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La Repubblica founder Eugenio ScalfariFrancesca Marchi / Flickr

ROME, November 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis’ favored Italian interviewer Eugenio Scalfari is now claiming that the Pope told him that Jesus did not have a bodily resurrection after His passion and death on the cross, but that the man “disappeared” and he came forth from the tomb “in the semblance of a spirit.”

The Pope has granted numerous interviews to Scalfari that have stirred confusion and questions about the Pope’s beliefs. So far, the Pope himself has not issued any personal denial or clarification in the wake of Scalfari’s claims and has not said he will stop granting interviews to the atheist journalist.

Scalfari is a founder of La Repubblica, which has long been critical of the Vatican and the Catholic Church. The octogenarian journalist does not have the practice of recording his conversations with the Pope, as is the journalistic standard in interviews of this importance, but apparently relies on his memory to present his interpretation of the meetings.

Writing in the Italian daily La Repubblica on Tuesday (see full Italian text here), Scalfari related what Pope Francis allegedly told him about the Resurrection of Jesus. 

“He was a man until he was placed in the tomb by the women who recomposed his body. That night, in the tomb, the man disappeared and came forth from the grotto in the semblance of a spirit that met the women and the Apostles while still preserving the shadow of the person, and then he definitely disappeared.”

The bodily resurrection of Christ from the dead is a central tenet of the Christian faith. St. Paul told the Corinthians that “if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (1 Cor. 15:14).

The above quote attributed to the Pope appears in Scalfari’s new book Il Dio unico e la società moderna: Incontri con papa Francesco e il cardinale Carlo Maria Martini (“The One God and Modern Society: Meetings With Pope Francis and Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini”).

Last month, Scalfari claimed that Pope Francis had denied the divinity of Jesus. Scalfari claimed that the Pope “conceives Christ as Jesus of Nazareth, a man, not God incarnate. Once incarnated, Jesus ceases to be a God and becomes a man until his death on the cross.” 

The journalist continued, saying: “When I happened to discuss these phrases, Pope Francis told me: ‘They are the definite proof that Jesus of Nazareth, once he became a man, even if he was a man of exceptional virtue, was not God at all.’” 

This prompted Matteo Bruni of the Vatican press office to issue a clarification: “As already stated on other occasions, the words that Dr. Eugenio Scalfari attributes in quotation marks to the Holy Father during conversations with him cannot be considered as a faithful account of what has actually been said, but rather represent a personal and free interpretation of what he has heard, as is quite evident from what has been written today about the divinity of Jesus Christ.”

Italian journalist Antonio Socci expressed shock about the comments about Jesus' Ressurection attributed to the Pope: “Scalfari continues to attribute to Bergoglio quotes that contain unheard-of theological enormities and no one from the Vatican cares in the least of denying, nor do they tell Scalfari to stop. Catholics think: those who keep silent agree.” 

Last month, after the claim about Pope Francis' remarks on Christ as Son of God, both Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò and Cardinal Gerhard Müller called on the Pope to personally address Scalfari's claims.

“Christians expect a clear answer from the Pope himself. The thing is too important; it is essential: Yes, I believe that Christ is the Son of God made Man, the only Savior and Lord,” Archbishop Viganò told LifeSite. 

“All Christians await this clarification from him, not from others, and by virtue of their baptism have the right to have this response.”