Friday, August 11, 2006

"Hell is not spoken of anymore"

Confessions and Adoration, tonight (8/11), 7 pm, SAA Church - We will expose the Eucharist and I will be available in the Church booths for Confession this Friday, starting at 7 pm. All are welcome!
An anonymous blogger wrote last week: "This is not pertaining to the theme but I was wondering one thing. When I was growing up and going to CCD classes, Hell was a big component of it. If you didn't go to Mass, didn't listen to your parents etc. were all roads that led to Hell we were taught. Hell is not spoken of anymore. Have the standards changed as to what could lead you there or has it become more symbolic?"

Thanks for this important question! Here are some of the notes I use when I give my talk about Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory (Judgement). I will post the notes on Hell first over the next week or so, and then Heaven, then Purgatory. Hope it helps! Please keep in mind that if we live in the Grace of Christ, we have nothing to fear.

a. Does it exist?

- refers to Hell 28 times and eternal punishment about 90 times in the Gospels
- uses the terms Hades, Gehenna, Eternal Fire, Field of blood
- Mk 9:43-48, e.g.
- Mt 10:28-“fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell
- Mt 25:46- those who don’t care for the least of Christ’s brothers and sisters “will go away to eternal punishment

-“wailing and grinding of teeth
- the good-for-nothing servant (Mt 25:30)
- children of the kingdom (of darkness) – Mt 8:12
- the man not dressed for the wedding feast – Mt 22:13

St. Paul
- for those who “refuse to accept the gospel of our Lord Jesus…their punishment is to be lost eternally, excluded from the presence of the Lord”(2 Thess 1:9)

St. Peter
- “when angels sinned, God did not spare them: he sent them down into the underworld and consigned them to the dark abyss to be held there until the Judgement”(2 Pet 2:4)

Book of Revelation
- “all those who worship the (devil) …will be tortured…forever”(14:10)

– early Church Fathers described Hell as “eternal punishment”; affirmed by early Church councils and Pope Benedict XII (1336)

- St Teresa of Avila: "I was at prayer one day when suddenly, without knowing how, I found myself...plunged into Hell...I felt a fire within my soul the nature of which I am incapable of describing. My bodily sufferings were so intolerable...and these are nothing by comparison with the agony of my soul, an oppression, a suffocation and an affliction so deeply felt"

- Fatima* – vision of Hell by children: sea of fire; demons and souls with burning embers, black and transparent; terrifying looking animals; children cried out for all to hear

b. What is it like?
-we only know what’s been revealed to us

Scripture (described above)

Church- “hell is a state to which the wicked are condemned and in which they are deprived of the sight of God and are in dreadful torments for all eternity” (Baltimore Catechism)

pain of loss
- being separated by God, rejected by Christ (“I know you not”-Mt 25:12)
- shame, regret, despair

pain of sense (torments)
-“fire” (of Gehenna) – “the chaff he will burn in a fire that will never go out” (Mt 3:12)
- principal means of torments that will be different than earthly fire because it will affect both body and soul

- the pain of the sense will be as nothing compared to the pain of loss

- “We must not ask where hell is, but how we are to avoid it” (St. John Chrysostom)

- Hell is eternal separation from God (Catechism of the Catholic Church)

- “hell is not a punishment imposed by God…it is the natural consequence of an unrepentant sinner’s choice against God” (Pope John Paul II)

- basically, when the person dies, he sees the face of God and he realizes at that moment that he is not worthy to be with God for all eternity; he realizes that he chose hell during his life (GWS)

*Fatima prayer: "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of thy mercy."


At 9:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This question doesn't pertain to this particular post...

However, this is my question:

Over the last few years there has been the reports of sexual abuse by clergy, what is your take on how the 'faithful' should treat thoes who have been abused? The largest faction out there treats thoes abused as if They are the root of the problem and that they "ruined" the church by comming forward instead of placing the responsibility for the abuse on the abusers. When will the church reach out to thoes who have been abused and start treating them as if they are still part of the body of Christ rather then the red-headed step children who cause problems?

At 8:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 3:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 10:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes I was, I was in a very bad place in life,had left the church, I had done some pretty dumb things in that time... to make a long story short... tried going back... needless to say that didn't work so well, the particular priest decided that i was fair game, afterall who would believe "a whore" as he put it... he got a black eye for his trubble...

several years of counseling later I tried to resolve my issues, come back to the church even after what happened... talked to someone I had known since he was a seminarian...geez almost 10 years now; someone in Richmond that I considered a friend and could trust... he freaked... Couldn't handle it, and now he doesnt really speak to me any more. He isn't the only one with this attitude, I have seen it all around lay, clergy alike... anytime there is a flareup in the news and everyone gets talking. I used to be the person who did everything... EM, Lector, taught ccd, flower guild, set up for mass... and now even entering a church is painful and I frequently have panic attacks. Therapy has helped to a point, antidepressents/anxiety drugs make me numb to everything to the point I feel nothing no pain no joy not happy sad nothing...Partly why I went to my 'friend', but for whatever reason could not, would not help me. I grieve for the faith and trust I once had for and in the church, its like a piece of me died. . . but everytime I open up I get treated like a piece of dog doo that people cant scrape off thier shoes fast enough. . . I never sued, never asked for anything from the church...but yet we, those who were abused, are treated like we are the problem...

At 11:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Please talk to Fr. Thomas Doyle. He knows "exactly" what you are going through. He has helped hundreds of people and he is ultra cool. He will not freak out on you. If you decide to e-mail him let me know and I will give you his e-mail addy.

Take care and I will keep you in my prayers.

At 11:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11:57 PM, Blogger Fr Greg said...

Anon, thank you very much for your incredible post. It is an honor to have you on this site. I think any sincere follower of Christ who reads what you wrote would be inspired by your courage and honesty, deeply pained by how you've been wounded, and utterly incapable of offering any words that would express the profound sorrow for what you've been through. These are, at least, my reactions to your heroic posting.

Possibly the only consolation that I can offer you is that Christ is the only one in whom you can truly trust. He will never hurt you. He will never leave you. He is the only one who can bring about true healing.

I don't expect you to take me up on this offer, but my door is always open for you. I was ordained to be "alter Christus" (another Christ) in the bring His healing power to his people. It is not I who make this offer; it is Him through me. I have great confidence that it would be Him being here for you, listening to you, and speaking to you through me.

In whatever way you decide to turn to Him, may you know that Christ is with you. May you know His peace.

At 7:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon, I pray that you take Fr. Greg up on his offer to talk with you. I truly believe that Christ definetly speaks through Fr. Greg. He speaks Christ's truths. I am sure he is probably already praying for you and to the Holy Spirit to give him the words to say to you to bring comfort and healing to you. He is a priest you can trust !!!

It saddens me greatly to hear of priests who have fallen and to those like yourself who are hurt tremendously by their sin. They too are human. Don't get me wrong, I am not giving those priests any excuses for what they did at all. and I do feel they should pay for their action. They hurt people on so many different levels when they abuse individuals in that manner - physically, spiritually, emotionally etc. It touches all aspects of a person. I can only imagine the pain you have gone through and are going through still. I am certainly not blogging to belittle what you are going through.... Just remember that Satan attacks those who are closest to Christ the most. and I feel that many of those people are our Priests. The devil has to because he can't have them winning more souls to Christ. So he attacks and attacks constantly at our Priests (personal belief). and yes sometimes our priests (who also are sinful men) fall to Satans attacks. I pray for all priests, especially in these times, to be strong against the devils temptings. And pray for those who are hurt by their weakness !! I will pray for you to find healing.

At 1:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fr. Greg,

Could you please delete my posts. They are Anonn #2, 3 and 4.


At 7:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually #4 is mine, Anon#1

At 10:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oops I am sorry. I should have said posts 5&6.

How are you doing?

At 2:42 PM, Blogger Fr Greg said...

Which comments am I deleting? Thanks.

At 4:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 8:01 am, 3:04 pm, 11:28 pm comments.


At 4:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, lets just confuse the poor man :)

At 6:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laughing.... I know who left the last post. Very cute! Forget about deleting any comments. Its a-okay.

At 9:50 PM, Blogger Fr Greg said...

geez, make up your mind!! Jk. Didn't see the last comment until the delete button was hit three times! Oh well. Thanks for the exercise!

At 10:20 PM, Anonymous K. said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 10:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for deleting my comments. I just said not to because I thought I was confusing you.

Incidentally what does Jk mean?

At 6:16 AM, Anonymous K. said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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