So there's no hell now?

From this info.

Is this official? So hell is not a place where you eternally tormented with fire?

What from the Holy Father words that say no hell?
It only confirmed what the Church always officially teach as hell: the final and eternal separation from God.

I mean, literal hell.

It is official teaching from the Ordinary Magisterium, because he’s speaking as pope. But he never says that there is no hell.

Perhaps what threw you off is when he says that hell is not a place for a perpetual state. This was recently followed up by Pope Benedict’s statement on Purgatory, in which he also states that it’s not a physical place, but a state of being.

He is definitely saying that there is a hell and he goes to great lengths to explain the allegories and symbols used in scripture to explain hell.

He also adds a note of hope when he says that one must not live in fear of these symbols and allegories, because they are really given to us for our good, not to frighten us. In other words, they are given to us to help guide us. They serve a positive purpose in scripture and Sacred Tradition.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

That is what separation from God is.

It is Hell.

If you want cultural depictions of that reality then by all means have them.

So hell is state of being that a person is separated from God and that’s what hell is? Not a literal place?

By literal, do you mean a place?

It’s not a place, because it exists outside of space and time. You can’t have a physical place where there is no physical space.

But there is a hell. It’s eternal darkness, due to the absence of God through man’s own choice. That’s creepy enough for me.

To the best of my knowledge, no Christian tradition has ever said that hell is a place like NYC or London, where there is physical space and time. That’s why it’s eternal, because there is no time. There is only the present. There is no hope for a better tomorrow or opportunity to regret what we did yesterday. Tomorrow and yesterday do not exist outside of space and time.

If you’re in hell, you only exist in the present darkness and suffering.

If you’re in heaven, you only exist in the present light of the beatific vision.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

I went to Liverpool once…:stuck_out_tongue:

I find it interesting and extremely sad when I hear non Christians speak of Hell in the sense of, “Eh, how bad can it be? At least I’ll be in good company! I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints…” ad nauseum…

I read a book on exorcism last year (can’t recall the title), but I came away knowing without a doubt that, not only is Hell a separation from God for all eternity, but it is also a state where one is alone - truly, alone, all to themselves because they lived for “self.”

I want no part of that!


There have always been cultural superstitions surrounding where a particular metaphysical “place” is located (whether pagan, Christian, or [insert a religion here]).

Entrances to Heaven, Hell and Purgatory (and/or their exact physical locations) have been a part of most Christian traditions. Legends and superstitions persist along side of the truth that is defined by the Church.

For example, if you spend your time focusing on the punishments, joys, and physical localities in Dante’s Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso - you miss the point of the work altogether.

Fr. Arminjon, author of “The End of the Present World” (the Little Flower’s favorite book, apparently) believed it was and seemed to indicate that until at least his time it was widely believed to be such.

Are we truly sure that there are no physical properties involved in some mysterious way? Has that been dogmatically defined? I’m also curious, always have been, about heaven and persons that have been Assumed into it (all three-ish of them plus our Lord who Ascended). Heaven, I always thought, was also outside of space (I won’t say time because I haven’t studied that enough and Apocalypse seems to indicate that there is a concept of the passage of time there). But if it is outside of space, then must there not be at least some type of material properties involved in a mysterious way, in order for the bodies to “be there”?

Until Bl. John Paul and now Pope Benedict XVI no pope had ever taught that heaven, purgatory or hell were physical places. The point was never truly addressed by the Holy See, though it was written about by many theologians and spiritual writers. Popes have spoken about the three, but no one has attempted to explain it until now. To quote John Henry Newman, this is how doctrine develops. You begin with the seed, but inside the seed, there is a tree that will be fully visible with the passage of time. There is nothing new when you see the oak years later. It was always there, inside the seed.

When the pope, using the ordinary magisterium states that these are states not places, these require an assent of faith. The ordinary magisterium is the authoritative voice of the Church.

We know that there there is no time in heaven, because we know that God lives in an eternal present. All things are seen to him. There are many references to this in the Torah and in the Psalms. “A thousand years are but a day in your presence.” For this reason God can see what has been, what is and what will be. They are all present to him and to those who share eternity with him. The term eternity itself implies no time. If there were time, there would have to be a beginning. Time is measured from a starting point. We know that there is not beginning to God’s existence.

As to the physical states of Jesus and Mary in heaven, we must remember the Church’s teaching. They exist in their glorified bodies. These bodies do not need physical space. They can pass through walls, appear and disappear at will, change their appearance. Yet, they can eat, as did Jesus after the resurrection. But they need not eat. They do not experience hunger. We’re not talking about bodies like our own. The glorified body is just that, glorified. It is free of all limitations allowing it to exist without the need for a physical place or even a physical appearance.

Look at the different apparitions of Our Lady. It’s truly her body, yet she looks different in each apparition. Our Lady of Guadalupe looks nothing like Our Lady of Fatima. Our Lady of Fatima is European looking, dressed in white. Our Lady of Guadalupe is an Aztec Princess, dressed in Aztec clothing. It would be silly to believe that she has a change of wardrobe or that she uses makeup to change her appearance. The logical conclusion is that her body does not have the limitations that our bodies still have.

Look at Jesus on the way to Emaus. The disciples did not recognize him. It was truly his physical body. Mary Magdala did not recognized him when she met him in the garden. It’s a body that has an ability to change its appearance or even disguise it without the use of any physical aids such as wardrobe or makeup. Why? Because it has been liberated from the physical world. It exists outside of the space and time. It never grows old, because there is no time and it can live outside of physical space, because it does not need it.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

Br., JR,

Wow!:whackadoo: That’s a wealth of information, and I thank you for further explaining what is a difficult subject to wrap your (our) head(s) around.

So, does that apply to “ghosts”, meaning, spirits who are supposedly wandering the Earth as well? Or, should I start a whole new thread for that question? I’m new, so bear with me…thanks!!

Misha :slight_smile:

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