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← The fires of Hell are real and eternal, Pope warns

cornbread_r2's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by cornbread_r2

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

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”.

So it's not just a religious symbol, but it's to be understood symbolically???

It had been misused in the Middle Ages to scare the impressionable with “horrific visions” of damnation, as described in Dante’s Inferno.

I'm no spring chicken, but I can assure the Pope that it was "misused" in the 1950s too to scare the shit out of me and tens of millions of other Catholics.

“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.

Unlike the horrors of WWII, which eventually ended, Hell's torture never ends and that's something I can't even begin to imagine.

In 1999 Pope John Paul II declared that Heaven was “neither an abstraction nor a physical place in the clouds, but that fullness of communion with God which is the goal of human life.” Hell, by contrast, was “the ultimate consequence of sin itself . . . Rather than a place, Hell indicates the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy”.

The Church teaches that Jesus, Mary and Elijah all went to Heaven with their physical bodies. How can Heaven not be a physical place now? It also teaches that at the final judgment everyone will be reunited with their physical bodies. How will Hell not be a physical place then?

In October the Pope indicated that limbo, supposed since medieval times to be a 'halfway house' between Heaven and Hell, inhabited by unbaptized infants and holy men and women who lived before Christ, was 'only a theological hypothesis' and not a 'definitive truth of the faith'.

So Catholics are also permitted to believe that unbaptized infants actually go to Hell, as Augustine of Hippo thought?

If one accepts the "halfway house" view of a post-final judgment Limbo, it's a place comprised of zygotes, fetuses in various degrees of development, newborns, cavemen (including Neanderthals), any modern humans who simply hasn't had the opportunity to hear the Gospel and whatever intelligent alien life forms which may or may have ever existed which also didn't have that opportunity. A very interesting place.

What I'd ask the Pope if given the chance: What's the youngest a person could be to experience the infinite love of God while also frying like bacon in the Hell he created and sustains for them?

Mon, 22 Feb 2010 13:54:00 UTC | #443115