Ninth Sunday after Pentecost
The Reality of Hell
In our previous post, cf., "Catholic Dogma on Hell (I)," we underlined how this Catholic concept is an eternal truth which proceeds from the reality of God Who Is BOTH merciful AND just. God hath loved us with an everlasting love (Jer. 31.3) but rational creatures that we are, possessed of intellect and FREE will - having been created to the image and likeness (Gen. 1.26) of God - we have the capacity to spurn Him and His love. God Himself is the Highest Good and therefore the very reward of His love repaid with charity (that love which is according to the love with which Christ has loved us unto the summit of the Cross, cf., Jn. 13.34); on the other end, eternal pain and torments is just the necessary lot of those who have determined, in spite of God's mercy and patience and His drawings of love by means of His grace (today's Gospel, God's visitation, the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, cf., our post "The Time of God's Visitation"), to rather lose This Eternally Highest Good in exchange for a lesser good - that is, anything but God. God cannot annihilate the wicked - reducing them back to nothing - in so much as an eternal decree of love comes with their having been called into being and what the Beloved Omniscient has decreed it can never be recalled, cf., Rom. 11.29.
In the Old Testament, only in its later Books can we find a clear assertion regarding the eternal punishment of the godless. The Lord the Almighty and Just will take revenge on the enemies of His people and will persecute them on the Day of Judgment: He will give fire, and worms into their flesh, that they may burn, and may feel forever (Jud. 16.20). They... shall see the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against Me: their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched (Is. 66.24).
In the New Testament, Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word made flesh (cf., Jn. 1.14), threatens sinners with the punishment of hell. And these [the goats, cf., "The Good Goats" of the Neo-'Catholic Theology' in our post "The Ultimate Delusion of Vatican II 'Catholicism'"] shall go into everlasting punishment (Mt. 25.46). He calls it Gehenna (originally, the valley of the son of Ennom, cf. Jos. 15.8, where human sacrifice was once offered, cf., Jer. 7.31, and which eventually became Jerusalem's filthy heap of refuse where its continually burning fires came to symbolize the eternal fires of hell), cf., Mt. 5.29ff; 10.28; 23.15,33; Mk. 9.43,45,47; Hell fire (Mt. 5.22; 18.9); Hell where the worm does not die (probably from the OT description of Gehenna with its filth) and the fire is not extinguished (Mk. 9.46ff), everlasting fire (Mt. 25.41), unquenchable fire (Mt. 3.12; Mk. 9.42), furnace of fire (Mt. 13.42.50), everlasting pain (Mt. 25.46). There will be darkness there (Mt. 8.12; 22.13; 25.30), wailing and gnashing of teeth (Mt. 13.42,50; 24.51; Lk. 13.28).
St. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles to whom alone were entrusted the keys of the Kingdom of God, warns that God spared not the angels that sinned, but delivered them, drawn down by infernal ropes to the lower hell, unto torments (Second Epistle 2.4). According to the Beloved Apostle, St. John, in the Book of the Apocalypse: [the godless] shall have their portion in the pool burning with fire and brimstone (21.8). The Apostle St. Jude: As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the neighboring cities... having given themselves to fornication, and going after other flesh, were made an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire. In like manner [men and nations of this age] defile flesh, and despise dominion, and blaspheme majesty (7).
The Apostle St. Paul attests that the Lord Jesus... In a flame of fire, giving vengeance to them who know not God, and who obey not the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ... shall suffer eternal punishment in destruction, from the face of the Lord, and from the glory of His power (2 Thess. 1.7-9). In his Epistle to the Romans: But according to thy hardness and impenitent heart, thou treasurest up to thyself wrath... of the just judgment of God. Who will render to them... that are contentious, and who obey not the truth, but give credit to iniquity, wrath and indignation. Tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that worketh evil... (2.5,6,8-9). And to the Hebrews: For if we sin wilfully after having the knowledge of the truth, there is... a certain dreadful expectation of judgment, and the rage of a fire which shall consume the adversaries (10.26-27).
The Fathers of the Church unanimously teach the reality of hell. According to St. Ignatius of Antioch, the person who "corrupts the faith of God, for which Jesus Christ was crucified, by evil teaching, will go into the unquenchable fire; and so will the person who listens to him" (Letter to the Ephesians 16.2).
Related post: "The Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima: Hell Exists"