By Jack Newman For Mailonline
Published: 17:11 GMT, 8 November 2019 | Updated: 06:12 GMT, 9 November 2019
An Italian journalist has claimed Pope Francis told him he does not believe Jesus Christ was resurrected as a body, but in the 'semblance of a spirit'.
Eugenio Scalfari, 95, a frequent papal interviewer, said his long-term friend Pope Francis does not believe a key Catholic doctrine that Jesus returned in the flesh after his crucifixion.
Though the claims were disputed by the Vatican and believers, they were not flat-out denied by the Holy See - leading some to criticise it for what has been deemed as an ineffectual response on a heretical matter.
An Italian journalist has claimed Pope Francis told him he does not believe Jesus Christ was resurrected as a body
Eugenio Scalfari, a frequent papal interviewer, has made the claims in a new book and in La Repubblica, which he founded
Deacon Nick Donnelly told Church Militant: 'The Scalfari claims about Francis's heretical beliefs are so shocking, and the Pope's adamant silence so incomprehensible, we have to assume that this is an accurate account of their conversations.'
According to Scalfari, Pope Francis said, 'He [Jesus] was a man until he was put in the sepulchre by the women who restored his corpse.
The notion that Christ was resurrected and rolled a stone away on what we now call Easter Sunday has been debated by some.
Believers point to the detailed four Gospels written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as well as the perceived accuracy of the New Testament.
But some claim stories have been doctored over time.
Author Michael Paulkovich told MailOnline in 2014 of the book of Mark in the Bible: 'The original booklet given the name 'Mark' ended at 16:8, later forgers adding the fanciful resurrection tale.'