Catholic Dogma: Torture Forever in Hell

Modern descriptions of Hell, by various Catholic “teachers”, has tended to make Hell seem like a not-so-bad place. Gone is the word “torture” and all similar words and phrasings. Hell is not portrayed by them as a place where God punishes the wicked. One typical description is that Hell is a place of aloneness, and that’s all it is. Some claim that God does not send anyone to Hell — they send themselves. But others go so far as to say that “perhaps” no human persons at all are sent to Hell. Then the limbo of Hell is said to be a place of “perfect natural happiness”.

But does Hell even exist? I have to ask this question because modern editions of the Bible entirely lack the word “Hell”. They have cleverly rephrased every verse that mentions Hell, so as to obscure its very existence. My own translation of the Bible (CPDV) uses the word “hell” in 86 places. Yet I could not find a single use of the word “hell” in any verse of the USCCB official New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE).

What the Hell is happening to Catholicism today?!! Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition are absolutely clear that Hell is a place where God sends the wicked to be punished forever.

[Revelation]
{1:17} And when I had seen him, I fell at his feet, like one who is dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.
{1:18} And I am alive, though I was dead. And, behold, I live forever and ever. And I hold the keys of death and of Hell.

Hell exists, and Jesus holds the key.

[Philippians]
{2:9} Because of this, God has also exalted him and has given him a name which is above every name,
{2:10} so that, at the name of Jesus, every knee would bend, of those in heaven, of those on earth, and of those in hell,
{2:11} and so that every tongue would confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.

There are knees and tongues in Hell because there are human persons in Hell, and, after the general Resurrection, the souls of Hell will be united to resurrected bodies. The souls in Hell no longer sin, being prevented from sin by the prevenient grace of God; as a result, they admit that Jesus is Lord.

[Luke]
{16:22} Then it happened that the beggar died, and he was carried by the Angels into the bosom of Abraham. Now the wealthy man also died, and he was entombed in Hell.
{16:23} Then lifting up his eyes, while he was in torments, he saw Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom.
{16:24} And crying out, he said: ‘Father Abraham, take pity on me and send Lazarus, so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water to refresh my tongue. For I am tortured in this fire.’
{16:25} And Abraham said to him: ‘Son, recall that you received good things in your life, and in comparison, Lazarus received bad things. But now he is consoled, and truly you are tormented.
{16:26} And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been established, so that those who might want to cross from here to you are not able, nor can someone cross from there to here.’
{16:27} And he said: ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers,
{16:28} so that he may testify to them, lest they also come into this place of torments.’

The wealthy man went to Hell, therefore some human persons go to Hell. He was “tortured” and “tormented” in Hell, so Hell is a place of torture and torment. He does not want his brothers to be with him in Hell (as this would increase his sufferings, by their horrific company), therefore the souls in Hell are not alone.

[Matthew]
{18:32} Then his lord called him, and he said to him: ‘You wicked servant, I forgave you all your debt, because you pleaded with me.
{18:33} Therefore, should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I also had compassion on you?’
{18:34} And his lord, being angry, handed him over to the torturers, until he repaid the entire debt.
{18:35} So, too, shall my heavenly Father do to you, if each one of you will not forgive his brother from your hearts.”

In the parable, the servant is handed over to torture, but only until the debt is paid. So this torture refers to the sufferings of Purgatory. If even Purgatory is torturous, how can eternal punishment in Hell be anything less?

[Mark]
{9:42} And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off: it is better for you to enter into life disabled, than having two hands to go into Hell, into the unquenchable fire,
{9:43} where their worm does not die, and the fire is not extinguished.
{9:44} But if your foot causes you to sin, chop it off: it is better for you to enter into eternal life lame, than having two feet to be cast into the Hell of unquenchable fire,
{9:45} where their worm does not die, and the fire is not extinguished.
{9:46} But if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out: it is better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into the Hell of fire,
{9:47} where their worm does not die, and the fire is not extinguished.

The sufferings of Hell include the pangs of conscience (“their worm”) and the active punishments (“fire”). The punishments of Hell never cease, so Hell is called an “unquenchable fire”. There must be human persons in Hell, since Jesus speaks of hand and feet and eyes in Hell. So Hell is not only for fallen angels (devils).

[Luke]
{10:15} And as for you, Capernaum, who would be exalted even up to Heaven: you shall be submerged into Hell.

Many persons are sent to Hell.

[Matthew]
{23:33} You serpents, you brood of vipers! How will you escape from the judgment of Hell?

Human persons and devils do not go to Hell willingly; they do not send themselves there. It is a judgment of God, condemning them to Hell.

[Isaiah]
{14:15} Yet truly, you shall be dragged down to Hell, into the depths of the pit.

People do not send themselves to Hell. They are sent their unwillingly, as if they have to be dragged down to that place.

[Sirach]
{21:10} The synagogue of sinners is like stubble piled up; for the end of them both is a burning fire.
{21:11} The way of sinners is paved and level, and at their end is hell and darkness and punishments.

Hell is a place of punishment; many persons are sent there.

[Ecclesiastes]
{9:3} This is a very great burden among all things that are done under the sun: that the same things happen to everyone. And when the hearts of the sons of men are filled with malice and contempt in their lives, afterwards they shall be dragged down to hell.

Human persons, “the sons of men”, are sent to Hell for grave sins, such as malice and contempt. They go unwillingly, having to be figuratively dragged away to Hell.

And there are many other passage of Sacred Scripture referring to Hell. As for Sacred Tradition, every Saint and Doctor of the Church has held and taught that Hell exists as a place of eternal punishments.

Heretical teachers include anyone who, today, teaches any one or more of the following claims:

* that Hell does not exist
* that Hell exists, but “perhaps” no human souls are sent there
* that God does not send anyone to Hell; they send themselves
* that those persons only go to Hell who decide to go there
* that Hell is a place of aloneness, without the horrific company of other reprobate souls and devils
* that the punishments of Hell do not include the worm of conscience
* that the punishments of Hell do not include, for many souls, active sufferings
* that these active sufferings and even the worm of conscience by itself are not properly called torture
* that the sufferings of Purgatory are not properly called torture
* that God himself does not inflict any punishments on the souls in Hell
* that the devils are in charge of Hell, or that they are the ones who punish in Hell
* that the devils are not also prisoners in the figurative prison of Hell, but instead they are like the wardens or guards
* that very few human persons are ever sent to Hell
* that Hell or its punishments ever cease
* that the souls in Hell continue to sin gravely forever

For more, see my booklet:
Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, and Limbo

by
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

Please take a look at this list of my books and booklets, and see if any topic interests you.

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6 Responses to Catholic Dogma: Torture Forever in Hell

  1. King Robert the Bruce says:

    Ron did the visionaries at medjugorgie not say in an interview that you condemn yourself to hell at the particular judgement that you know you are not worthy of heaven

    • Ron Conte says:

      I don’t recall that statement. But at the particular judgment, each person is given infused knowledge of the good and bad they have done in their lives, so those that are condemned by God to Hell know with certitude why they are condemned. But it is not literally true, as some claim, that the person must decided to condemn themselves to Hell. For the Church teaches that, if you die unrepentant from any actual mortal sin, you certainly go to Hell. It is not dependent on a subsequent decision by the sinner to condemn himself to Hell.

  2. Joshua says:

    It is an act of charity to warn the faithful (and non-faithful) about hell. If the fear of hell keeps people from going there (i.e., from persisting in mortal sin), then I’m all for it! “Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls into heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy. Amen.”

    • Francisco says:

      Reading at the Fatima Prayer, the USCCB would translate it as: “save us from the discomfort of the underworld…” It seems that they try to soften wordings and avoid at all cost the word “Hell”.

  3. Matt says:

    January 10, 1983 Message from Blessed Virgin Mary (Medjugorje)
    “Men who go to Hell no longer want to receive any benefit from God. They do not repent nor do they cease to swear and to blaspheme. They make up their mind to live in Hell and do not at all contemplate leaving it.”

    • Ron Conte says:

      The swearing and blaspheming of souls in Hell is figurative. They are in a perpetual state of rejecting God, which is like a perpetual utterance of swearing and blaspheming. But they do not literally commit such grave sins, being prevented by the prevenient grace of God. For if the souls in Hell could sin, they would deserve an increase in punishment, and then their punishments would continually increase forever, which would be unjust. Also, it would be unjust for God to permit perpetual grave sins forever, even in Hell.

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