Saints Say That Road to Hell is Paved with Skulls of Bishops and Priests


(Just for the record: Some Saints may also say the Road to Hell is paved with yellow flags that weren’t thrown, but that is just a rumor…)


Yes, it was fiction but very influential on the people of the time. Of course, most couldn’t read it themselves but public readings were very popular.

Was all of Dante from his imagination?


I presume by "“all of Dante” in this discussion you mean the Divine Comedy, his poem in which he describes visiting heaven, purgatory and hell.

The poem is an allegory. He based a lot of it on Aquinas and the Bible. It also contains references to various Catholic concepts like the seven deadly sins, the four cardinal virtues and the three theological virtues, and use of numbers representing the Trinity like 3 and 9.

The Catholic Church does not teach specifics of heaven, hell and purgatory such as there being “levels” to each. Some Catholic mystics in private revelation have described “levels” in each, but Catholics are not required to believe in private revelation and it is not part of the official teaching of the Church.

The Catholic Church also does not teach that any specific person is in heaven or hell or purgatory, except for declaring that canonized saints are in heaven. Therefore, to the extent Dante saw people in hell for example, it would be his imagination. He saw a lot of his political opponents in hell, so that’s obviously his wishful thinking.

Basically he took elements of Church theology and made up a fictional story. He never claimed it to be based on any sort of mystical private revelation he himself had, and he has never had a sainthood cause or any of that. His book also wasn’t intended as a devotional work, especially since he criticizes quite a few real-life people in it.

Edited to add, there’s also a school of thought that he was actually influenced by Muslim theology as well, which he would have been exposed to in his time and place.


Thank you! I knew it was fiction but was unaware how much he based it on theological knowledge of his time.

While as far as I know there is no mention of levels of Hell in the Bible, doesn’t Paul describe his (assumed to be himself) visit to the third level of heaven? I know many Jews back then theologically believed in different levels of heaven and I think that anyone that accepted multiple levels of heaven would naturally assume multiple levels of Hell? It’s an interesting concept.


The passage about “third heaven” and other similar Biblical references have been interpreted by the Catholic Church to mean that different souls experience heaven in different ways, based on their own lives and their level of spiritual growth during life/ their relationship with Jesus.

Here is a Catholic Answers piece by Jimmy Akin discussing this in more detail.


The article is a good explanation and actually makes sense of those in Paul’s time of the understanding of cosmology. Thanks for the link!




Re: clergy or the rank and file

Jesus never promised a Judas free Church. EVERYONE has free will, therefore EVERYONE needs to be faithful to the end of their life … or else


The bad “some” is not the all, but unfortunately makes headlines and gives Catholics a bad name when those few step out of line. Odd that other churches are not held to the release of such lists; nor the public schools for that matter.


Well played !

Got a good laugh out of that one😅



It’s absolutely paved with their skulls.

Look at Cardinal Marx in Germany. He is advocating and has been granted a meeting at the Vatican to discuss letting priests out of celibacy as well as communion for the divorced, etc.


I really don’t think discussing these things is a ticket to Hell.


For your information (since you seem troubled by part of what you refer to), celibacy is a discipline, not a doctrine; and for 10 centuries, the Roman rite had married as well as celibate clergy; and the Catholic Church (since it encompasses more than just the Roman rite) has had both married and celibate clergy since its beginning, even up to today.

And divorced people may go to Communion. I think what you may be referring to is the issue of whether or not those who were married, divorced, and remarried without the benefit of a tribunal decision declaring their first marriage null, may go to Communion.

So, for example, if an individual (usually, but not always the woman) in a marriage files for divorce because of the violence of the other party, even though they filed for the divorce, they may go to Communion - and most priests (and bishops) would not hold the person filing (and seeking protection) would not be guilty of “causing” the divorce. The person causing the violence may well need to go to confession after the divorce, but they, too would be allowed to Communion.


The fact it’s even on the table. Plus that’s not his most radical demand either.


Can’t tell if your tone is sarcastic or not. So I’ll just leave this here for you.


Lifesite news is one of the sites I won’t bother to read. I don’t need hyperbolic and florid writing to know what is going on in the Church; the National Catholic Register is fine.

My comment was not meant to be sarcastic in the least; it was meant to be instructive. I am not concerned if you would not like to have a priest who was married and then ordained; I have known a couple of them and they were remarkable priests (and both from Protestant churches).

There have been a number of threads concerning the matter, and I have yet to see any objection made that goes against the possibility that we will eventually see Rome giving permission to ordain married men to the priesthood - they already gave permission to ordain married men to the permanent deaconate.


If you want to hide from facts, that’s your prerogative.


Still can’t find where the Church says discussion – and of a discipline yet, not dogma – is a ticket to Hell.


Furthermore, priests have charge of the souls of their parishioners. A priest who neglects to hear Confessions or who does not call people to make good Confessions, can stand condemned on account of the sins of his flock. If anyone perishes because the watchman did not give warning, the watchman has blood on his hands.

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