Is Hitler in Hell?
We don’t know. The Church does not make that kind of judgment call about anyone no matter how bad we believe they were. That’s it, really.
Can I have some, too??
To the OP, I agree with another poster. We don’t know if he is in Hell or not. That is solely up to God, and God alone. However, I feel that even though he was a very, very bad person, that praying for his soul might help should he be in Hell or Purgatory.
It isn’t the Church’s job to decide if a person is in Hell. She can canonize saints, but not damn souls.
Thus, the correct answer is “We don’t know” because we don’t, though in many cases it seems easy to be able to say that a particularly evil person is in Hell. The point, though, is that we have no business deciding that.
Can I ask how it will help if he is in hell? Will it help our own souls or can it possibly help his/any other soul that has been condemned?
I try not to judge, including God. I just try to assume that the Creator of the universe would know more than I, as a piece of dust, as to how best to handle these matters.
If Hitler is in Hell, praying would not help him, but it certainly may help us. Jesus told us to love our enemies, and pray for them:
Matthew 5:43-48 (Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition)
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
I think Jesus is saying that we will become more perfect, more like sons of God, if we love and pray for our enemies and persecutors. As God makes his sun shine on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust, so should we love our enemies and pray for their salvation.
Would Hitler want to be in Heaven? We might not be able to answer the first question, but I think we have a pretty good shot at answering this one.
In reply to other posts I did not think it possible to help any one in hell. Is not hell an abosult thing. No soul can change his stance after death. Plus the whole insepreable gap between Heaven an hell. Its not purgatory its not medicinal either.
This post is exactly what I meant. You’re right. If he’s in Hell, praying won’t help him, but it will help us to love our enemies, just as Jesus told us to. I’m sorry for the mistake I made.
We should pray for the dead no matter what, because we do not know who is in Hell and who is in Purgatory. But if a person actually is in Hell, then there is nothing we can do for them. That’s permanent. If they are in purgatory, then we should pray for them because they are powerless to gain grace by themselves. But when they get to Heaven, they can pray for us too.
And what if Hitler is not in Hell? What if he is in Heaven, praying for all of us?
Edit: Oops! Rete said it first (see the post just above). I guess we are thinking along the same lines.
Thank you! I thought that was what was meant but wanted to clarify.
My answer to the OP is - God knows.
No problem! I sometimes have a lot of trouble with my clarification skills, so no worries! :o
The best we can do is to simply say, “I don’t know.” The worst we can do is form an idea based on his actions and draw a conclusion as they reflect on what the Church teaches, which if we are honest, leads back to “I don’t know.” Personal opinion on the matter is not comprehensive.
I don’t understand this new-fangled theology where the damned actually choose their damnation and would rather not be in Heaven. When someone lands in hell, as it were, they realize that they have made the biggest mistake imaginable and that God was all their whole being wanted and was created for. Go to hell and poll the damned and ask who would like to go to Heaven, they’d do anything to get a second chance. Matthew 7:21-23, be honest, do these people sound like they’re going to hell on their own volition? “Depart from me ye accursed” sounds like a condemnation, sounds like somebody is sending someone some place very unpleasant. Man dies, God judges, God sends him to hell if said man does not measure up. Period. Plain, yet hard, truth. No sugar-coating. God as a sovereign being has the right to declare someone unworthy to be in his kingdom. The only problem I have is with the alternative to heaven, I just wished it could have been more clement and merciful. It’s literally an eternity in a Club Med with your loved ones or a bleak Gulag on your own or with evil and loveless people around you.
Noone but God knows for sure, but Hitler is most likely in hell, so is Judas Iscariot.
Your question raises the issue of whether Hitler was mentally deranged - at least from the time he became Führer. There is an interesting article on the subject:
The present study is not intended to excuse Hitler’s actions or make him any less morally culpable.
There seems to be a contradiction in your view of divine justice and mercy:
The only problem I have is with the alternative to heaven, I just wished it could have been more clement and merciful…
On the one hand you claim God is infinitely just and on the other you imply He is not infinitely merciful. The answer is surely in the prayer Jesus taught us:
“Forgive us** as** we forgive…”
In other words our destiny does depend on our decision and is self-imposed. There is nothing sugar-coated about that!