Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Papal Newsflash: There is Hell

Pope says hell and damnation are real and eternal

By Richard Owen in Rome

HELL is a place where sinners really do burn in an everlasting fire, and not just a religious symbol designed to galvanise the faithful, Pope Benedict XVI has said.

Addressing a parish gathering in a northern suburb of Rome, the Pope said that in the modern world many people, including some believers, had forgotten that if they failed to "admit blame and promise to sin no more", they risked "eternal damnation - the inferno".

Hell "really exists and is eternal, even if nobody talks about it much any more".

He had wanted to reinforce the new Catholic catechism, which holds that hell is a "state of eternal separation from God", to be understood "symbolically rather than physically".

Agostino Paravicini Bagliani, a church historian, said the Pope was "right to remind us that hell is not something to be put on one side" as an inconvenient or embarrassing aspect of belief.

It was described by St Matthew as a place of "everlasting fire" (Matthew xxv, 41).

"The problem is not only that our sense of sin has declined, but also that the world wars and totalitarianisms of the 20th century created a hell on earth as bad as anything we can imagine in the afterlife," Professor Bagliani said.
The killing fields of communist Cambodia, the gulags of Germany and Russia come to mind.

Other blogs will be filled with speculation about how many go to Hell if nobody does. It's common to year among "conservative" Catholics the insinuation that "few will."

My take on the proposition that "Personally, I don't think that the majority of people merit eternal damnation."

There are four last things: Death, Judgement, Heaven or Hell. Who are we to judge? How would one even attempt to measure even one person? It seems to me that just the enormity of our very own lives should cause enough awe and fear that we should know instinctively that only God handles this issue. Does the person who presumes a majority go to Heaven even engage in a modicum of self examination? How does one dare speculate at the results?


Anonymous said...

Where is hell? Where is heaven for that matter? Please provide some proof that either of these places exists (the Bible doesn't count)!

Anonymous said...

It is as much a place as our souls occupy a place. Hell, Heaven and Purgatory belong to the supernatural order.

Thomas Shawn said...

Mr. Anonymous #1 see Mr. Anonymous #2.

Hell is a super-natural place, literally "beyond nature". If you strictly confine yourself to that which is material then you may be preparing yourself well for Hell.

Consider that which imperils/saves your soul, that part of you that will go on forever.