Vatican: Pope Francis did not say there is no hell

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Speaking with respected journalist Eugenio Scalfari, the founder of one of Italy's leading newspapers, La Repubblica, Pope Francis explained that there is no Hell, and that sinners will not be punished for eternity.

The article, which ran on March 29, reported that Francis said "hell does not exist".

According to Scalfari's article in Thursday's La Repubblica, he asked the Pope where "bad souls" go and where they are punished. 'The disappearance of sinful souls exists'.

The Vatican faces a fresh communications controversy after the pope reportedly denied the existence of hell during an interview. "No quotation of the aforementioned article must therefore be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father", said Thomas Rosica, an English-language spokesman for the Vatican. Even if Pope Francis believes that Scalfari's soul depends on continuing their conversations and allowing Scalfari to take egregious license with his reportage of them, he must know that the inevitable results of his commerce with the man are confusion and scandal, hence that his persistence in it constitutes a failure in his mission to confirm the brethren.

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Despite Catholic leadership casting doubt on Scalfari's account of the interview given his history of using his memory - again he is 93 - to quote the pope without relying on notes or recorded audio, some journalists noted that the Vatican did not deny the story as false.

Catholic Church doctrine affirms the existence of hell and its eternity.

The Papacy has denied a widely credited statement to Pope Francis that hell does not exist. Hell, by contrast, was "the ultimate effect of sin itself".

Pope Francis urged inmates at a Rome prison on Thursday to never let their hopes be clouded like cataracts cloud the eyes - and revealed that he suffers from the condition and has to have surgery for it next year. "Everyone always has the opportunity to change life and one can not judge", said Francis to the prisoners of the city's all-male Regina Coeli prison.

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The statements spurred Catholics and other believers to grab their virtual pitchforks to express their fury, which the Vatican has since tried to cool.

This is the fifth time Francis has sat down with Scalfari since the pontiff's election in 2013, and on those previous occasions, the Vatican has said something similar after Scalfari published a major account of their conversation. What is reported by the author in today's article is the fruit of his reconstruction, in which the precise words uttered by the Pope are not cited.

The Catholic Church has long said hell is real.

"While there is still time, so that you do not end up in hell".

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