Thursday, April 24, 2014

Are There Souls in Hell? What does the Church Say?


The First Constitution of the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 refers to the fact that souls  living in AD 1215 would be in hell in its opening statement and its “Profession of the Faith.” The implication is that people from every generation would finally be eternally separated from God, not just those from the 13th century. For the strict interpreter of the Council, it seems inescapable that the Council taught souls are in hell now:
Indeed, having suffered and died on the wood of the cross for the salvation of the human race, he descended to the underworld, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. He descended in the soul, rose in the flesh, and ascended in both. He will come at the end of time to judge the living and the dead, to render to every person according to his works, both to the reprobate and to the elect. All of them will rise with their own bodies, which they now wear, (Latin text reads quae nunc gestant—which they are now bearing or wearing) so as to receive according to their deserts, whether these be good or bad; for the latter perpetual punishment with the devil, for the former eternal glory with Christ.
The present tense indicates that some folks then living—now wearing their bodies—would go to hell. Thus, the Church is here teaching there are souls “in” hell.
The soon-to-be cannonized JPII, quoted in L’Osservatore Romano, August 4, 1999:
Eternal damnation remains a real possibility, but we are not granted, without special divine revelation, the knowledge of whether or which human beings are effectively involved in it.
 John Paul's Crossing the Threshold of Hope:
Can God, who has loved man so much, permit the man who rejects Him to be condemned to eternal torment? And yet, the words of Christ are unequivocal. In Matthew's Gospel he speaks clearly of those who will go to eternal punishment (cf. Matt. 25:46). Who will these be? The Church has never made any pronouncement…” (pg. 185)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1034:
Jesus solemnly proclaims that he “will send his angels, and they will gather… all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,” and that he will pronounce the condemnation: “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire” (Matt. 25:41)!