The Vatican felt compelled on Tuesday to deny that Pope Francis had "abolished sin", after a well-known Italian intellectual wrote that he had effectively done so through his words and gestures.
singular exchange began on Sunday when Eugenio Scalfari, an atheist who
writes opinion pieces for the left-leaning La Repubblica newspaper,
published an article titled "Francis' Revolution: He has abolished sin".
who held a long private conversation with the pope earlier this year
and wrote about it several times, concluded in the complex,
treatise-like article that Francis believed sin effectively no longer
existed because God's mercy and forgiveness were "eternal".
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told Vatican Radio that "this affirmation that the pope has abolished sin" was wrong.
who really follow the pope daily know how many times he has spoken
about sin and our (human) condition as sinners," Lombardi said.
It was not the first brush between the Vatican and Scalfari, who founded La Repubblica newspaper in 1976.
month the Vatican removed from its website the text of Scalfari's
transcript of his conversation with the pope, saying parts of it were
Scalfari said he had not used a tape recorder or
taken notes when he met the pope but reconstructed the long session from
memory afterwards and made additions to help the flow of the article.