With every passing month, Francis' little and big sermons reach new heights of stupidity. This time, we have reached full Kindergarten level, and one wonders how it can get any worse than this.
Follow here how Francis reduces Christianity to a mere dispensing machine of blessings in life, and beatitude after life, without any warning to his listeners that things can go in the other direction, too. In Francis' world, heaven clearly is the universal destination. If the worst is scolding, hell is clearly not an option.
Before I go in detail please consider this: it is integral part of Francispeak to never say it to 100%, provided the message he wants to send goes out. This is done to appease the Pollyannas. An old modernist trick.
We are, therefore, informed God may be able to scold us, but not to “slap” or anyway “hurt” us. What about being thrown in the flames of hell, there to be consumed by everlasting fire for all eternity? Does this in any way “hurt” us, I wonder? And when people get sexually transmitted diseases, or sodomites AIDS, or gluttons diabete: what is this, a gentle scolding? Obviously, not everyone who gets a disease or some other big reverse is being punished. In fact, it is often difficult to say whether, when life kicks us in the balls, it is meant to be a punishment, or a blessing, or both. Still, no Christian could ever deny God can punish people horribly already in this life, and punish them in in infinitely more terrible way in the next.
This man has, literally, no fear of the Lord. Not concerning this life, not concerning the next one. This just isn't Christianity, this is feel-good waffle for children in the kindergarten; albeit I can clearly recollect when I was in kindergarten we were told all about heaven and hell, and did not have any problem in grasping the truth and elementary logic of it. Evidently, Francis' adults are more childish than kindergarten children of only some decades ago.
The rest of the linked article goes in the same vein: the only thing God does is heal, console, caress. Nowhere is the other way mentioned. This is an imaginary, heathen god consisting entirely of mercy, and with no trace of justice; a heathen god, therefore, deprived of goodness, because without justice there can be no goodness.
Besides, the concept that putting oneself in God's hand be the harbinger of “maximum security” sounds, in this Kindergarten context, very Protestant. The reader cannot escape a very strong impression every sodomite is saved by simply putting himself, without repenting a bit, in the hands of this unconditionally caressing, never-slapping god. I trust in you, therefore you save me. Those living in public adultery will, at this point, be logically unable to understand why they should be denied communion: hey, they go to Mass every Sunday and are oh so trustful in God and in their good conscience: why should God not “caress” them by coming to them in the Holy Communion?
The article linked to is not a literal reporting of the entire sermon. Yesterday I have read another article based on this, and it pretty much sings the same song. Let me make it clear that I have no doubt that somewhere, hidden in Francis' world, there is some obscure hint that God also metes Justice. But this is not the point. The point is that this heatenish, kindergarten god of Francis is the one relentlessly advertised, and it is simply inconceivable – both because of the choice of words and of the frequency of the message – that this is not exactly what Francis wants.
We notice here once again a method widely employed also in politics: a sermon is made, but in this sermon there is a particularly tasteful “mouthful”, which is there with the express task to make the headlines. In this case, the one with the God “unable to slap us” – so striking because so evidently flying in the face of two thousand years of Christianity – is the desired mouthful.
Let us also not say that Francis is fine because countless saints of the past have stressed God's mercy. Of course they did. But you will never find a saint of the past leading you to believe God is not both mercy and justice. In addition, those past saints lived and operated in a world in which every child of seven had a very clear concept of what hell is, and was very conscious he might end up there one day. This is not the case today, thanks to the army of Bergoglini who have been sabotaging the very concept of hell for the past 50 years.
This works of sabotage continues now from the very top, with the Pope himself making every effort to eradicate every fear of the Lord, every concept of justice, and every possibility of hell: a hell that has already been declared as excluding atheists in ” good conscience”, and could therefore never include those who do nothing more than believe God will take them out of trouble because hey, that's what he always wanted, eh, no?
This isn't Christianity at all. Rather a “recreational drug” for the stupid and the easily self-deluded, making the way to hell so much broader for them as it leads them to believe all roads lead in the end to heaven provided one does such easy things as following his conscience (possibly the easiest thing on the planet if one can shape his conscience according to wish) or, for “maximum security”, “trusting in God”.
Beware of Bergoglism.
Allow me to start by saying two things: what I am going to describe is not specifically Francis', but rather the problem of the V II Church, and by “saints” and “sainthood” it is meant here – as Francis on this occasion also clearly does – those who at death go straight to Paradise. Of course, everyone who eventually enters Paradise is a saint, but this post – and Francis' sermon – is not about that.
I have been always told, and have always believed, that whilst we are all sinners only those who develop heroic virtue are allowed to avoid the painful purgation of… Purgatory. But this heroic virtue must obviously be – I was always told – heroic; which is, by definition, limited to the very small number of heroes rather than the vast majority – or even a sizeable minority – of us common foot soldiers.
Many years ago, in a beautiful homily, the concept was described in a way more relevant to the modern peaceful times: everyone knows people mad of video games, or stamp collecting, or chess, or photography, or whatever clearly takes their mind and shapes their person in a way rarely found in others. Well, the living saint is the one who is as mad in his fight against sin as the video game nutcase is mad about video games, etc. I found the simile particularly striking, because with so many people mad of video games, or environmental issues, or guitar-playing, or whatever else, it seems utterly reasonable that God would require, in order to avoid purgatory, the same single-minded, life-shaping passion for… fighting one's own sinfulness.
Not so, of course, in the Church of V II, when the deceased is very often canonised by acclamation immediately after death, and the priest says much less than the bare minimum to let the relatives remain in this very dangerous illusion.
Francis is – and how could it be otherwise – not different. When he speaks of the great saints of the past and says that sainthood is for all, he merely avoids the mention of the heroic virtue so common in traditional Catholic teaching. He certainly knows why. Asked if they are heroic in their virtue, most people would obviously answer “I wish”; but asked if they have a good heart and love Jesus, all Catholics will answer “well, yes” without hesitation, both concerning themselves and all their friends and relatives.
If you read Francis' sermon, you will notice the barriers to entry are singularly low, very fluffy, and limited to virtues pretty much everyone is sure to possess. The saints are the “friends of God”, and you won't find many who say they aren't. The negative examples he makes are, as always, so vague and undetermined that everyone can easily say “oh, it's not me”. For example, take the “posing conditions to God” thingy (can't find the article anymore, alas…). Heavens, not even a child prays to God saying “I will love you if you give me a new bicycle”. God is such that by its very concept, love cannot be conditioned. Again, it must be a very stupid child who does not grasp it.
The same concept goes through the entire sermon: Francis seems to say: “what is necessary to be like the great saints is what you, my dear fans, pretty much already have, or can easily acquire”.
All heroes, these “joyful” troops of Francis? I don't think so.
Still, by reading the sermon is clear very many of the V II, “church of joy” recipients of the message will draw the conclusion that both they and all their loved ones are either clearly on the way to sainthood, or rather near to attain it. Not many of them – the typical V II type being rather superficial – will have any desire to question the message, and see whether things are perhaps rather less pleasant. But then again why should they? If an atheist can escape hell by merely following his conscience, why should a decent Catholic be burdened with something so un-joyful as Purgatory?
Obviously, the papal sermon is everywhere on the Internet. Hell is, predictably, not even mentioned once, at least not that I know of.
The shallow V II “church of nice” offers sainthood at sale price.
One of the main concerns of the Church in the last 50 years – and I mean, even from good, orthodox priests and laymen – seems to be to make the message of Christianity attractive, or easy to digest, or such that it would appear an improvement in one's quality of life. The idea seems to be that the world out there lures souls with the promise of fun and joy, and a list of prohibitions isn't really the best way to attract people to give Christianity their serious consideration.
I wonder whether the entire concept does not need a re-thinking.
As I see it, the entire idea of why we must be Christians does not revolve around the “fun” and “joy” of following Christ – though it might certainly be so in individual cases, and a life lived in faith has pleasures that wordly natures will never savour – but around our destiny if we refuse to do it.
Christianity isn't a “fun option”, or a “better choice”; similarly, atheism or unrepentant grave sin are infinitely worse than “poor choices”. It is no surprise 50 years of trying to persuade people of this have brought us to the level where we are now.
Christianity is, first and foremost, harsh. Harsh in the brutal commandments – not suggestions of “better choices” -, harsh in the consequences for those refusing to do so, harsh in the crystal-clear warning that no alternative ways are acceptable.
The main issue of the commandments is that God forbids the relevant behaviour. The fact that, say, marital fidelity will lead to a more serene life in the long term than a long string of love dramas outside of the marriage is secondary to the fact that marital fidelity is demanded, and it is demanded before any consideration of how good it is for one's life on the whole. It is demanded because God wants it. Period.
Christ doesn't seem to promise much fun anyway. A sword instead of peace, enmity even inside the family, hate and persecution rather come to mind. Yes, joy is also there, but notice even the joy of the martyr going to his execution is but a result of his unconditional and unquestioning acceptance of God's rules as such, and even when it hurts; the most so, when it hurts.
When we, therefore, spend our time wondering how to make Christ's message more attractive, I doubt we are employing our time wisely. This little blog never tries to sweeten the pill of Catholicism, though if you knew its author personally you would find him, in his private life, far more lighthearted and good-humoured than the unspeakable mess about which he almost daily reports makes him appear. Harsh rules do not make for dour people, but for people honest enough with themselves to recognise the Truth, and adult enough to deal with it to the best of their ability.
The simple truth is that Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and those who reject him to the moment of their death will go to hell; yes, they will go to hell, and they will do so even if they are the funniest, most tolerant, most helpful, generous, planet-loving, tree-hugging, cat-stroking, “inclusive” people around.
Not really fun, uh? How many of those approached with the “fun 'n joy” marketing method will ever accept it, provided they are even told at some point? They have started looking seriously at Catholicism because of the implicit promise of harmlessness, because of the untold assurance it will not spoil the fun. When they discover that Christianity, seriously intended, is a huge poop in the middle of their party, do not be surprised if they suddenly start “dissenting”, or say they felt “refused” by the Church. They will, though, feel “accepted” by the likes of Bergoglio, those for whom not to spoil the party – and be popular in the process – is the first and only Commandment.
A Catholic must, if you ask me, rather be promised toil, tears and sweat, with the possibility of blood; and must be told Jesus will recompense him with infinite generosity for all of them, whilst He will be terribly just (I wonder whether Francis knows the expression Rex Tremendae Majestatis) with those who refuse to accept Christ's not-at-all-fun rules to their last breath.
This used to be, in past ages, a rather normal thinking. No fun was ever promised. Life was seen as rather a vale of tears. The Seven Sorrows of Mary were common knowledge. Christ didn't smile from the Cross. The Cross was a calling, not a bad marketing instrument. A good Catholic had no expectation of a bed of roses. Consequently, he did not need the juvenile, stupid pursuit of an unrealistic happiness that today moves so many people not only to divorce and remarry, but even to demand that they be not seen as public adulteres, and even admitted to Holy Communion. Fools born of a fool, “fun” age.
The old mentality – the one without unrealistic expectations, and without divorces – worked rather well for two thousand years, saving countless souls.
Then the age of the aggiornamento began.
A world made for the stupid, the unbelievers, and the Jesuits.
From Faggotpedia, an excerpt of the interview Saul Alinsky gave to Playboy in 1972.
- ALINSKY: … if there is an afterlife, and I have anything to say about it, I will unreservedly choose to go to hell.
- PLAYBOY: Why?
- ALINSKY: Hell would be heaven for me. All my life I’ve been with the have-nots. Over here, if you’re a have-not, you’re short of dough. If you’re a have-not in hell, you’re short of virtue. Once I get into hell, I’ll start organizing the have-nots over there.
- PLAYBOY: Why them?
- ALINSKY: They’re my kind of people.
Alinsky died two months after this interview, “of a sudden, massive heart attack [...], on a street corner”.
It seems very probable his wish was granted “unreservedly”.
As they say in these cases: “if you’re happy, I’m happy”.
I have just finished to read the above mentioned book, that you can obtain fast and cheap via Kindle.
Nothing like one of those old books full of hell stories to inspire in one a healthy fear of the Lord.
Once again, past generations may seem less enlightened to us, but they were smarter in the end.
On a sad note, Fr Schouppe was a Jesuit. Boy, how they have changed.
You might not have read my blog post about the big drip, but we have now another demonstration of how it works.
Margherita Hack had all the wrong ideas. It was very easy: if something was wrong, Margherita Hack was very likely to be in favour of it.
Militant atheist. Animal right activist. Supporter of perversion. Communist candidate. Euthanasia fan.
Margherita Hack kicked the bucket earlier today in Trieste at the ripe age of 91 extremely ill spent years, and one way or the other (actually, the one is far more probable than the other) she now knows better.
I have found no sign whatsoever of a possible conversion, or even of the beginning of it. Whilst we can have no absolute certainty, your betting a pint on the female having escaped damnation would be, if you ask me, an extremely foolish move.
Another day, another tool of Satan takes her leave.
The big drip goes on.
Below, a musical accompaniment for the Renaissance Princes among you.
(P.s. One “Eternal Rest” for her for the extremely odd probability she might have repented and for the sake of her guardian angel, if you please.)
The more I read him, the more I am persuaded that we are punished with a Pope that doesn’t know very much what he thinks, but seems determined to say it anyway.
Things have come to such a level of confusion and embarrassment, that most recently a Vatican spokesman, Father Rosica, had to clean some of Francis’ mess, and to say very clear those who die in their atheism will go to hell.
Obvious, you will say. Christianity 101. Every child of six knows it. Well, apparently some doubts about whether the Pope’s understanding of Christianity is as good as a five years’ old are justified enough to force Father Rosica to intervene. The brutal fact is that the Holy Father expresses himself in such a confused way you never know whether the problem is in his utter inability to express himself properly – which should be reason enough not to improvise – or, more worryingly, in his inability to think soundly.
Recently, the Pope told us that Christ died even for atheist, which in itself is true: antecedently, Jesus died for everyone; but this does not mean everyone is saved, then subsequently Jesus saves some and condemns others. Therefore, Jesus died for the atheist doesn’t mean those who die in their atheism escape hell. To think so would mean to completely reinvent Christianity, transforming it in a sugary new age cult in which not even believing Jesus is our Saviour is necessary to save us.
“Do good”, says the Pope to the atheist, after talking of Salvation; “we will meet there”, and you don’t understand whether it means “we will have at least some common ground, hoping you avoid hell repenting of your atheism by the efficacious grace of God”, or whether he means “we will meet in Paradise, because don’t you know, nowadays works without faith suffice for salvation”; which last is, I assure you, just the way it sounds and can’t be what the Pope meant merely because the scale of heresy would be too much even for a South American Jesuit, much less a Pope.
So much so, in fact, that Father Rosica had to intervene and explain to the atheists – the Christians already know – what is what. Now when someone is forced to explain the very first truths of Christianity because as the Pope explains them they seem the opposite, you know a Jesuit was made Pope.
It is difficult to know what goes on into the mind of this man. I have always been of the opinion that when people think clearly, they speak clearly and, conversely, when they are confused in the way they talk is because they are rather confused in the way they think. “Chi parla male, pensa male”: he who talks badly, thinks badly. I do not think the Holy Father should be an exception, because he isn’t an illiterate south American campesino.
My impression of the Pontiff after reading the excerpts of a couple of dozen homilies of his – which is a lot to understand how a man thinks – is that this is a man not in possession of clear thinking, possibly never formed correctly in the first place, and constantly oscillating between the will to talk straight and the seemingly irresistible desire to please the audience and make everything “easy”, which actually means “convenient”. This is, by the by, the first mark of the Vatican II priest.
This here is also a Jesuit, meaning that to him ambiguity is a way of life. Before reading Pope Francis, you know already he will either run with the hare or hunt with the hounds, and the only uncertainty is which of the two is going to be on the day. The banality of much of what he says is the result of this way of thinking, and it won’t be long before millions discover they have to do with an intellectual Pygmy.
This isn’t pastoral, or even decent. It sows confusion to the point of forcing his officials to explain the obvious. It can’t be right, and must be amended if the Holy Father is to avoid making an embarrassment of himself.
It would be enough to be conscious of his (obvious) limits and prepare drafts of his homilies beforehand, that he would give to someone like Father Rosica or Bishop Gaenswein to ensure they are sound; but it is very obvious the humility necessary to do so is just not there.
Unless something substantial changes, we must prepare ourselves for a very sad Papacy. I blame Pope Benedict; not for resigning, but for choosing the Cardinals who then picked, rather predictably, one like the majority of them.
As I write this, the death count of the Oklahoma tornado is at 91. My and your prayers are, I am sure, with the deceased and their love ones.
As this is a Catholic blog, though, I would like to share some of the very politically incorrect thought that went through my mind as I heard the news. How many of the deceased believed in God? Did they have time to prepare themselves? How many of them are now saved, and how many condemned?
“But Mundabor, how can you have such insensitive thoughts when so many have died? How can you even think that this is the time to think about hell? How can you, come to that, think that God would send to hell even one of those whom he deprived of life in such a way? And the children, the children! How can you imagine God would send even one of them to hell??!!”.
Well, I have insensitive thoughts because I think the thought of salvation and damnation is not only never out of place, but actually very salutary in situations like this, reminding us in a very media effective way that in the midst of life we are in death. I also think that every day is the right day to think about hell, and that a day without a single thought of hell was probably a day that could have been better employed. I also, being a Catholic, do not think that dead people become heroes, or saints, just for being dead. Actually, I think the reality is far more sobering: after death the judgment.
Being a Catholic I also know that the cards of those children who died unbaptised are rather bad, with limbo to be generally expected for the little ones, and hell for many of the not so little anymore. It is important to be baptised. Actually, it is vital. Our forefathers knew these things, we are the only one who are so stupid to think we know better, and extend baptism by desire to pretty much everyone, probably including the cat and the dog if at all possible.
In the midst of life, we are in death. And if we didn't care two straws for God's laws in life, we will be very probably screwed forever in death. It's as insensitive as that.
You may think it cynical, or even wicked, to think (and remind others) of the fact that a number of those who died are probably in hell already. You may want to ask St. Thomas about the probability of damnation rates of less than 1%, but I won't insult your intelligence with such V II rubbish. Personally, I agree with Garrigou-Lagrange and many before him, whose tentative count would look rather different. Insensitive thoughts. But very salutary ones.
In your charity, pray for the dead; but as you pray, keep in mind there is one life, and after that the judgment. If you ask me, these are the days that can do most for us and the ones we love.
It is perhaps useful to reflect a bit about the different ways Catholics see hell. This will certainly not be new to any reader, but might be of some use for the non-readers of their acquaintance.
Probably a sizeable minority of baptised Catholics do not believe in hell. They are in most cases not aware that this is contradiction with Christian teaching. Hell is simply not on their radar screen, the priests they occasionally talk to accurately avoids the subject (he is so focused on being “nice”, you know) and, on the rare occasions when they darken the doors of a church, for example for a funeral, Father is so full of implicit heavenly promises the thought would never occur to them that hell really is an option. It is noted that some theologians of fame defend this position by making of hell an empty place – which amounts to the same, plus useless work, and also to saying that Jesus has been lying to us these 2000 years -. One of them was slated, if memory serves, to become Cardinal.
Then there is the “Hitler and Stalin” crowd. Yes, hell exists, but not for me or anyone I know. Normal people, nice guys and lads who are so good at telling jokes, can certainly not go to hell. Look, he invited me to a barbecue! Come on, this is a loving heart, how can he go to hell? These group are hardly pressed to say who goes to hell, because their scarce knowledge of history does not allow them to make even many examples of evil people. What is clear is that they must be seriously, seriously evil. Therefore, in their everyday life hell plays no role whatever, and “fear of The Lord” is to them a very abstract concept. One can be a sodomite suddenly died whilst sodomising his “partner” and they will never have the shadow of a doubt; “love” and all that, you know….
Then there are those who have been properly instructed. They know that Jesus’ insistence on hell can only mean hell is a concrete possibility for everyone of us, and why we cannot know the numbers, we do know the rules: if one dies whilst not in a state of grace, he is doomed. This group have a far more realistic expectation about their danger: they know it is real, and no one of the people they know is exempt from some degree of danger. These people have fear of the Lord, know what it means and teach their children to have the same attitude.
Now we can make a simple game, and try to estimate how many out of 100 baptised Catholics, say, in our country, belong in each group. Then we can go on theorising an abstract level of risk among the categories, obviously considering that those who do not fear hell will have very little fear of the Lord in their daily lives, and those who think hell is a very difficult place to land to will not be much better situated. Lastly, we can think of how the clergy will be situated who have, for an entire lifetime, kept the dangers of hell away from their sheep, or have not believed in hell in the first place.
Suddenly, hell becomes a very concrete possibility.
A good contribution from Monsignor Charles Pope on what the Church has to offer to homosexuals.
Whilst I find it extremely questionable that Monsignor Pope insists in using a homosexual language to talk about homosexuality and sodomy (note he uses the word “gay” extremely often, whereas no one of the very many sources cited by him does) I do find the clarity of the exposition admirable, with its constant reminder that the Church is about the Truth, not easy emotionalism. I also – but this is not explicitly said in the post – warn against a reading of this post in some way equating heterosexual feebleness with homosexual perversion: the first goes with nature, the second against it.
I would also have loved some mention of hell, then when we talk about gravely displeasing God I find it always very salutary to say what the consequences are; still, this was not the stated intent of the post, which is in essence an explanation of why the Truth is preferred to the fashion of the day.
Having made this small observations, I suggest you read the article in its entirety. I have not followed the links yet, though I want to do so when time allows.
All in all, the contrast with Cardinal Dolan is rather remarkable.
This is a comment I had posted some time ago concerning the probability that Christopher Hitchens is now in hell. I thought I’d re-publish it because in my eyes it makes a rather valid blog post in itself.
…we don’t know, and therefore we can’t be certain. It would be a sin of presumption for us to do so. Still, a Catholic is not allowed to pray for souls of whom he thinks they are very probably – very probably – in hell, because the Church doesn’t pray for the souls who are in hell.
The issue here is, I think, an issue of attitude: it can’t be that one behaves in that way and after he dies an army of people run to the keyboard to tell us that he was passionate, therefore he might have been saved. Well he was a great bastard and blasphemer enemy of God until the end of his public life, and therefore he very probably wasn’t.
Best wishes to him and to his guardian angel, but don’t bet your pint.
Hitchens must be mentioned as a cautionary tale, not as a way of showing that however wicked you are you can still make it. This would lead further souls to perdition, and he has already lost enough, and many more will his books lead to hell.
I wonder how many people write blog posts saying “Pray for the repose of Adolf Hitler”. To be coherent, they should. We can’t judge, the all-merciful God, and all that.
If they do, they are at least coherent.
I don’t, because I think so probable that Hitler (and Hitchens) are in Hell, that it would seem to me out-of-place to pray for them after the first two or three “eternal rest”.
If you want to know, my conduct when such bastards (oh sorry, let me rephrase it: bastards; he is dead after all) die is as follows:
a) Three “eternal rest” for the deceased, even if I think it very likely that he is in Hell. This both because the mercy of God and the efforts of his guardian angel might have fished him out of hell at the very last moment (improbable, unless we want to reducve ourselves to kindergarten level; but still possible), and because I think of how much his poor guardian angel must have prayed for him. I try to do my best on that, reflect that we all need God’s mercy, and all that. If you look my post when Obama died, I go more in detail there.
b) let the thing be a cautionary tale for me: that Hell is real, people really go there, and they don’t need to be a Pol Pot to do it; albeit, frankly, I can’t see a big difference between the two either, other than the fact Pol Pot had possibilities Hitchens never had.
It is my conviction that goodism and soppy theology lead people to hell as effectively as open blasphemous attacks. Hitchens specialised in the second, it is astonishing how many seem to want to specialise in the first. They must feel good, no doubt.
Think of the Church of 100 years ago, and tell me how many priests would have used this death to remind people of the concrete possibility of hell, and of the very concrete – though not certain, God pleasing – possibility of him having landed there, and how many to reassure his fans about his salvation chances.
Death + Mortal sin + no repentance = Hell.
A couple of days ago, I have let through one comment on hell in answer to a previous blog post. The very confused poster goes on with the usual confused mantras of the liberal and atheist society, as the concept of eternal torment does not seem to agree with oh how oh good oh he oh is.He also had some problems about those whom he thinks wish hell on other people. Those who feel oh so oh good always need to see the others as oh so oh bad…
I have written here my reflections on “wishing hell” to someone, but this was not about this, and the poster’s problems were much deeper seated.
I suggest that everyone with any doubt about hell reads this. Many of the most common answers to the doubts of the skeptical are found there.
Still, in the middle of the rubbish of the above mentioned post there was one observation which merits a more attentive consideration. I think I have written about that, but it is probably fitting to write another few words.
What about the loving mother, writes the horribly instructed poster. Could she really enjoy heaven knowing her beloved son is in hell? He thinks not.
Of course she does. She does it to the full, with a joy that is perfect and unalloyed.
We Christians believe in God the Father, not – if you allow me the expression – God the Mother. The fact that God is ready to forgive everything does not mean that he will forgive those who insist not to be forgiven. His justice – which puts the damned in hell, because hell is the fitting place for them – is as divine, as perfect, as absolute as His mercy.
In heaven, the saints can see and experience the perfect justice and the perfect love of everything. Whilst the reconciliation of perfect love and perfect justice may at first seem difficult for us to understand, it is not difficult to understand for them. They have attained that superior knowledge which does not allow the permanence of any question, of any conflict, of any contradiction.
The suffering of the souls in hell are, therefore, terrible, but at the same time perfectly fitting. Why? Because God says so. How can we be perfectly satisfied with such an answer? When we are – hopefully, one day – in heaven we will have a full understanding of it; for now, we accept it on faith, with the humility of good Christians who do not even think they could question or – ha! – “improve” on Christianity.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Our instruction must begin and end with this approach. We fear the Lord’s justice because we are told the lord’s justice is – as much as he loves us – frightful indeed.
It is not for us to decide whether we like this or not. It is not for us to theorise about the “justice” of this, let alone decide it cannot be so, because we don’t like it. We are not here to question, but to learn, accept, and do the best we can to live what we have been taught.
I don’t like the idea of hell. Who does, I wonder, but I accept the truth of hell. As for the logic and justice of hell, I can see – unpleasant as it is; particularly because it means a concrete danger for myself and those I love – the profound sense of it even in this life.
Christianity is not there for our liking, and cannot be bent to what we like. If we believed that, we’d be Presbyterians.
Please also reflect – the booklet linked above also touches on this – that it is not very easy to die in mortal sin. Mortal sin is not the temporary weakness, but the deliberate will to accept evil. If you read the above mentioned booklet – written in times above suspicion – you will read expressions like
“God damns only those who deliberately choose hatred and evil instead of love and goodness”.
“[mortal sins] are essentially the complete turning away from goodness and the acceptance of evil. Anything less than that is not mortal sin”
One doesn’t go to hell because he made a mistake, was run over by a bus immediately afterwards and God says to him “sorry, old boy, the bus came at the wrong time”. The deliberate intent is exactly that: deliberate. It’s a conscious choice, a taking side of sort. Obviously there will be a number of ways how one can choose the wrong side of the field without having explicitly “said so to himself” (say: by consciously and deliberately denying the existence of hell, knowing this is the teaching of 2000 years of Christianity, and feeling oh so good in the process); but even here we see a clearly rooted preference for one’s own moral law rather than for the Law of God: one has made himself god, and has gone around saying so.
God may have mercy on him, or not. If God hasn’t, I do not think anyone can complain, because it would be blasphemous to do so.
And when does it leave the mother, you will ask? Exactly where we are now: on the one hand, hell is a mystery which cannot be fully comprehended in our lifetime; on the other hand, when the mother dies she understands the perfect mercy and justice of the entire mechanism; a mechanism which, being now the other side of the human experience, she will not have any difficulty in grasping beyond any human doubt or apparent contradiction.
This is, if you ask me, another of the scary characteristics of hell: if I were to land in Hell – God forbid! – I would not even have the consolation of knowing those I love miss me and are sad for my fate. Nope. Firstly I would not love them – another extremely scary thought – because in hell I would lose every will to love; secondly they would not be sorry, because they would see the perfect justice and mercy of my – God forbid, again! – being in hell.
Hell is, truly, as terrible as that. It might be wise to reflect on this whilst we still breathe and make our best effort to keep away from there. It might not be easy to get to hell, and daily prayer – and the Rosary! The Rosary!! – will go a great deal in keeping us out of the worst.I strongly encourage everyone to pray daily for his loved ones who might be in danger, and to devoutly remember the Fatima Prayer – a prayer whose power of consolation I find more powerful with every year – in your prayer routine. Actually, if you pray the Rosary daily including the Fatima prayer you kill two birds with one stone.
Wretched sinners as we all are, there is much we can do to avoid hell, and to help others to avoid it.God’s mercy, and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin we must never tire to invoke, may well take us – or our beloved ones – out of very dangerous situations.
But if we think we can make our own religion, we have most certainly set our feet in the wrong direction.
I chanced upon two very different “visions” of hell in two days, and thought I would give them to you without comment.
It goes without saying that to me one is completely right, and the other tragically wrong.
But do not listen to me.
A) Father Barron on Hell
Who do you think is right?
Please listen and read twice. You’ll notice a lot of details coming to light in both cases…
And so your truly was at Mass in a London “NuChurch”-church (pure logistics) which shall remain unnamed.
The homily was, surprisingly, not bad at all in principle, and all centred on our hope to be, one day, in the presence of God.
All fine then, you will Say?
There was an elephant in the church, most notable for his absence: hell.
Hell was not mentioned once; not directly, not indirectly, not as a rather remote possibility; not even, in fact, as something we are – in NuChurch parlance – pretty sure to avoid unless we are Pol Pot’s evil twin.
Hell was, simply, nowhere.
This made, after a while, the entire exercise rather strange, as it was not explained what happens if one’s hopes do not become reality. Leaving for a moment the elephant metaphor aside, I had in front of my eyes the image of a huge and exquisite buffet to which I am invited, without anyone telling me what happens if I do not want to get to the place, refuse the invitation, or get kicked out because of my obnoxious behaviour; and without anyone telling me that all three are, in fact, very realistic possibilities.
I am afraid this is a perhaps succulent, but not really realistic description of the buffet the celebrant had in mind; a buffet, by the way, whose invitation is in actual reality the result of constant application – or at least ardent desire in extremis to be invited – instead of something falling on us because we are always the soul of the party and pride ourselves of our “tolerance”, and everyone thinks we are so swell…
I waited and waited for the elephant to make his voluminous, embarrassing, but memorable appearance, giving sense to the entire exercise; but the church remained conveniently elephant-free.
We were, therefore, left with something similar to an unresolved equation, with a vital element of the entire proposition simply unexplained; nay, actually not even mentioned.
I do not know how you would have reacted, but I felt as if the homily had not given me or others any great help at all: if I will be invited – as it is clearly implied – to the buffet with a probability approaching certainty, where is my incentive to actually merit the invitation? If I am not told that instead of salmon and caviar the buffet might give me the choice between several types of human and animal excrements for all eternity, has the buffet thing been described to me with a sufficient degree of honesty?
A pity, because the salmon & caviar part was actually rather well made; but without the elephant, I don’t think it was worth much in the end.
Perhaps the best “Vortex” I have ever seen, this one deals with the “nice people” poisoning the Church.
At the beginning of the video there is a photo of a great man the one or other of you might find somewhat familiar, and the Fulton Sheen citation is stellar; but this short video reaches an explosion of politically incorrect truth at the end.
Don’t miss this beautiful video.