The fallout from the Pope’s interview with Eugenio Scalfari, in which he allegedly cast doubt on the existence of hell, is “beyond tolerable”, Cardinal Raymond Burke has said.

Mr Scalfari, the co-founder of Italy’s daily La Repubblica, claimed that Pope Francis told him that the souls of sinners “disappear” upon death, saying: “There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls.” The comments generated headlines around the world, some claiming the Pope had “abolished hell”.

“What happened with the latest interview given to Eugenio Scalfari … was beyond tolerable,” Cardinal Burke told La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana.

“That a famous atheist claims to announce a revolution in the teaching of the Catholic Church, believing to speak in the name of the Pope, denying the immortality of the human soul and the existence of hell, has been a source of profound scandal not only for many Catholics but also for many lay people who respect the Catholic Church and its teachings, even if they do not share them.”

The cardinal added that the day of the article’s publication – Holy Thursday – was especially insulting as it was “one of

the holiest days of the year”.

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