Pope Francis reportedly proclaimed that hell does not exist and that condemned souls disappear when they die, in a pronouncement that runs contrary to 2000 years of Christian teaching.
In an article in the Italian paper titled “The Pope: It is an honor to be called a revolutionary,” Scalfari is quoted asking the pontiff, “You have never spoken to me about the souls who died in sin and will go to hell to suffer it for eternity. You have however spoken to me of good souls, admitted to the contemplation of God. But what about bad souls? Where are they punished?”
The Pope responded, “They are not punished, those who repent obtain the forgiveness of God and enter the rank of souls who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot therefore be forgiven disappear. There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls.”
The Catholic leader’s view does not square with the Bible’s multiple affirmations of the existence of hell.
The late evangelist Billy Graham wrote on the subject, “It might surprise you to learn that the person in the Bible who spoke the most about hell’s reality was Jesus.”
Graham continued: “He repeatedly warned us not to take it lightly: ‘Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell’ (Matthew 10:28).”
The Christian Broadcasting Network in a piece entitled “Is Hell A Real Place?” pointed out that the Bible described hell as a place of torment, darkness and fire.
Jesus said some “will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 8:12).”
The Apostle Paul wrote that those who don’t know Jesus “shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power (2 Thessalonians 1:8-10).”
The Book of Revelation, written by the Apostle John, records one day all those who go to hell will face a final judgement.
Chapter 20, verses 13-15, read: “The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Christ said to Peter, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:17-18).”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church holds to the reality of hell, as well.
“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,” it reads.
The document further states: “The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny.”
The Vatican released a statement in response to Scalfari’s article denying the writer directly quoted the pope, but not the substance of his reported claim that hell does not exist.
“The Holy Father Francis recently received the founder of the newspaper La Repubblica in a private meeting on the occasion of Easter, without giving any interview,” the statement reads.
This Vatican statement about Scalfari's interview with Francis denying hell and the immortality of souls is an insufficient response to grave public scandal
Francis must issue a statement denying Scalfari's account, affirming the Church's doctrine on hell & immortality of souls pic.twitter.com/w3f4eLAaWk
— Nick Donnelly (@ProtecttheFaith) March 29, 2018
It continues: “What is reported by the author in today’s article is the result of his reconstruction, in which the textual words pronounced by the Pope are not quoted. No quotation of the aforementioned article must therefore be considered a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father.”
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