BFP: An Empty Hell Means No Triumph of the Cross

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Show Notes

What people say and what they really believe are often different.   There was the famous English free-thinker, Hobbes.  He used to stridently assert his whole life that there was neither God nor angel, still less was there a devil or hell.  Despite all his strident insistence, however, he had the greatest dread of evil spirits; even in his old age he was afraid of sleeping alone in a room.  What he openly denied, he secretly believed.

So it is with Hell.  Some, starting with people interpreting Hans Urs von Balthasar, began to comment that we can hope Hell will be empty.  Many people run from that supposition and think Hell will be empty.  That thinking is not too far from thinking there is no Hell.

We know better.

The index of the Writings of St. Maximillian Kolbe have very few mentions of Hell, however, he said that the Buddhists taught that there is a heaven and hell, but their teachers do not believe it.

St. Kolbe reported in his letter that he told the teachers who said this that they were deceiving people to teach in something they don’t believe in.

The buddhists replied, “nothing can be done about that.”

I agree with Kolbe:  

“It is not right to teach about things that are untrue.  If Heaven and Hell do not exist, everyone should know the truth.  But if they do exist, then they must apply to everyone, because before God all men are equal..”

Maximillian Kolbe at letter 1268

Similarly, Fr. McBrien, the late theologian priest of Notre Dame University and author of the book Catholicism, wrote in that title that the Church never taught anyone went to Hell.  Countless people, festered by McBrien’s short talk ran with the notion that Hell is but a scare tactic, and no one goes there.

We should have no sympathy for these liars who would diminish the reality of Hell.  The possibility of death.  Our Lady warned us at Fatima that hell was real and showed the little children the vision of people tormented there.

The saints have constantly warned us.  Indeed, if you have been in a state of mortal sin before, you know… hell is real because you began to experience it here.

What good is it to prevaricate on this?  

Fr. Hardon would reply to these inane quips, with “If Hell is empty after all these years, then we must ask what crime does it take to go there?”

“No Catholic theologian in the United States has made a larger contribution to the reception of Vatican II than Richard McBrien did,” the Rev. Charles E. Curran, a professor of human values at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Curran…  who was a Catholic priest and was active on the board of the National Catholic Reporter would of course praise the likes of such stench.

But let’s get deeper here — let’s assume that the Hell is just a “scare tactic” for a moment..   Maybe these people are right, right?

Maybe those people who criticized St. Alphonsus Ligouri’s terrifying sermons on sin and punishment were right — scare tactics not needed and he was being “Dramatic”….

Maybe Bishop Barron’s response that when Our Lady showed the vision of Hell to the little children at Fatima, that it was just a private revelation.  Meaning, I suppose in my opinion on reading that response back then, was that Our Lady’s revelation was not a definitive teaching.  Indeed, people interpreting his response took it to mean that the vision of Hell with people in it was not authoritative.  (Refer back to the last episode on the angels...  I don’t want the bloody nose for that implication…  fools rush in and all that)

Of course there are people in Hell.  

Our Lady of Fatima was right, however, and I can prove to you why.

She told us to pray and repent, and do penance.

Today is the feast of the Triumph of the Cross.  September 14.  

It celebrates the day St. Helen’s quest to find and recover the true cross.  The year was 326.  The temple to Jupiter in Palestine was demolished.  Three crosses and the titulus (“I.N.R.I.) were found.  The problem was which was the true cross?  A woman with chronic illness touched each.  She was healed upon touching the third.  A funeral passing by, they touched the cross to the deceased.  He rose from the dead.

The Birth of Jesus, Cross, His death and His Resurrection are real…

But ask yourself…  if there was no Hell, why would Jesus do that?  Why suffer the Cross?

St. Robert Bellarmine was apt to say that the trouble with Calvin is that he could not admit how much God loves each of us.

The trouble with these moderns and weak teachers is that they love none of us…   Jesus Christ endured the Cross to rescue you, me, and everyone from Hell… It’s real, and people can go there.

Glory to His Cross and Resurrection!   Glory to Jesus Christ, Our Savior!

Now, if there is some “hope that hell would be empty”, it was expressed by John the Baptist, right?  John the Baptist proclaimed the coming of the redeemer, the savior.  He told us “repent, and make straight the path” and be baptized.

Why did he do that is hell was just a scare tactic?

Why did Jesus suffer death if Hell is empty?  

And why would Our Lady chose to scare such little children if it were not true that people go to Hell?

The vision of Hell given by Our Lady to the children at Fatima was real — she loves us and wants us to avail ourselves of salvation.  The salvation merited by Her Son.  

What von Balthasar was trying to say is that the Crucifixion was adequate to expiate all sin, everywhere — if people availed themselves of salvation, repent, and turn to Our Lord, they can be saved — every one of them.

But it takes conversion, and not everyone will do that.

Don’t be tempted to think Hell is empty.  And if you want to hope in an empty hell, then do as John the Baptist did and speak of repentance, even to Herod.

Here is a clip of Fr. Micelli describing private revelation and what we must believe of it:

-Fr. Micelli Clip –

I love what he says about the “private revelation”

But let’s tackle this question directly:  is Hell empty, and does the Church say so?

No, the Church teaches there is a Hell, it is eternal, and we know that the devil, and many angels who followed the devil are in Hell.

So, it’s not empty.  But let’s take this one step further. Fr. Hardon commented frequently on the “empty hell” hope advanced around.

– Fr. Hardon Clip –

This article, BFP: An Empty Hell Means No Triumph of the Cross is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
Do not repost the entire article without written permission. Reasonable excerpts may be reposted so long as it is linked to this page.

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John B. Manos

John B. Manos, Esq. is an attorney and chemical engineer. He has a dog, Fyo, and likes photography, astronomy, and dusty old books published by Benziger Brothers. He is the President of the Bellarmine Forum.