Hell isn’t going out of fashion…

…but nobody’s talking about it anymore.

Carousing the internet for something to write about, I came across this article by John Young (hat tip to Mundabor). Here are the final few paragraphs. Please do read the whole thing:

Is it reasonable, then, to conclude that a great many people go to hell? Is this a well-founded conclusion, based on the undeniable prevalence of objective mortal sins and a consideration of human intelligence and freedom, together with the truth that God offers the grace to avoid sin? I think we should say it is not unlikely that many are lost. We should definitely not hold the opinion that few are lost.

The objection may be given that it is better not to weigh the question at all; that no good can be achieved by doing so. I disagree. We should strive to reach the truth, even though we can’t settle the question definitively. To ignore it, or to assume the danger is slight, is to diminish an important motive for avoiding sin: the danger of damnation. The realization that many may be on the way to eternal misery will also stimulate us to help convert sinners by example, words, prayer and penance. This is strikingly evident in the short life of Jacinta Marto, who showed such an heroic spirit of penance. One of the reasons Lucia gave for it was that Jacinta “had looked upon hell, and had seen the ruin of souls who fall therein.”26

The need to teach the doctrine of hell, and for priests to preach about it, is also clearer if we understand that many people may well be lost. In teaching about hell we will be following Christ’s example, for he returned constantly to this theme. We will also be imitating Our Lady at Fatima, who showed those little children the vision of hell, and who gave us the prayer to say at the end of each decade of the rosary, in which we ask to be saved from hell.

On the other hand, we must avoid generating a morbid fear of hell or an obsession with it. It is not a fate that can overwhelm us against our will; any who go there have chosen evil deliberately. The doctrine should be seen in the light of God’s greatness and our dignity as free beings. He is so great that hell is a just punishment for rebelling against him; our dignity as responsible beings is so great that we can deserve that fate.

For sure, there is nothing to be done for those in Hell.

When the brain is injured, there is nothing to be done for the dead brain cells, but a lot can be done to protect the surviving brain from ‘secondary injury’. As well as ensuring normal blood flow and oxygenation, it has been discovered that mild chilling of the brain for at least 48 hours prevents secondary injury to a great extent. (This was a Kiwi discovery from studies on oxygen starved newborns, btw 😉 ).

Got that? Chill baby-baby, chill baby-baby, wait!*

‘Chill’  to me means to sit quietly, do little, do without, await events: The soul of asceticism. We are about to start the Church’s great ascetical season, Lent.

As Lent approaches, and who knows, it may be the last ever Lent, let us this time prepare to mortify ourselves in union with Christ for the conversion of sinners, and the shortening of time spent in purgatory by our beloved departed, and ourselves. Let us say the Fatima prayer with greater trust:

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”

Let us chill our appetites, our worldliness, our openness to sin. With our spiritual bloodflow devoted to the spiritual essentials, great wonders will happen, I am sure.

* a reference to the 1990 pop song: “Things that make you go Hmmmm” – warning, the clever video may be a little racy for some tastes. Great bass line.


About Brother Burrito

A sinner who hopes in God's Mercy, and who cannot stop smiling since realizing that Christ IS the Way , the Truth and the Life. Alleluia!
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Hell isn’t going out of fashion…

  1. toadspittle says:

    “If the evil was not punished, how could we have confidence in a good, just God? “

    Asks Teresa.

    How, indeed?

    But if there is no deadline to do one’s repentance, what is the meaning of it at all?

    What, indeed?


  2. toadspittle says:

    Perhaps we should reflect on the possibility that we are punished by our sins, not for them.


  3. manus2 says:


    You old romantic, you! Yes, just look up and down the Middle East where the bloated tyrants, staggering through their fourth (say) decade in power, become dimly aware that the natives might be getting a little restless. Or the international brotherhood of bankers, who really have had quite enough of pretending to be sorry, and are quite insistent they should be allowed to get back to being masters of the universe. What, they say, my lifestyle is retricting my personal growth? Well, hell, the bolly and the dollies are some sort of compensation – I’ll scrape by somehow.

    One of the recurrent themes of the psalms is that the wicked are not punished in this life as they should be. Justice in this life is imperfect and infrequent.


  4. manus2 says:

    Regarding the substantive issue, Hans von Balthasar (theologian and co-author with Pope Benedict) has written a fascinating book called “Dare we hope that all men be saved … with a short discourse on Hell”. The book not only discusses the issue itself, but gives a flavour of the theological politics that surrounds it. I offer two short quotations. Firstly, regarding the issue itself:

    “It is generally known that, in the New Testament, two series of statements run along side by side in such a way that a synthesis of both is neither permissible nor achievable: the first speaks of being lost for all eternity; the second of God’s will, and ability, to save all men.” Opening of Chapter 2, p29.

    And here, a taste of the politics:

    “So be it; if I have been cast aside as a hopeless conservative by the tribe of the left, then I now know what sort of dung-heap I have been dumped upon by the right” (p19-21)

    His own view is that we are all under judgement; that the Two Ways remain always open to all mortals, but, … yet …, dare we hope that all shall be well?

    A fascinating book.


  5. toadspittle says:

    “…On the other hand, we must avoid generating a morbid fear of hell…”

    …Says John Young.

    Toad thinks, that if Hell does indeed exist – a ‘morbid fear’ of it is the only possible sane state of mind.

    On the other hand, Toad remembers some learned Doctor of the Church, (Terersa will remember who it was) on being asked what Hell was like, said he had no idea – the only thing he was sure of, was that it was a great deal nicer than being on earth.


  6. toadspittle says:

    “Hell isn’t going out of fashion…”

    Not as long as the initals CP&S mean anything, anyway! You go, Burro! Give ’em, well give ’em, heck!


  7. piliersdelaterre says:

    according to Jean-Paul Sartre, Hell is other people…


  8. toadspittle says:

    Other people are – or can be – Hell, for sure. But Christopher Marlowe says,

    “Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscribed In one self place, for where we are is hell, And where hell is there must we ever be. “

    But then he also says:

    “I count religion but a childish toy, and hold there is no sin but ignorance.

    What is it with people called Christopher? So snitty!


  9. kathleen says:

    We have all heard the saying: “The Devil’s greatest victory is convincing people that he doesn’t exist”. And of course if the Devil doesn’t exist, nor does Hell! The obvious consequence of this belief is that there is nothing to stop us doing exactly what we want, satiating our appetites in any form of libertine behaviour, as there is no retribution for any sin or misdeed…… really no need to have a bad conscience about anything at all.!! Then the following selfishness, greed, lust go on till we become miserable slaves of our passions. Without even realising it, we have chosen to do the Devil’s work.

    The reality of the existence of Hell, and the possibility of ending up there after death, prompts us to call upon Our Saviour’s mercy at all times. The doctrine of Hell should not terrify us, but it must certainly make us fully aware that mortal sin has consequences and should be avoided at all cost. Our Blessed Lord told us where our true home was – His coming was to show us the Way – but no one will be taken there by force. If His Divine mercy is rejected, even as one draws one’s last breath, unrepentant sinners have nowhere else to go.


  10. toadspittle says:

    “The obvious consequence of this belief is that there is nothing to stop us doing exactly what we want, satiating our appetites in any form of libertine behaviour, “

    Well, Toad, cannot speak for Kathleen, of course, but a great many things conspire to prevent him satiating his appetites in any form of libertine behaviour. Decency, dignity, self-esteem, old age, laziness, and a desire not to frighten the animals, being a mere handful.


  11. kathleen says:

    Yes Toad, I get your point, and I cannot speak for Toad’s temptations…… I’m convinced Toad would NEVER frighten his beloved dogs 😉 . But the fact is the Devil is clever and sly. He can get us to convince ourselves that behaving in an INdecent, UNdignified way is quite OK, and why shouldn’t one do what one’s more basic instincts draw us towards if we “feel” like it? It is precisely a very elevated self-esteem that tempts us to obey no external laws but our own. Humility, obedience etc., lead us towards self-control and the desire for the practice of virtue……. and certainly eventually true peace of mind too; but that’s another story.


  12. toadspittle says:

    “But the fact is the Devil is clever and sly. He can get us to convince ourselves that behaving in an INdecent, UNdignified way is quite OK,”

    Fie, Kathleen! You make the Devil sound like a two-bit TV game show host. And you are, no doubt, absolutely right.

    “Humility, obedience etc., lead us towards self-control and the desire for the practice of virtue……. and certainly eventually true peace of mind too; “ You say, and Toad has no argument with that.

    Obedience to one’s own conscience, of course.

    ” And of course if the Devil doesn’t exist, nor does Hell!”

    Isn’t that a bit like saying, “If London doesn’t exist, neither does Boris Johnson (or Ken Livingstone, for that matter.) ?


  13. manus2 says:


    A fascinating idea: Heaven apparently has many rooms, and so presumably has Hell; Satre suggests that three in a room is perfectly adequate for eternal torment.

    But if Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe is right, and

    ” … Every boy and every gal
    That’s born into the world alive
    Is either a little Liberal
    Or else a little Conservative!”

    Then do you suppose there is one sort of Hell for Liberals, and another for Conservatives? And if so, which Mayor (Johnson or Livingstone) would be the most suitable treatment for which camp?


  14. kathleen says:

    States Toad: “Obedience to one’s own conscience, of course.”

    A very dangerous statement dear Toad.

    I’m pretty sure Hitler, Stalin, Bin Laden, and all the many evil mass murderers (known and unknown) would have said that they were “obeying their consciences” to improve their countries or the world!!

    IMHO it would be better to say “obedience to one’s WELL-FORMED conscience”; which in our case is based on Christian (meaning of course, Catholic) teachings on Faith and Morals.


  15. toadspittle says:

    Toad take’s Kathleen’s point about ‘conscience.’ Yes, it should be WELL-FORMED. The trouble is, he supposes, the naughty men, such as Hitler, Stalin, and Bin Laden, would probably – if they gave any thought to conscience at all – consider their consciences every bit as well-formed as Kathleen does hers. One could, I suppose, gently point out to them that their consciences are not well-formed because they are not based on Catholic teachings on Faith and Morals.

    And no doubt get a sympathetic hearing.

    (Toad is always amused when he sees IMHO, because he knows that next thing he reads is going to be at least a bit arrogant. When his Father-in-Law would say say to him, (as he did frequently) “With all due respect, ” Toad knew that the man was going to be disrespectful.)


  16. kathleen says:

    Well Toad, I’m sorry if you think my reply is going to be “at least a bit arrogant” in your considered opinion 😦 but you did give me the exact answer I thought you would….. that Hitler & co. would consider their consciences just as “well-formed.”

    However, you and I, and the majority of mankind (whether they be believers or not) know that their consciences were (or one supposes “are” in the case of Bin Laden) not at all so. Their motivations for committing their crimes were hate, fear, ambition for power, and above all pride. In one of C.S. Lewis’s books – I’m afraid I can’t remember which – he describes a list of common moral ethics that all good, sane men agree on, whatever their religion or culture. It goes to follow that there is also evil behaviour that all good, sane men would deplore!


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s