Thursday, March 29, 2007

Pope Benedict warns that Hell is real, eternal and hot

I read somewhere recently that if you bring up the Holy Inquisition or Hitler in any online discussion, you automatically lose.

If you agree with that, you can stop reading now.

Pope Benedict XVI, who was as a youngster a member of the Hitler Youth and later was Prefect of the Catholic Church's Congregation for the Doctrine and Faith (which until 1908 was known as Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition, or the Holy Inquisition), recently warned the world that Hell was a real, eternal, and hot place, so you better behave.

One of Benedict's myrmidons, Agostino Paravicini Bagliani, a Church historian, said that the Pope was "right to remind us that Hell is not something to be put on one side" as an inconvenient or embarrassing aspect of belief, and admitted that the concept of Hell had been misused in the Middle Ages to scare the impressionable with "horrific visions" of damnation, as described in Dante’s Inferno.

And now Pope Benedict is trying to do it again... trying to scare the willies out of the Catholic faithful by reminding them they'll all go to the fiery pits if they don't toe the line.

What I find most interesting is this: Benedict's predecessor, the beloved Pope John Paul II, said less than a decade ago that Hell as a physical place does not exist.

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." [Emphasis mine.]

So, at the risk of offending the 1.1 billion Roman Catholics and the other billion Christians of other denominations, I must ask: How the hell do you take any of it seriously when back-to-back Pontiffs, whose words are supposed to be infallible, disagree on such a major point in your Doctrine?

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  1. So many misconceptions and falsehoods circulating around and so little time.

    I shall explain

    "Pope Benedict XVI, who was as a youngster a member of the Hitler Youth"

    I really don't see the point of that. Does it boster your argument? We all know the stroy of how this occured. Do you know his Cousin was taken away by the Nazi and killed because he had Downs Syndrome. He is the last World Leader that remembers the hoors of that era. I hope we learn from him.

    "recently warned the world that Hell was a real, eternal, and hot place, so you better behave."

    Hot? Did he say it was hot? For futre reference try not to figure out the Pope theolgy from the AP or other sources. Turns out all these "quotes" were not said. Here is the Pope' Homily)in Italian but use your translate tool if you can"

    I am amused how so many people are follwing all these newspaper reports that are getting it so wrong

    "Hell really exists. It is the place where big fires burn and evil doers and deniers go and burn in the end.”

    I keep seeing this bantered about but
    I find it interesting the is no quotes-
    HELL is a place where sinners really do burn in an everlasting fire, and not just a religious symbol designed to galvanise the faithful, Pope Benedict XVI has said.

    What is interesting is this Guardian Post
    “The 79-year old pontiff used a Mass in the gritty Fidene suburb of Rome to put damnation back on the agenda. “Jesus came to tell us everyone is wanted in paradise, and that hell, about which little gets said today, exists and is eternal for those who shut their hearts to his love,” Pope Benedict warned the congregation on Sunday.The talk of fire and brimstone stopped there, as Pope Benedict failed to elaborate on what lay ahead for the sinner in the afterlife, adding only that “our real enemy is the attachment to sin, which can bring about the failure of our existence”.,,2043457,00.html

    What? Wait I just read on some Internet Paper that Pope said that is where the “where big fires burn”. What do you mean he stopped lol.

    So, at the risk of offending the 1.1 billion Roman Catholics and the other billion Christians of other denominations, I must ask: How the hell do you take any of it seriously when back-to-back Pontiffs, whose words are supposed to be infallible, disagree on such a major point in your Doctrine?"

    Good Grief. Not every utterance a Pope says is infalliable. Also the Popes did not contradict each other. Pope John Paul the II did not declare that Hell did that exist. In fact he was a big promoter of devotions to Our Lady of Fatima and the Divine Mercy where Hell is mentioned as a very real thing.

    What the Pope is doing is basically talking in the language of Aquinas here. That is trying to have us go deeper than our temporal concepts of time and place. He is being careful here because of the debate of how incorporal things such as a soul etc are to be defined.

    Anywho hope that helps


  2. JH said it well. Papal infallibility only relates to when the Pope speaks ex cathedra (literally, "from the throne"). Non-Catholics typically do not understand that, outside of an encyclical and a few other documented statements (always issued in Latin), the Pope is speaking as a fallible human.

    The state of mind that is Hell may well give the physical impression to the sinner of burning--generally thought to be the most agonizing feeling for a living person. Dante's Inferno--for those who have read it (obviously noone in the press)--is ironic in that Hell is actually very cold, not fire and brimstone.

    Catholic theology holds that Hell is a real place in the soul's experience where you exist in the absence of God's love. The horrors that entails can be pretty much anything the individual fears, frigidity or tepidity, snowballs or brimstone.

    Thus, Benedict's and John Paul's statements are not contradictory but complementary.

    Fraternally yours,
    The Libertarian
    (a Catholic and a Mason)

  3. Bro. Libertarian:

    I fail to see from your comment how Benedict and John Paul II's statements are complementary. One said Hell's real, in a physical sense, and one said it isn't.

    It appears that you take Catholicism and the Pope's comments seriously, so may I ask how you justify in your mind being a Mason when the Pope has said it puts your soul in grave danger? Doesn't that, in your theology, put you in danger of spending eternity in a literal, physical Hell?


  4. i look forward to partying with brother peace down there!
    my italian skin sweats real good, so I can hang a bit in hell without it bothering me too much!

    I will save some seats for the other self righteous masons

  5. I reconcile being a Catholic and being a Mason the same way you reconcile being an outspoken Mason, WS. Obviously, we have similar goals: Making our institutions better. Both of us detest the good ol' boy networks. Both of us are not afraid to say so.

    Furthermore, the likelihood of 1 or even a few thousand Catholic Masons being excommunicated is virtually non-existent. The number is more like hundreds of thousands and includes many clerics. Catholicism and Masonry are joined at the hip, whether they like it or not.

    As JH indicated, the alleged contradiction about Hell being physical vs. not is based on a wrong translation that you--along with many other people--bought without verifying the accuracy. Nothing of the sort was ever said. Even if it were, the Pope was not speaking ex cathedra. Therefore, it was a fallible statement. As a Catholic, I am not REQUIRED to believe such statements.

    Similarly, the statements various popes have made about Masonry are not "official" ex cathedra statements which are few and far between (only three in the last century).

    Fraternally yours,
    The Libertarian

  6. As a recovering Catholic I have taken the papal pronouncements against Freemasonry quite seriously and there are a number of them. For a thorough list of them, visit here:

    Albeit not all of those listed deal directly with the Craft, there is still ample evidence that Rome remains hostile to us historically, and that this hostility is likely to continue for the forseeable future. Personally, I think Catholocism and Freemasonry are incompatible for the principle reason that I would be obliged to confess my participation at Lodge each time I went to obtain the Sacrament of Reconcilliation. This, I am not willing to do.

    I don't advocate a course of action for Bro. Libertarian, I merely comment on my own experience.

  7. No offense taken, Wayfaring Man. I will continue to be both a Catholic and a Mason. I respectfully disagree with the two institutions being incompatible philosophically. However, politically, southern Masons are just as anti-Catholic as conservative Catholics are anti-Mason.

  8. How is this confusing? The popes agree: hell is real, but not physical. Can you comprehend both truths?

    This is from the article you linked to
    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”.

  9. About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actually thought I was in hell. I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staff was very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th September 1994, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages [England & Australia]. God LOVES me so much. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17].

    Peace Be With You


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