In reaction to reports that Pope Francis has denied the existence of hell, the Vatican has released a carefully worded statement that does not refute the substance of the claims.
"The Holy Father Francis recently received the founder of the newspaper La Repubblica in a private meeting for the occasion of Easter, without giving him an interview," the unsigned March 29 Vatican statement begins.
"What is reported by the author in today's article is the result of his reconstruction, in which the pope's exact words are not cited. No quotation of the aforementioned article must therefore be considered as a faithful transcription of the Holy Father's words," the statement concludes.
In other words, the Vatican denies that the article contains a faithful transcription of the pope's "exact words" without taking issue with the basic content of the conversation. What is interesting is what is not said. The statement does not say that the author's reconstruction of the conversation is erroneous, and nor does it deny that the pope said that hell does not exist.
The media saga began on Wednesday, when La Repubblica printed an article saying that the pope had expressly denied the existence of hell and the immortality of the human soul in a recent conversation with his longtime friend, Eugenio Scalfari, founder of the newspaper.
The informal interview between the pope and Scalfari carried the headline: "The Pope: 'It is an honor to be called a revolutionary.'"
Read the rest at Breitbart.
Related: Pope Says Hell Awaits the Faithless