The Pope continues to allow him personal access, continues to speak with him. Now Scalfari reports that the Pope says there is no hell. Many Catholics, disgruntled with the Pope, have insisted that Scalfari must be reporting correctly, that this is merely one more instance of the Pope's heretical leanings.
Normal, sane Catholics smile and shake their heads. We recall all the times the Pope has taught on hell, and the need to avoid it, and we laugh at the poor memory, the foot-stamping anger, of some of the Church's smaller children.
So, why does the Pope keep speaking to an atheist who is so near death? To sane Catholics, the answer is obvious. In Les Miserables, when the bishop hands the silver to the thief, the old maidservant can't understand why the bishop is doing this. But we in the audience applaud the bishop for doing the Catholic thing. With every meeting, the Pope hands the silver to a dying atheist journalist, a thief who steals the truth with his words instead of his fists.
So, we can be the sane Catholics who applaud the Pope.
Or we can be the old maidservant, who can't understand what the bishop is doing.