With the world concerned with fake news these days I do not know what to believe anymore.
Take for instance the recent news about Pope Francis being quoted proclaiming that “there is no hell”.
This negation of the existence of hell by no less than the pope himself reportedly came from an interview by known atheist Eugenio Scalfari, 93, an Italian journalist who is the founder of Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper, which carried the news item.
According to Scalfari’s article published three days before Easter, he asked the Pope where “bad souls” go and where they are punished and the following was allegedly the pope’s sensational reply:
“Souls are not punished,” the Pope was quoted as saying in the Repubblica piece. “Those who repent obtain God’s forgiveness and go among the ranks of those who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot be forgiven disappear. There is no hell – there is the disappearance of sinful souls.”
The Vatican, however, issued a statement after the comments spread like wildfire on social media, saying, the pope never granted the interview and the story was “the result of (the reporter’s) reconstruction,” not a “faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father.”
Scalfari is known for not using tape recorders or taking notes during interviews.
But what makes this news intriguing is another sensational occurrence relative to it that has been reported, saying, that the Vatican has had to seal off part of St. Peter’s Basilica after chunks of plaster fell from the ceiling just hours after Pope Francis alleged to have proclaimed that ‘Hell’ does not exist.
The report said that bits of the ceiling rained down over worshippers near Michelangelo’s famed Pieta statue to the right of the main entrance, although no one was injured.
This is even harder to believe – I mean the matter of coincidence.
Although the Catholic Church doctrine affirms the existence of hell, one can’t really help sometimes asking ourselves if, indeed, there is truth about the existence of hell.
This is especially true in my case because when I was in my early teens I happened to know an old, religious lady, who, upon knowing that I speak Spanish, made it a point to converse with me in the Castilian language, a language she has been longing to speak, I presumed.
Anyway, among the many subjects we talked about in the many months that I knew her, we touched on the topic of heaven and hell.
I will never forget and will always treasure her wise interpretation of heaven and hell. She told me that if one lives a happy, fulfilling life on earth, that one is in heaven already, but if one lives a problematic, miserable life on earth, then you are in hell.
Life is how you make it.
Being endowed with free will, man has only to contend with this simple understanding.