The controversy surrounding Pope Francis and a recent interview sprung up Thursday, as he reportedly said that hell doesn't exist.
The Vatican has dismissed a recent report that claimed Pope Francis said hell doesn't exist.
La Repubblica published an article written by the news outlet's liberal and atheist founder Eugenio Scalfari that claimed Pope Francis said sinners don't suffer for eternity and that hell doesn't exist.
"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," Pope Francis said, according to a translation on Catholic blog Rorate Caeli.
"There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls," Pope Francis reportedly said.
However, the Vatican later released a statement dismissing the report.
"What is reported by the author in today's article is the result of his reconstruction, in which the literal words pronounced by the Pope are not quoted. No quotation of the aforementioned article must therefore be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father," the Vatican said in a statement, according to a Catholic News Agency translation.
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said Thursday the conversation was a “private meeting, without releasing any interview," Crux reported.
Burke said that the pope's quotes from Scalfari's piece were “the fruit of his own reconstruction" and they “are not cited textually."
In fact, the news agency reported that this is the second time on the same topic that Scalfari has “misrepresented the Pope's words following a private audience."
The other instance happened in 2015, and the Vatican also dismissed that claim.
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that hell exists, according to The Vatican's Catechism of the Catholic Church.
“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,” the Catechism of the church reads.
Pope Francis has mentioned the existence of hell before, according to Crux.
“Our Lady foretold, and warned us about, a way of life that is godless and indeed profanes God in his creatures,” Pope Francis said in 2017. “Such a life — frequently proposed and imposed — risks leading to hell.”