Sunday, April 01, 2007

Pope Speculates That Hell Exists

Although I've never been a Catholic, there was a time long ago, when I was very young, that I assumed the Pope and people like him were more spiritual than most people.

Nowadays, that notion seems odd to me. If I had to guess today, I'd guess the Pope was less spiritual than most people, including most of his followers.

Evidence that I might be guessing right comes from a recent Times Online article:

Hell is a place where sinners really do burn in an everlasting fire, and not just a religious symbol designed to galvanise the faithful, the Pope has said.

Addressing a parish gathering in a northern suburb of Rome, Benedict XVI said that in the modern world many people, including some believers, had forgotten that if they failed to “admit blame and promise to sin no more”, they risked “eternal damnation — the Inferno”.

Hell “really exists and is eternal, even if nobody talks about it much any more”, he said.

It strikes me that a genuinely spiritual person would not waste much time speculating about the existence of metaphysical real estate, let alone believing themselves in a position to know the details of that real estate. But priests think they've accomplished something spiritual when all they've done is arrive at a belief.

My thanks to Brian at Church of the Churchless for alerting me to the Times article.


Mystic Wing said...

The Catholic church may not believe in evolution, but they appear to be championing devolution. This Pope has taken a giant step backward from his predecessor.

Yeah, I think it's time for fundamental theology to be taught in public schools. It's likely the surest way to show people the utter ridiculousness of its premises.

Paul said...

An interesting comment, Mystic!

If we taught theology in the public schools, it would need to be a required course, I think. I took a few courses in comparative religious studies while in college. The courses seemed to always start our with about 30 students, but after two weeks, most of the "faithful" had dropped out. It seemed at the time, the reason for that lack of interest was folks wanted their religious studies to be little more than a pep rally for their beliefs.

I agree with you the Pope's line on Hell is a step backwards for Catholic theology. Thanks for your comments!