In that article, Scalfari asked the Pope what happens to "bad souls" when they die, and the Pope allegedly 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 can not therefore be forgiven disappear".
A mafioso can't call himself a Christian, Pope Francis said Wednesday.
According to the media, Pope Francis said that the souls of those who repent are pardoned by God and "join in his contemplation" after death, but those who do not show repentance can not be pardoned and their souls "disappear".
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The universal catechism of the Catholic Church says "The teaching of the Catholic Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity".
"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", it said.
The Catholic Church has long said hell is real.
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said in a statement Thursday that the Pope had "recently received" Scalfari "in a private meeting at Easter, but did not grant him any interviews". The Vatican disputed another Scalfari interview in 2014 - Scalfari claimed to quote Francis as saying two percent of all Catholic priests were pedophiles.
Previous conversations between the Pope and Scalfari have often caused controversy, and led to the Vatican issuing similar statements afterwards, neither confirming or fully denying the Pope said the actual words attributed to him, but casting doubt on their veracity. In its place (you didn't think they were getting rid of the stick entirely, did you?), the souls of unrepentant sinners will simply, umm, disappear.