About my pewsitting youth, I do not recall much. When young, I was too busy snapping the hat holders on the pew backs. While a teen, my acts of rebellion became more creative, and my ears became plugged. The only I time I can recall since my return to the church of a priest or bishop in public mentioning Hell was Archbishop Chaput at a First Things event in the city a few years back.
But in a homily, no. My experience is limited, as is obvious, by my being only one man and thus unable to listen to many sermons. That Hell is a place Yours Truly well and truly deserves to go goes without saying, but I say it anyway in case there is any confusion—though I do pray I, and you too, Dear Reader, make the Great Escape.
Before answering the main question, it is not worth saying anything whatsoever along the lines of “Dude, it’s like if a priest only talked about Hell and stuff, then people would be bummed out and they’d stop coming to church.” This sentiment is worth less than what a northbound cow deposited on the south field, but for the purposes of this survey, accept it. We’ll all believe that mentioning Hell more times than a San Franciscan can bear to hear is bad.
Now that that’s out of your system, don’t mention it below. We get it. Instead, ask around. Do you yourself, or do you know anybody, who heard in public and in earnest from a priest or pastor that actual people will go to actual Hell?
If so, what were the circumstances?
I don’t want to know about articles or books a priest may have written on the subject. I want to know what admonishment, if any, has been given in public in speech, preferably during a religious service. If a pastor or priest has echoed the modern sentiment that Hell is a figment or fairy tale, let’s hear about that, too. Or if the priest or pastor says Hell exists but nobody goes there—except perhaps Donald Trump or the people that say people go to Hell, mention that, too. Any plug for Hell, whether real or otherwise, counts.
If you yourself have not heard about Hell, your task is to ask another, then another, then another still until such time as you have met such a person who has heard about it. But no friend-of-a-friend stories. You can talk to Fred who heard from Bill that Ed once told him a priest said something about H-E-Double-toothpicks. You have to have it from Ed’s mouth directly. No hearsay.
That’s it. That’s your homework. The post will be open for comments all this week. Thanks.
This is from Father Z.
A while back, the head of the Jesuits, their Superior General Fr. Arturo Sosa Ascobal, opined that we don’t know what the Lord taught because no one had a tape recorder…
About the existence of the Devil, Sosa said:…
From my point of view, evil forms part of the mystery of freedom. If the human being is free, he can choose between good and evil. Christians believe that we are made in the image and likeness of God, therefore God is free, but God always chooses to do good because he is all goodness. We have made symbolic figures, like the devil, to express evil. Social conditionings also represents that figure, since there are people who act this way because it is in an environment where it is very difficult to do the opposite.
Where’s Clement XIV when you need him? It may be worth mentioning the Pope Francis is a Jesuit.