Does the Catholic Church teach that Hell is literal fire rather than a metaphor?

Does the Catholic Church teach that Hell is literal fire rather than a metaphor for the psychological pain for not being in Heaven?

The Church teaches that Hell includes both the greater pain of loss and the lesser pain of sense. Whether the latter is “literal fire” is questionable, since literal, earthly fire doesn’t burn disembodied souls and doesn’t leave bodies intact to burn for eternity.

I can’t figure out how anyone could imagine that a God who loves all people would torture some of them with a sensible pain.

The pain of loss, guilt, remorse, hatred towards God and self and others is worse than sensible pain.

God doesn’t torture us. We do it to ourselves.

I’m actually quite taken by the way our Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Christian brethren see Hell.

It isn’t a place - it’s a state of being.

The eastern Church, believes that hell or eternal damnation and heaven exist and are the same place, which is being with God, and that the very same Divine love (God’s uncreated energies) which is a source of bliss and consolation for the righteous (because they love God, His love is Heaven for them), is also a source of torment (or a “Lake of Fire”) for sinners (because they don’t love God, they will feel His love this way). The Western Church speaks of heaven[174] and hell[175] as states of existence rather than as places. Whereas in Eastern Orthodoxy there is no Hell per se, there is damnation or punishment in eternity for the rejection of God’s grace."

I go the analogy of Going to a Party.

Sometimes we do so for fun, and sometimes we do so for obligation and we really aren’t enjoying ourselves.

So…we are all living in God’s Party at the End of it all.

If we be worthy of him, we will feel is Love…and the same thing producing that Love will produce Torment in those who have rejected him.

I agree that God doesn’t torture anyone and that’s why I don’t believe in Hell.

Here’s an article on Catholic teaching re: hell

catholic.com/magazine/online-edition/what-is-hell

Look in a Concordance for hell and read what Jesus says about hell. He says the souls burn in everlasting fire. Matt. 25: 41-46. Lake of fire …Rev. 20 :14&15

A priest who I had theology with taught us that hell was the absence of God. Peace

Human beings exists bodily, mentally, and spiritually. The rejection of God is something that is done with our whole person, therefore, when a person goes to hell, and after the final judgment when everybody is reunited with their bodies, the damned will experience sensual torments in addition to their mental and spiritual torment. The ‘fire of hell’ is traditionally understood by mystics as a spiritual fire that refers to God’s anger for unrequited love, although there are actual sensual torments as well. In various private accounts, the damned also inflict physical violence upon each other, “beating each other like mad dogs” (St John Bosco). Without being reunited with the body, the soul in itself possesses no material dimensions, but they are visually depicted as translucently glowing like living embers (Our Lady of Fatima). Mentally, the damned are severely deranged and have radical attachments to their vices to such a degree that they are incapable of rational thought.

Unlike Purgatory, where a soul sins no more and they have to work through their temporal sins on Earth, souls in hell commit sin on a continual basis through their extreme hatred of God and their eternal obstinacy.

The chief torment of hell is separation from God. In private accounts, an even greater torment would be if they were in the Beatific Vision, in the direct presence of God. In the distal place of hell, their torment is reduced. “Heaven is hotter than hell”.

Everything in hell is the antithesis of Heaven: hatred of God, hatred of neighbor.

Hell must be a very painful place to be, especially considering that many of the people who are there spent their earthly lives enjoying inflicting great pain on other people.

In a deep and big subject, literal and metaphorical are more in continuum than contrast.

Also, it’s of value to examine why we are interested in hell. Are we looking for members of the public who don’t know their left from their right, so that we can megaphone them? Or are we anxious to not be found not helping another to gain their crown, lest we find ourselves among those Jesus doesn’t know? (There is in some cases in Scripture - but by no means all - ambiguity as between heaven and purgatory, or purgatory and hell.)

Slipping up because of distractions, we have no idea of our own whether it will be an exonerating or aggravating circumstance. People don’t choose to suffer - yet there is some truth in the terrible point made by some modern existentialists about individual choice and initiative.

If we study especially ourselves and what is told us by those of our friends who are deep, balanced and honest, we will learn more than if we focussed mainly on taking necessarily superficial views of persons we don’t know.

Jesus said “gnashing of teeth”; sounds pretty painful to me.

excellent post.

In Gen 3, What did Satan say to Eve to get her to disobey God?

3 Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

See Satan’s strategy?

[LIST]
*]Question God’s commands. Don’t take Him seriously
*]God won’t do as He says He will do as consequences.
*]ergo disobedience is no big deal
[/LIST]
And what happened?

And that continues to play out over and over again.

Re: sensible pain

Remember, we will be body and soul again, after the resurrection. Those in heaven will be body and soul, as will those be in hell…forever

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.