An Italian journalist, Eugenio Scalfari, said in an article in the newspaper Repubblica, which he co-founded and edited, that the Pope gave him this reconstructed view about resurrection in an interview.
Many Christians will consider the view a heresy as it hits at one of the fundamental pillars of the Christian faith.
Scalfari quoted the Pope as saying: “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 from that cave he came out in the semblance of a spirit that met the women and the Apostles while still preserving the shadow of the person, and then he definitively disappeared.”
The quote attributed to the Pope is from Scalfari’s new book, The One God and Modern Society, which centres on his interviews with Pope Francis and the late Cardinal Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, the former Archbishop of Milan.
Detailed in the New Testament, the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion is one of the main pillars of the Christian faith.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul the Apostle says: “For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures.”
Eugenio Scalfari, 95, a self-professed atheist and a long-time friend of Pope Francis, has conducted multiple interviews with the Pontiff that have caused much furore in the Christian community, Sputnik News reports.
He has previously claimed the Pope told him that hell does not exist, that divorced and remarried Christians should be admitted to Holy Communion, and that Jesus Christ isn’t God.
The Pope himself has never clarified his purported quotations carried by Scalfari. On each occasion, the Vatican has stated that Scalfari’s account is not reliable (the Italian journalist famously never records or takes notes of his conversations with the Pope and prefers to write his accounts later from memory).
Last month, Scalfari claimed that Pope Francis told him in a conversation over two years ago that he “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.”
A Vatican spokesman then said at a press conference that “the Holy Father never said what Scalfari wrote.”
He added that both the quoted remarks and interpretation of the conversation by Scalfari “cannot be considered a faithful account of what was said by the Pope.”
Replying to the alleged papal comments on the Resurrection, the Holy See Press Office said the quotation attributed to Pope Francis represents “a personal and free interpretation of those who listened, as appears completely evident from what is written today regarding the divinity of Jesus Christ.”