The Vatican sealed off part of St Peter’s Basilica after chunks of plaster rained down on worshippers at the height of the Easter holiday season.
Plaster fell near Michelangelo’s famed Pieta statue, near the main entrance – hours after the Pope is alleged to have denied the existence of hell.
Italian journalist, Eugenio Scalfari, claims the Pontiff told him: “Hell doesn’t exist, the disappearance of the souls of sinners exists.”
The comments, reported in Italian publication La Repubblica, sparked outrage with conservatives concerned the Pope had changed Biblical doctrine.
A Vatican press officer said: “No words in quotation marks should be considered as a faithful transcription of the Holy Father’s words.”
Hours later, worshippers were pummelled with falling plaster at the Holy spot – but no injuries were reported.
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said repairmen were brought into to secure the site and the Basilica remained open for business.
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SOURCE: The Sun, Jay Akbar