The Pope shocked members of the Catholic community recently when he claimed (in a round-about way) there is no such thing as hell.

The Catholic church built itself around the idea that there is a physical heaven and hell. In the past, being a good Catholic and adhering to the rules ensured a place in heaven. Breaking the rules and going against the word of God meant eternal damnation.

But now Pope Francis has broken from this doctrine and admitted there is no such thing as a physical hell.

Pope Francis is considered to be one of the most liberal Popes the world has ever seen. His decision to go against what thousands of years of religion says has angered some Catholics.

The idea that there is a physical heaven and hell seems unbelievable to many, while many Catholics truly believe this is the case.

However, in a recent interview with an Italian journalist, the Pope outlined what he believes about heaven and hell.

He said that sinners who die without eternal salvation ‘are not punished’ but instead they simply cease to be. There is no fiery pit that they are cast into, no devil torturing them for eternity.

Despite the Pope being really rather clear on what he said, the Vatican quickly tried to backtrack his comments. They said that the interview that was shown to the world was not the true transcript, but a ‘reconstruction’ of what was said.

Time for change

Somehow, the Catholic church has managed to stay afloat in an ever-changing world. The rules of their religion have scarcely changed over centuries, even though the world now is a very different place.

The new Pope has been credited as the first Catholic leader who has really tried to pull the church into line with the modern world. Instead of following the old rules to a tee, he realizes that the Church must adapt to survive.

He is not, however, the first Pope to admit that there might not be a physical hell. Pope Jon Paul II also admitted during his time at the top that he thought such a place never existed.

Speaking to an audience, he told them:

“Rather than a physical place, hell is the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God,”

While the news has angered hardcore Catholics, many followers have embraced the news and are happy with the revisions and his interpretation of the bible.

What do you think? Is there a hell? An afterlife? Let us know in the comments.