The Vatican said the “literal words pronounced by the pope are not quoted” and that “no quotation of the article should be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father”.
Scalfari is said to pride himself on not taking notes or recording high-profile interviews. But this is not the first time he has been accused of misrepresenting the pope: in 2014 he was rebuked by the Vatican for an article saying Francis had abolished sin.
The friendship has been criticised in the past, with Scalfari once saying that it was the pope who asked for the meetings as he liked to “exchange ideas and sentiments with non-believers”.
The Catholic church’s teachings affirm the existence of hell and its eternity, saying “the chief punishment of hell is eternal separation of God”.
Pope Benedict XVI said in 2007 that hell “really exists and is eternal, even if nobody talks about it much anymore”, while in 1999 Pope John Paul II announced that hell was “the ultimate consequence of sin itself … rather than a place, hell indicates the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy”.