Skip to comments.Hurts and Hopes Regarding the Recent Debates on Hell
Posted on 12/10/2012 7:52:39 AM PST by NYer
As most of you know, there has been a rather vivid discussion recently in the blogosphere on the subject of hell. As one who has written rather substantially, on the topic of hell, and our need to recover a more biblical notion regarding judgment and hell, I pray that you will tolerate me adding my own voice to the recent discussions.
Those who read this blog regularly, will know that I have spoken on the topic of Hell on any number of occasions. For example:
The Hell of It ——–Hell Has to Be——Will Many Be Saved? ——–Sinner Please Don’t Let this Harvest Pass ——–The Fire Next Time ——–The Mystery of Iniquity ——–Ignoring Two Words Devastates Evangelization
In all these posts, over the past several years I have argued, that our modern notion that Hell is a remote possibility, and a sentence likely incurred by only a very tiny number, is an unbiblical notion, and one that also runs contrary to almost the whole of Christian Tradition, beginning with the early Fathers of the Church, all the way forward until about 50 years ago.
I was thus very excited and pleased when Dr. Ralph Martin, a great teacher of mine over the years, published his recent book, Will Many be Saved? In this book, as I have already detailed, there is a great survey of the Church’s teaching, and traditional understanding of the topic of judgment and Hell. Ralph Martin also details in a respectful way recent trends, which have influenced a great many Catholics, and others to discount the biblical teaching, as well as the Christian Tradition of over 1900 years, prior to modern reconsideration.
I will not rewrite all the articles that I have referenced above, and re-defend the teaching on Hell, as I have done before, and Ralph Martin has done ably and thoroughly in his book.
But permit just a few summary bullet points:
In the current discussion taking place in the blog is here, I have this particular regret. Namely, that a man and a priest I admire greatly, Father Robert Barron holds the position he currently does on this topic.
To some extent, I have seen an evolution, on the part of Father Barron, on this topic in the past few years. One of my early blog posts on the topic of Hell, and why it is a reasonable teaching, actually made use of a video by Father Barron wherein he articulates quite well the reasonableness of the Biblical teaching. It is true, that at the end of the video he does brook the notion that we don’t know if anyone is specifically in Hell, but he does not dismiss the notion either, and leaves the matter sufficiently vague, such that his vigorous defense of the reasonableness of Hell is not undermined. (I have posted that earlier video below).
But in more recent years Father Barron has seem to move more steadily toward the notion, that Hell is largely unpopulated and that the Lords teaching that many go there is largely to be set aside in favor of other notions relating to His mercy.
In his recent critique of Ralph Martin’s book, Fr. Barron states his fundamental objection to Martins reiteration of Church teaching and of Lumen Gentium 16. In effect Barron references Spe Salvi, 45-47 wherein Pope Benedict seems to suppose that few are in Hell and that the great majority of humanity will ultimately be saved.
Father Barron concludes,
It seems to me that Pope Benedict’s position — affirming the reality of Hell but seriously questioning whether that the vast majority of human beings end up there — is the most tenable and actually the most evangelically promising.
Ralph Martin ably answers father Barron’s critique, HERE, but the heart of his answer is that the Pope’s reflections are in the form of a supposition. Pope Benedict says in effect, that we may suppose that the great majority of people end up eventually in heaven. Hence, the Holy Father does not formally or solemnly teach contrary to either the biblical teaching, or to Lumen Gentium 16, but simply permits us to suppose that many in fact will be ultimately saved. In this context, Martin writes in his book that he hopes that the Pope can further clarify his remarks at some point in the future. But Martin in no way simply sets aside the Pope’s remarks.
But Here’s the Problem: In this regard, the fact that Father Barron then consigns Ralph Martins position as analogous to dissent directed against Humanae Vitae, is, I would argue, unnecessary, excessive and hurtful. It is far from the kind of balanced and careful analysis I have come to admire about Father Barron. Father Barron’s exact quote that most troubles me is,
.but one of the most theologically accomplished popes in history, writing at a very high level of authority, has declared that we oughtn’t to hold that Hell is densely populated. To write this off as “remarks” that require “clarification” is precisely analogous to a liberal theologian saying the same thing about Paul VI’s teaching on artificial contraception in the encyclical Humanae Vitae.
I dont think this is a carefully thought-out quote by Father Barron. And it surprises me greatly. I personally hope the Father Barron would consider the excessiveness of his judgment here, and issue his own clarification. Ralph Martin is merely requesting clarification regarding the supposition of the Pope. He is not a dissenter and to suggest that he is this such, is unjust
Frankly, it pains me to have to write this. I have been, and remain a great fan of Father Barron. I have used almost every one of his video productions, and I podcast his homilies. I hope for a more balanced critique, and clarification of his remarks in the near future.
Ralph Martin is a good Catholic, a great man of the Church. His book, written many years ago, entitled Crisis of Truth, was a great instrument of my own rediscovery of the need for orthodoxy and clarity in an age of confusion and true dissent.
I realize that I am not of the caliber of either one of these men, and perhaps my remarks here should, and will go largely unobserved. I write more as a great admirer of both these men.
Perhaps, in the end, Michael Vorris has the best take on this Internet debate. In his view is that, thanks be to God that Catholics are even talking about Hell anymore. The topic, even the word, has largely been off the Catholic radar for far too long. As one who was written more than a few times on the topic in the past four years, a common response I get, is, Are you crazy? No one believes in hell anymore. And thus, that we can even be discussing the topic is, of itself, some progress. I have included forces video below as well.
I do pray for clarification, from Father Barron. I also, with Ralph Martin, hope for greater clarification from the Pope, regarding his supposition in Spe Salvi 4547. I with Martin, ask this only in greatest respect. I too am a loyal son of the Church and I seek to be taught, that I may come to greater understanding of what the Pope’s supposition means in the light of Scripture, Tradition, and Lumen Gentium 16.
To watch the Michael Vorris video, follow the link at the top of the thread.
"I, Sister Faustina Kowalska, by the order of God, have visited the Abysses of Hell so that I might tell souls about it and testify to its existence...the devils were full of hatred for me, but they had to obey me at the command of God, What I have written is but a pale shadow of the things I saw. But I noticed one thing: That most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell." (Diary 741)
FULL TEXT - Sister Faustina's Vision of Hell
Guess I'm finally a one-percenter.
Am I missing something here? I am a baby Catholic (though not a baby Christian) so I’m very amenable to correction.
In the debate about whether souls are presently in hell or not, both sides appear to be referring to a completely earthly notion of time. But constructs like time and space (= particular defined places) exist only within the Universe. God, heaven, and hell are not in the Universe. It’s not useful to think about those eternal places and Persons in terms that were devised for the convenience of humans’ limited little earth-bound biological brains.
Yes, there is a hell, but we probably can’t circumscribe how things outside of time and space work in practical terms. I just trust the Lord, and with fear and trembling contemplate the visions of hell we have been vouchsafed.
“That most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell.” (Diary 741)” If this is true, guess I’ll see you in hell. How can man, who is but a blip on the continuum of time, be so arrogant as to think there is a heaven or a hell just for him/her, what utter nonsense. But for those who believe don’t let me rain on your parade, keep believing and maybe, just maybe, tinker bell will live.
At last, someone who has the answers. Did you get them directly from some supreme being or did you just make them up. When theorizing about time, space, heaven, hell, God and angels, the imagination is not constrained to anything in particular and therefore may wander into untold areas of assumption and conjecture. My own version of these things is: What if this life is all there is? Would that be so bad?
I was not, I was, I am not. Clear consice and easy to follow. From darkness, through life, to darkness. Put it in any terms you wish but you won’t change the simplicity of it all. You may not want to accept it but you won’t change it.
Ditto! Even simpler - if Christ says Hell exists, it exists -period.
So...there is supposed to be a God who sends those who disbelieve in him/she/it (or whatever label or name) to be tortured FOREVER in a pit of fire along with evil/insane humans who kill and torture their victims here on Earth. Doesn’t that make God an insanely cruel being and WORSE than the most evil human on Earth? And then he/she/it is known as LOVE? Love can’t do that.
This false belief comes from a Bible translated in 1600AD by Italians for the government religion in power at the time from Greek and Hebrew writings and people STILL take it for truth. Amazing.
I will not stay around on this thread long enough to hear from all the religious group, but know that I love you all and hope you will come to understand that the true Source of All, our Creator lives in all of us and we each decide to let that LOVE manifest or to live apart from it in various degrees, but you can see Love in others; you can see God in others by looking for Unconditional love in them.
Or will they delight in seeing their suffering, as Aquinas and Jonathan Edwards (among others) have claimed?
I'm having a hard time imagining myself seeing both my loving, atheist parents in eternal torment and being moved to transports of joy at the sight.
Considering that this topic represents a debate between Catholics, do you think you might want to make this a Catholic Forum post? It seems to be inviting a lot of anger and bitterness from the non-Catholics, heat without light. I’ll pray for them but can’t argue with them this afternoon from work.
Could you expand a bit more on this? Any sources to cite, etc?
One needs to look just a bit further to the Scriptures to see Faustina’s vision conflicts with the Bible and is false.
Apart from God, man is the only being who can concieve of the concept of "time" aso that's a pretty significate "blip". The universe itself contemplates nothing. So, given the lessons of scripture, I don't see the reality of hell as being "arrogant" or "nonsense" at all. No matter how may times you say it without offering any evidence or objective argument to back the assertion up.
How so? Rev. 20:10
No, Acts 2:31. Rev. 20:10 is by its very language figurative and hence the lake of fire is not hell where Jesus was for three days.
In Matt. 25:41, Jesus says, "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." He reinforces this statement in Matt. 25:46, when He say "they will go away into eternal punishment" which is in reference to this eternal fire.
In Mark 9:47-48 - Jesus refers to hell as where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. It lasts forever. This terminology is originally found in Isaiah 66:24 - their worm shall not die and their fire shall not be quenched. We cannot fathom the pain of this eternal separation from God.
Hell is a real place. Worse yet, those condemned will spend eternity there.
Archbishop Chaput addresses the reality of Satan
Letter from Beyond
Catholic Word of the Day: GEHENNA (Hinnom, 10-17-11
To hell with Hell?
Hell Has to Be
The eternity of hell
Hell Is Not Empty and Pedophile Priests Will Go There" (Why Preaching on Hell is Salutary)
The Eternity of Hell
The Four Last Things: Hell
Catholic Caucus: HELL EXISTS AND WE MIGHT GO THERE!
John Calvins Worst Heresy: That Christ Suffered in Hell
Natural Calamities Divine Threats & Four Gates of Hell The four Principal Gates of Hell : I Hatred
Pope speaks with priests from his diocese about Heaven and Hell
Whatever Became of Hell? (HAS THE UNQUENCHABLE FIRE BEEN QUENCHED )
One Man's Visit to Hell
A Brief Catechism for Adults - Lesson 11: Hell
A Question Of Hell (One Minister Questions Its Existence)
Pope says hell and damnation are real and eternal
The fires of Hell are real and eternal, Pope warns
The Early Church Fathers on Hell - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
IS THE NEW MASS SOFT ON HELL?
Heaven and hell seem to be forgotten
Which circle of Hell do You belong in?
"To Hell with Hell!": The Spiritual Dumbing Down of the Generations
Reflecting on Hell: Sermon for the First Sunday in Advent
The Reality of Satan and the Victory of Jesus and Mary (an Exorcist speaks out)
Beware the Serpents Promises
Americans Describe Their Views About Life After Death(Only One 1/2 of 1% Think They Are Hell-Bound)
Sister Faustina's Vision of Hell
Check your Bible — you will find that Christ mentions Hell much more than heaven.
Look for the words:
This was verified with an internet search by my priest one flight when he had jet lag and could not sleep.
Yes, Christ talks about hell a lot!
I just remembered another one:
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