Monday, 10 December 2012
What the Hell? (The debate on Hell)
The discussion that has been generated around Dr. Ralph Martin's new book (above) and Fr. Robert Barron's response to it has got a good few people talking about the topic of Hell. Personally, I am glad that this is happening. For MANY years now Hell has hardly ever been mentioned in Catholic schools (we must not frighten the children) and it is hardly ever - properly - mentioned in homilies. So, many people, including Mass-going Catholics, assume that everyone goes to Heaven. It is even the case that Purgatory is NEVER mentioned at funerals. Oh yes, we pray for the dead (but how often is THAT explained?), but the assumption is....he or she has gone to a "better place"meaning, of course, Heaven. I wonder how many Catholics, when they ask for a Mass to be said for the departed, really think that this has to do with releasing the person from Purgatory. As for Hell...too awful to contemplate.
Of course, no one should ever be consigned to Hell by us. Not one of us ever has the right to assume that someone is in Hell, no matter how bad he or she has been on earth. Only God knows who is in Hell (except that some exorcists are sometimes given pretty big clues...as well as mystic saints). However, being realistic about mortal sin and the awesome goodness of God there should be no doubt that certain actions (and thoughts!) committed here on earth merit eternal damnation....by virtue of everyone's free choice.
Here is a link to another discussion at "The Archdiocese of Washington" blog, and two interesting videos on this topic.