Is it just me, or do a lot of people seem to enjoy the idea of others being dammed?

I am a Catholic. I believe that God loves everyone, and that** only** truly evil people go to Hell (no, I do not believe that missing a mass or being a non-christian equates to being truly evil).

Having said that, it is extremely frustrating to see how many people on this forum insist that Heaven is only for Saints.

I’ve seen someone claim that lying is intrinsically evil … even if you’re lying so as to save another human’s life. I’ve seen someone complaining about “usurping justice with mercy” … as though God wasn’t merciful or forgiving. I’ve seen someone suggest that all homosexuals and non-Catholics are condemned to Hell. I’ve seen several people on many different occasions suggest that you are guilty of sins committed under duress, even if said duress extends to torture or threat of death.

Try suggesting that God doesn’t condemn people to Hell for circumstances outside of their control, or that God cares more about what’s in a person’s heart than whether or not he committed a sin at some point in his life, and people on this forum will start complaining.

Am I the only Catholic here who is sick of the “Fire and Brimstone” sentiment? Who is weary of hearing people claim that what is in a person’s heart has no bearing on where an immortal soul goes? Who is tired of armchair martyrs condemning those who buckled under hardships they themselves have never even had to think about before?

If you are also tired of this “Fire and Brimstone” sentiment, then please share your thoughts.

God alone is Judge of souls, and God alone knows the true state of souls. God knows the good intentions of the person’s heart. People can be too ready to judge, but appearances can be deceptive. Jesus Himself said some people regarded as sinners in His time

Matthew 21:31

Which of the two did the will of his father?’ They said, ‘The first.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, the tax-collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you.

It is perverse of anyone to wish another person in hell, rather we should leave judging to God, and pray for others and ourselves.

In the Gospels, Our Lord himself often confronted this awful sentiment. He was never pleased when people expressed such ideas.

Yes there is sin. Yes there is a hell where people who voluntarily separate themselves from God can end up if they refuse his many offers of mercy. It pains God to see people choose selfishness and sin over love of God. But God’s great intent is to make mercy available to all. God who is all powerful humbles himself, submits himself to profanation and abuse and to ongoing neglect in order to make his loving mercy available to us. All we need do is look at a crucifix to see what God willingly endured to make his mercy available to us. Would a God who took that upon himself create the human race on purpose in order to damn to greater portion of it? I think not. We don’t get a pass on sins, but we have constant opportunities to repent and repair the damage with the help of God’s grace. To those pious skunks who constantly who pronounce fatwas against others, I’d ask “what makes you so sure you’re among the elect?” They do God a horrid disservice when they speak that way. It’s akin to blasphemy. They also drive people from the Church by such proud and judgmental conduct.

In many cases, the “fire and brimstone” crowd may have good intentions. Everywhere they see sin discounted and God’s mercy presumed upon. Those things are very wrong. But so is focusing on and criticizing the perceived misdeeds of others is also bad. Jesus speaks against it, so do many of the New Testament epistles. But in many other instances good intentions are not at the root of the fire and brimstone rhetoric. Too often it’s anger, fear, resentment, and even envy. All of those things are spiritual poison.

GOD’s JOB is to judge only after all opportunities to receive his mercy have been rejected.

OUR JOB is to love.

Borninmarch, I agree completely with your post and I second your feelings. Well said.

Yes, it sometimes seems that way to me. Those damnation threads always remind me of the two ways of motivation, the carrot and the stick. Some people like to dwell on the positive, the promise of reward, while others seem to prefer the negative, the threat of punishment. I’m guessing that the people who go on about how many folks are heading for hell feel they are doing a good thing by warning us sinners to change our ways. Or maybe they have been hurt by some injustice in this life and want very much to see things made right in the next life, which seems like a thirst for vengeance to me.

I do not like seeing those threads about countless souls in hell, perhaps because I do not like being threatened, and more importantly, because Scripture tells us that God desires the salvation of all. I think that dwelling too much on the threat of hell actually drives people away from the Faith. If the only way we can persuade someone of God’s love is by threatening them with damnation, perhaps we should reconsider our evangelization strategy. Anyway, I trust in the Divine Mercy and hope for the best. I am an optimist, but maybe come the Judgment Day, all of the hell mongers here will triumphantly tell me, “I told you so!”

Catholics believe what the Catholic Church teaches, including:
God loves everyone.
Anyone who dies unrepentant from one or more actual mortal sins is condemned to Hell [Councils of Florence, Lyons II]

That “someone” is Saint Augustine [On Lying, n. 13].
Both St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine taught that “every lie is a sin” [On Lying, n. 1; Summa Theologica, II-II, Q. 110, A. 3.]
By its very nature, lying is to be condemned. [CCC 2485]
A good intention (for example, that of helping one’s neighbor) does not make behavior that is intrinsically disordered, such as lying and calumny, good or just. The end does not justify the means. [CCC 1753]

However, not every lie is a mortal sin. A venial lie to save the lives of innocent persons does not condemn to Hell.

Duress can reduce subjective culpability, and severe duress can reduce culpability a great deal. However, duress does not automatically make one’s knowing choices “not a sin”.

“It is therefore an error to judge the morality of human acts by considering only the intention that inspires them or the circumstances (environment, social pressure, duress or emergency, etc.) which supply their context. There are acts which, in and of themselves, independently of circumstances and intentions, are always gravely illicit by reason of their object; such as blasphemy and perjury, murder and adultery. One may not do evil so that good may result from it.” [CCC 1756]

And Pope Innocent XI taught that a servant who directly assists his master in committing a mortal sin, also sins mortally himself, even “if he does this through fear of considerable damage, for example, lest he be treated wickedly by his master, lest he be looked upon with savage eyes, or, lest he be expelled from the house.” [Denzinger, n. 1201.]

Here’s what frustrates me: Catholics who have not bothered to learn what the Church teaches before going online to teach and correct others.

You are one-and-one on that. The Church doesn’t teach that “being” a non-Christian is evil. But it does teach that Catholics who willfully fail in their obligation to attend Mass on Holy Days and Sundays (and note: obligation does not exist or is dispensed in many circumstances) have indeed committed a sin of grave matter. That isn’t an opinion, that is a truth of the Faith.

Well, strictly speaking…

People are broken, confused, prideful, misinformed, uneducated, overeducated, and on and on-- sometimes all at once.

In other words, these people you are angry at deserve compassion and understanding too. :slight_smile:

When people misstated the truth or are ignorant of it, we can share the truth with them. That is one of the spiritual works of mercy.

It doesn’t do anyone any good to say the truth is not the truth-- such as that it’s not “really” bad to miss Mass. Because it is “really bad”. Or it’s not “really” bad to do any number of things that are spelled out in the 10 commandments. Because it is.

No one can judge the interior disposition of a person, no one can know whether their knowledge or free will were compromised. We can discuss the objective morality of an action-- i.e. whether something is grave matter. We can tell people the truth about things they are contemplating doing or the gravity of things they have done. Whether or not there is something in there for them to confess-- that’s really not something we can say.

As one who is often accused of being ‘rude’ or ‘blunt’ I can also say that the written word often comes across much more harshly than the spoken-- and when you try to stick to the facts of the question (because it is not possible to get into the mind of the person posting) again you are accused of being “judgmental” or whatever when that is far from the truth.

It is difficult to decipher tone and intent in the written word. That is why we have emoticons. And even those don’t always work.

I actually agree with Ron. You obviously don’t know what the Church teaches otherwise you wouldn’t have started this thread.

I have seen some posts which are like what you describe, but I have also seen strong correction of those posts, which is good.

I have also seen posts which are taken to be what you describe, and perhaps you are not talking about these posts. These posts are those which explain Church teaching, and there are 3 things which a reader needs to understand in order to see the difference.

First, there is the difference between discussing a general idea and discussing specific people. If I say, robbing banks is a mortal sin and therefore people who rob banks go to Hell, the last part is a quick way of saying; people who rob banks are doing something for which souls can end up in Hell provided there are no factors mitigating their guilt and they never repent. The part that is omitted is assumed to be understood.

Second, The Church has the authority to teach the boundaries in which one must stay in order to maintain one’s soul in a state of grace. The Church gives us directions for getting to Heaven. The Church is not saying mean things about people when explaining that certain actions lead to Hell any more than I am saying a mean thing about someone if I say robbing banks lead to prison.

If you want to get to Heaven, follow the directions. If you don’t, that’s fine, but the Churh wants you to be aware of the consequences.

And third, there are times in the Church when one aspect of teaching needs to be emphasized, and there are times when another thing needs to be emphasized. Many look back over the past few decades and see that an optimistic picture of the afterlife has been painted, one in which about the only person in Hell is Hitler.

This leads to a carelessness about the need to follow the directions to Heaven, and the need to evangelize, so it needs to be countered. Often people who have heard priests say at a funeral, “He’s happy in Heaven now, playing all the golf he wants,” and that sort if thing, are startled when someone brings ip the idea that someone could actually and really go to Hell! Some normal person, Mengele and Jeffrey Dahmer are understandable.

These periods of taking Hell lightly are often the swing back from a period in which Hell was taken too heavily (?), a period in which people were afraid to act because they were too afraid of going to Hell by an innocent action.

So consider what the poster you are reading is trying to do. He may be trying to explain that a certain action is a mortal sin in order to clarify that it is a really bad idea, but he may not he putting it well. He may be excited by concern and come across too strongly, but he is not taking pleasure in the idea that people are going to Hell; he is trying to keep people out of Hell.

Heaven is only for Saints. If God’s will is desired by everybody and they act accordingly, everyone will end up in Heaven as a Saint.

As for people who are gleeful about others going to hell, theirs is the sin of pride. One of the deadly sins.

Remember the several parables of the self-righteous Pharisees.

Jesus had several choice words to say about them.

Our Lord does not seem to agree with the notion that only a few “truly evil” people go to hell:

St. Matthew 7:13-14, DR:
Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it!

That seems pretty straightforward. The path to Heaven is difficult and only a few will find it, while the path to Hell is easy and many, many will find it. I derive no pleasure from the thought of lots of people going to Hell. But how else do you interpret this passage? Lots of people care nothing about God or following His commandments. I personally think Dante had it right with his “Ante-Inferno” for the souls of the lukewarm, those “who had committed neither good nor evil during life.”

Apocalypse 3:16, DR:
But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.

I can relate to what you are talking about. I have certainly seen fire and brimstone posts, posts that seem to forget that the Church is a hospital for sinners, and that God’s mercy is for everyone, not just a few people, that no one is hopeless beyond repair, and they do bother me. I have also seen the opposite though- the idea that if God is loving, then no one will go to hell… and I think there needs to be a balance here. Here are my thoughts:
Everyone in heaven is a saint. Saints aren’t in heaven because of their own doing but because God made them saints. He wants us all to become saints.
God doesn’t condemn people to hell as revenge for us sinning against Him. He doesn’t want anyone in hell- not even the “truly evil people”. Hell is a choice- a choice to be separated from God. We all sin, and sin separates us from God. But God is willing to forgive us and by dying for our sins Jesus allows us to be reunited to God- if we choose to do so.
There is no sin God can’t forgive. But we need to ask for forgiveness. And as you said, only God can truly judge people’s hearts. Just because someone committed a sin, even if it is truly evil, does not mean they will go to hell.
And remember that a sin is not a mortal sin if it is not done freely or with full knowledge. God isn’t out to get us, waiting for us to accidentally sin. But if someone commits a mortal sin (whether it’s missing Mass or murder, knowing that it is wrong and choosing it freely) and refuses God’s mercy and does not repent, then they are choosing sin over God- and that is choosing hell. Some sins such as skipping Mass may seem small, but if they are done freely with full knowledge and without good reason, then it becomes a lot more than skipping Mass- it becomes a rejection of God’s will for us. God doesn’t want anyone to choose this, but He respects our freedom.

Maybe it’s the idea of justice being carried out. Thomas Aquinas wrote about this. He said, “In order that nothing may be wanting to the felicity of the blessed spirits in heaven, a perfect view is granted to them of the tortures of the damned.” He actually said one of the joys in heaven is to see the damned suffering in hell!

By the way, you might want to learn about the Church’s teaching on mortal sin.
Missing mass = mortal sin (if done consentually and knowledgeably)
Mortal sin = burning in hell


I hear you.

the lord ougod ris our judge he decides our fates i believe if you keep the 7 noahide laws he will be merciful, and even evil people can be redeemed look at st augustine, and maria gorettis killer
And honestly ive heard less hellfire since bdcoming catholic but let me tell ya my protestant granpas preacher upset me so bad at his funeral i sat outside i dislike being told so and so wilgo to hell

I agree with you BornInMarch…

First off, I have not read this entire thread and so I may repeat some things that have already been said. First I want to address your comment that Heaven is only for Saints… Well that really is true! Heaven is for those that stood fast in the Truth of our Lord and kept it! The whole point of the Church is to make us into saints!

And quite frankly I don’t know if Hell is only for truly evil people! Hell is for those that actively refused the Love and Truth of our Lord! But I’m not trying to say that most people go there or will go there because quite frankly I just don’t know. I don’t wish such a fate on anyone, not even truly evil people as you claim.

Despite what I just said, I can see the point when a lot of other people have said that they think many do go to hell. On this side of eternity, it genuinely seems that most people could honestly care less about their souls. If you don’t believe just look at the state of our world… Sadly most people are selfish and give into their disordered desires without thinking about the consequences. It’s all about the self and how to make oneself happy despite caring for others and living the Truth every day.

I do hope and trust in the our Lord’s Mercy as I am a sinner as well and know I need it everyday. With all my heart, I wish for the entire world to come and live in the Lord, away from sin and such disturbing disorders… It can really overwhelm you sometimes… Just seems really depressing…

I think for some it the idea of a perfect mercy and perfect justice. Especially for victims of horrendous crimes or sins. Knowing that God protects and fights for those who cannot achieve justice is comforting and merciful.

Or should we canonize abusers?

Psalms 141 4 Incline not my heart to evil words; to make excuses in sins.
Modern Catholic Dictionary
EVIL. The privation of a good that should be present. It is the lack of a good that essentially belongs to a nature; the absence of a good that is natural and due to a being. Evil is therefore the absence of what ought to be there.

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