Hell: The Comment Rant.
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.