Pope Francis has deviated from the general belief that hell is real, when he stated that the souls of sinners will disappear in the after life instead of going to hell.
During a conversation with a 93-year-old atheist philosopher, Eugenio Scalfari, the 266th and current pope of the Catholic church said that hell doesn’t exist, adding that the disappearance of the souls of sinners is what exists, The Times reported.
The Pope said: “They are not punished, those who repent obtain the forgiveness of God and go among the ranks of the souls who contemplate him. But those who do not repent, and therefore cannot be forgiven, disappear.”
During the five years of his pontificate, Francis has laid emphasis on the mercy of God rather than the severity of his judgment.
According to traditional church teaching, those who die as sinners face eternal punishment by unquenchable fire in hell.Speaking at St Peter’s Square in 2017, the pope said that judgment was not to be feared because “at the end of our history there is the merciful Jesus”.
He had on another occasion described heaven as a place where the just go to be rewarded, and as “an immense tent, where God will welcome all mankind”.