Eugenio Scalfari, 93, an avowed atheist who has struck up an intellectual friendship with Francis, met the pope recently and wrote up a long story that included a question-and-answer section at the end.
The Vatican said the pope did not grant him an interview and the article “was the fruit of his reconstruction” not a “faithful transcription of the Holy Father’s words.”
According to Scalfari’s article in Thursday’s La Repubblica, he asked the pope where “bad souls” go and where they are punished. Scalfari quoted the pope as saying:
“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.”
If the pope did in fact say this, then he is closer to Scriptural truth than the typical Catholic.
Scripture speaks of the fiery hell (Gehenna), but it is the fire that never ends – that which goes into the fire is burned up with nothing left of it, THIS is the fate of those who do not repent and obey Yeshua.
The universal catechism of the Catholic Church says “The teaching of the Catholic Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity.” It speaks of “eternal fire” and adds that “the chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God.”
This may be the teaching of the Catholic church, but it is NOT the teaching of the Holy Bible – it is, to be correct, Greek philosophy that entered church doctrine through oral influence, meaning it is NOT written in Scripture.
Personally, I hope the pope did actually make this statement as it means two things:
1) that the pope himself is closer to the Truth of God
2) which should translate to the Catholic church, which has for so long been a burdensome religious organization, coming closer to the Truth of God
Now we need pray that the pope will jettison more of the non-scriptural garbage.