Friday, March 24, 2006

What's Hell Like?
Which "hell" are you talking about?

1035 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church describes hell as "the chief punishment [of hell] is eternal separation from God". Well, duh. We all know that.

Here's what bothers me... in today's new and improved, Spirit of Vatican II approved, huggy-touchy Catholicism, the above is all we ever hear about hell (with the exception of a very few Novus Ordo parishes, and anywhere that a Traditional Latin Mass is celebrated).

Hey, what ever happened to fire & brimstone, gnashing of teeth, all that jazz? I guess that's been replaced with being placed into the Forever Time Out Corner. Didn't Jesus speak of an unquenchable fire? Is that now just a wood sliver that you'll never quite able to get out? I just know that the Holy Mother showed the children at Fatima a down-right terrifying vision of hell, right? Silly me, Jesus sent His mother to Fatima just to scare the daylights outta three little kids, huh?

I'll readily admit that I'm no learned theologian, but this pain-free, watered down, don't worry-be happy theology is a farce. I know damn good and well that hell is a whole lot more than just a waiting line at the DMV that goes on for all eternity.

Is it too much to ask for priests who will stop telling people what they want to hear... and start telling them what they need to hear?

9 Comments:

Anonymous Moof said...

Keep saying it ... maybe someone will listen ... *sigh*

7:23 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

I wouldn't exactly call eternal separation watered-down, don't-worry-be-happy theology. In fact, just thinking about the possibility of spending eternity truly and completely alone scares the bejabbers out of me, with or without the brimstone and the pitchforks.

Here's how I would relate pain of loss and pain of senses (which could take on a variety of forms) to a modern audience. Imagine yourself in a featureless landscape, completely and totally isolated from everyone else. You know this, and know that no one will ever be with you ever again. And there is no way to rationalize this, no illusions, no slipping into shock, no escape. This loneliness, and the anguish that comes with it, is with you forever, ever-unrelenting.

If people understood this, they would do their utmost never to get into that state.

11:19 PM  
Blogger Former Altar Boy said...

Dave,
Add to your scenario the complete knowledge of what you could have had and rejected. Truly a hell. Of course, it still ignores the words of Christ and the visions of countless saints of the fire, torment, and gnashing of teeth, etc.

2:27 AM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

Imagine yourself in a featureless landscape, completely and totally isolated from everyone else. You know this, and know that no one will ever be with you ever again. And there is no way to rationalize this, no illusions, no slipping into shock, no escape. This loneliness, and the anguish that comes with it, is with you forever, ever-unrelenting.

That sounds more like a bad episode of Survivor. Where are the examples of pure terror? Torturous pain on my eternal soul? No mention of the unmitigated and horrific agony that I would have to endure for all eternity?

I tend to believe that hell just might be a bit more... ummm, hellish?

Remember, just 89 short years ago, The Holy Mother gave a vision to The Fatima Children that was much more than a deperatly lonely individual.

But as usual, Dave... you've given an interesting and thought provoking perspective. Thanks!

5:49 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Former Altar Boy:

Of course, the inescapable knowledge is a part of that. I think teeth-gnashing would logically result...

CSM:

Horrific agony can take on many forms, and not just physically. As far as the environs of Hell go,
that is open to interpretation, even with visions. Did Elisha's servant see actual horses and chariots from Heaven, or did he see the Lord's might in a way he would understand? Did the Fatima children see something concrete, or was it to show that it's a horrbile place? Could Dante have had some divine inspiration? At least one pope thought so.

Or may we all agree that none of us ever want to find out for ourselves?

8:57 AM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

Dave,
I agree that horrific agony takes many forms, and not just the physical. What I see by many in the Church today, is that they are purposely disregarding any and all physical aspects.

One thing that I think we'll all agree upon, is that since the day of the Old Testament right up to the Apparitions at Fatima, hell has been described as a place (state) of total and utter spiritual, mental and physical pain, torture and anguish.

But like I said, I've heard one too many cleric attempt to paint hell as essentially nothing more than a never anding line at the DMV.

But then again, I've heard many a cleric preach the heresy of Universal Salvation. So to them, hell is a moot point... no ones going there anyhow!

And yes, I do agree, NONE of us want to end up there!

9:10 AM  
Blogger Ginny said...

I totally agree. There should be a fear of God in all of us. We should not get the "warm and fuzzies" all the time. We should get the truth. There is Hell and if we don't conform then that is the alternative. plain and simple, but obviously enough that is not good enough for the Novus ordo way of thinking. I a not being negative towards the faithful, just those who are being misled by the ones who ought to know better. We need to pray for these souls and hopefully they will see the light from above and not the heat from below

12:31 PM  
Blogger Fidei Defensor said...

Refrences to Hell are so few its not even funny. On a theological level we need to be hearing about this a lot, Jesus talked more about Hell than Heaven afterall.

On a pragmatic level, Hell sells, it fills the churches. People are scared/fascinated by stuff like Dante's Inferno, movies about exorcisms, etc.

I bet if a priest did a series of homilies on Hell he would find the lines for confession getting much longer and the collection plate comming in more full.

Not to say that this should be an advertising gimic, but rather I mean the obvious, people are not drawn to the watered down.

2:42 AM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

You know, other than Fr. Corapi I can't recall a single priest in the last five years who's ever mentioned hell.

11:28 AM  

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