Just before Good Friday last month, Pope Francis was accused of denying the existence of hell by an atheist Italian journalist, Eugenio Scalfari, of La Repubblica.  While the Vatican has called into question the authenticity of what the pope said in the private conversation, one thing is conspicuously missing a week later – a refutation of the account by Pope Francis himself.  The story of the alleged remarks garnered international coverage in major media. It created a firestorm of controversy among Catholics

and non-Catholics alike. Yet, the pope himself has made no public statements about what he actually said or believes about the existence of hell.  To review what Scalfari reported, he quoted the pope as saying: “Hell does not exist.” “The disappearance of sinful souls exists.”  “Souls are not punished. Those who repent obtain God’s forgiveness and go among the ranks of those who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot be forgiven disappear. There is no hell – there is the disappearance of sinful souls.”  READ MORE