy to finally be elected Pope has been on a long, full-time spiritual journey that most of us in this forum would have barely scratched and so his depth of understanding goes well beyond ours. Keep in mind he that he shared his thoughts with an intellectual of high caliber; he was not speaking to Catholics at large. That is not double speak but engaging at the appropriate level.
    I wonder if some (not all) critics of the Pope are actually Catholics or others just using the opportunity to engage in ‘Pope-bashing’!

  15. Read st john of the cross. He reminds us of the dangers of our exile. Your comments indicate to me you are striving towards the narrow gates. If we keep Yahweh in the center, we will recognise His voice. The war is inside us. The exterior? Distractions. Be still. Or risk adding to the confusion. Pray for generousity of thought. Let us not give away our peace so readily to the deceptor. The mystery of our faith. Trust our Lord to write on crooked lines. Pray


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