NPR Journalist and Catholic College Graduate Botches Description of Easter

NPR reporter Vanessa Romo embarrassed the taxpayer-funded network on Good Friday. In a breaking-news article online on the controversy over a journalist's claim that Pope Francis denied the existence of Hell,  Romo described Easter as "the day celebrating the idea that Jesus did not die and go to hell or purgatory or anywhere at all, but rather arose into heaven." Good grief.

The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus descended into the earth to the realm of the dead, or "Abraham's bosom," to open Heaven's gates to all the righteous who died before him.

NPR appended a correction, so the article now reads: "Easter — the day Christians celebrate Jesus' Resurrection — is on Sunday."

The Vatican denied the report that Pope Francis said Hell does not exist. The story was pushed by a dedicated atheist who could not say that he actually quoted the pontiff:

Apparently, the fiery 93-year-old avowed atheist reporter, Eugenio Scalfari of La Repubblica, set the social media world aflame after writing in Italian that when asked about the fate of "bad souls," the pontiff responded, "Hell does not exist."

The pope continued, according to Scalfari, saying ... "The disappearance of sinful souls exists."

... On Friday — Good Friday — the Vatican issued a statement saying:

"What is reported by the author in today's article is the fruit of his reconstruction, in which the precise words uttered by the Pope are not cited. No quotations in the aforementioned article, then, should be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father."

And an article by the Catholic News Service said Scalfari has admitted "on more than one occasion" that he doesn't take notes or record his conversations with the pope. In other words, he prefers to take, let's say, a memoirist approach to his reporting. He relies largely on memory and recollection, as opposed to documentation.

In a total non-surprise, Francis himself has previously referred to Hell:

Pope Francis has previously spoken about the existence of Hell in public speeches, including at a prayer vigil in March 2014.

There he gave an address in which he said that members of the mafia should change their lives, “while there is still time, so that you do not end up in Hell. That is what awaits you if you continue on this path.”

As for NPR's Romo, her LinkedIn profile indicates that she graduated in 1997 from Loyola Marymount University, a Catholic college in Los Angeles, with a bachelor's degree in (not kidding) history. She also has a master's degree in journalism from Columbia. Once again, we're left to wonder how someone with supposedly strong academic credentials can be so breathtakingly ignorant on such a basic matter.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

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