Rorate Caeli

There is a hell

Dear friends, concrete advices for our lives come from the Word of God which we have heard [note: in the Traditional Roman Rite, Gospel for Saturday in the Third Week of Lent, John viii, 1-11]. Jesus does not undertake a theoretical discussion with his interlocutors: it does not matter to him to win an argument on the interpretation of Mosaic Law; his goal is to save a soul and to reveal that salvation is found in God's love. For this he came to earth, for this he will die on the cross, and [for this] the Father will resurrect him on the third day. Jesus came to say that he wishes all [to be] in Heaven and that hell, which is barely spoken of in our age, exists and is eternal for all those who close their hearts to his love. Also in this episode we thus understand that our true enemy is attachment to sin, which may lead us to the ruin of our existence. Jesus dismisses the adulterous woman with this advice: "Go, and, from now on, sin no more". He grants her pardon so that "from now on" she shall sin no more. In an analogous episode, that of the repentant sinner which we find in the Gospel of Luke (vii, 36-50), He welcomes and sends forth in peace a woman who repented. Here, in turn, the adulterous woman is pardoned in an unconditional way. In both cases - for the repentant sinner and for the adulterous woman - the message is the same. In one case, it is underlined that there is no pardon without repentance; here, it is made clear that only divine pardon and [divine] love received with an open and sincere heart grant the strength to resist evil and to "sin no more".
Benedict XVI
March 25, 2007


  1. Anonymous2:27 AM

    I hope every priest reads this homily. Maybe they will start wearing black or at least some purple at funerals. I think the Holy Father has made it clear there are absolutes, so those who preach at funeral masses that everyone goes to heaven are wrong and in need of correction. There is a judgment and price to pay, it's not a free ride.

  2. Anonymous6:28 AM

    "hardly spoken of in this age"

    Allow me to add, BY THE CHURCH!

  3. Anonymous2:05 PM

    Is it just me or is this man a pope who should be seen as the true "santo subito" (when he passes of course) and that imposter ecumenical sellout as fake

    If one dares to say anything at all negative in the least on a so called "conservative" blog such as Jimmy Akin or Mark Shea you get blasted by the so called neo cons

    It worries me that these left wing lunies who throw out some scripture and act as if they know church teaching are masking as the so called guardians of the faith within the church

    B16 I think would do away with much of what has taken place and restore sanity, but whomever is actually left and attends the New Mass would probably be lost

  4. Anonymous11:34 PM

    Dear Rorate:
    --the saintly words of true Catholic charity by a thoroughly orthodox Roman Catholic pope! They are to be revered as the kind of veracity which saves souls from hell. Let us all remember too Christ's forboding words: "Remember Lot's Wife!" God bless Pope Benedict XVI and all readers of this great blog who seek the undiluted, unadulterated Catholic truths and tradition of the Ages!

    j hughes dunphy

  5. I'm afraid the Balthasarians will just say, "We know that hell exists and is eternal for any who close their hearts to Christ. We just think you can hope that in the end, no men will do so..."

  6. Anonymous8:16 PM

    Jeff is right, of course. And I can do him one better. I can say that Hell exists and that all who close their hearts to Christ go there but that no one does this and no one goes there. That is to say, what the Pope has said is consistent not only with what Blathasar called universal hope but also with what we might all universal certainty. Hell may well "exist" but be empty by God's grace, someone could say.

    It is important to remember that the statements of today's churchmen are notable as much for what they they do not say as for what they say. They hint at what might be the case in such a way as to leave open the possibility that its opposite might also be true. It is important to keep all the main theological schools on board. Ratzinger is very much a part of this mentality.

  7. I suppose Jeff and anon. will only be happy if the Pope names exactly which people are going to hell and when. Everything else is "modernism."

    I suppose St Catherine of Siena was a weak-kneed modernist also since in the Dialogues she quotes Jesus as saying that any sinner - even if he is unable to make a confession - has a truly repentant heart, (even if at the very moment of death) Jesus will not abandon that sinner to hell. Of course, Jeff would just tell St. Catherine that "the Balthasarians will just say that everyone likely just dies with a truly repentant heart."

    What puerile analysis Jeff and anon. offer.

    Then there is the long standing Church tradition that St. Michael intercedes to offer the dying repentance at the moment of death in order to confound the devil. But, you say - the Balthsarians will jsut say that everyone accepts the offer. Thus all who pray for St. Michael to intervene at the last moment are weakling Catholics.

    What nonsense. What the Holy Father has stated here about hell is right, and devout, and good.

  8. Anonymous2:50 AM

    I think Ryan is a little overheated here in his response.

    I (anon.) never said that the Pope said anything unorthdox, only that he failed to say something that would have shown that those who hope for or positively beleive in universal salvation are wrong. He could have said that we know, on the basis of Scripture and tradition - particularly the teaching of Jesus himself - that some persons are in Hell. He does not and should not name anyone; the church has no knowledge of any particular individuals who are in Hell. All the authorities and examples you cite only prove to show that we should never give up hope for the salvation of any particular individual - they do not show that these saints and doctors beleived all might someday be saved. The mainstream tradition of which they are a part always supposed that some would be lost.

    What the Pope has said is compatible with beleiving in universal salvation; that is all I said, and you have not refutued it, Ryan. And, as far as I know, the church today makes no formal statements that show that belief in or hope for universal salvation are incorrect beliefs. That is a diffreence between contemporary and past teaching that is worth noting, I think. I challenge you to bring forth a single post-VII church document that positively affirms that some (individually unknown) persons will be lost eternally. I can quote you reams from the past, and I'll be delited if you can produce something more recent. But I doubt it. I'm not being puerile, just accurate about what is and is not implied by exact statments.

    Now, please, think hard before replying again. This one reqires a little mental work.

  9. Anonymous12:17 AM

    Well, I myself cant recall the last time I heard a sermon from a novus Ordo priest that talked about hell, after all the church now teaches that anyone can get to heaven, a protestant (yep, I checked it is right there in the Vatican II docs)in the DECREE ON ECUMENISM where it says that "The brethren divided from us also use many liturgical actions of the
    Christian religion. These most certainly can truly engender a life of grace in ways that vary according to the condition of each Church or Community. These liturgical actions must be regarded as capable of giving
    access to the community of salvation.

    So if one who denies the pope and sacraments can be saved, worships like a protestant, then who will be going to Hell?

    The Vatican II church is built on a quicksand foundation, and it is slowly slowly sinking.......


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