Crisis—Anyone who wonders why the Catholic Church is in its present crisis need only read Dr. Scott Bruce’s “Do We Still Need to Believe in Hell?” The Wall Street Journal article (9/15-16/18) recently appeared in its popular weekend review section.
It was a rather typical yet brutal appraisal of the notion of Hell. The author believes Hell is a medieval invention adapted from the ancient myths that talk about a place of punishment for evildoers in the afterlife.
Dr. Scott recognizes the sociological value of Hell as “a frightening deterrent for sinful behavior.” However, he claims that Hell was (and no longer is) a cornerstone of Christian doctrine. It was (and no longer is) something about which priests preached.
The author looks forward to a day “in some, better future,” when the idea of hell might be retired from use. It would be “an important step in the maturation of human communities that can mete out justice on their own, without supernatural aid.”
A Cause for Concern
Such a sad commentary is to be expected from the Wall Street Journal with its materialistic and secular outlook on life. Light-hearted musings about Hell serve as a curiosity for those intent upon building a material paradise on earth.
However, Dr. Bruce is a Catholic. He is not only a Catholic but a professor of history at a Catholic university. His is not just any university but the Jesuit-run Fordham University in New York City.
This is a cause for concern, for Dr. Bruce runs no risk in speaking against Hell. He will not be called to task by Fordham for his critique of Hell in the nation’s leading newspaper. He will never be asked to withdraw the book he has just edited about the same topic. He will tranquilly continue teaching with so many similar minded professors at Catholic institutions everywhere.
Such inaction on the part of administrators is not surprising to those who have followed the decadence inside the Church in recent decades. Everyone knows there is a lack of concern for orthodoxy at many of the nation’s Catholic institutions. This example just shows that there is no attempt to … Read More>>
“I am filled with fear and trembling and all my bones are shaken at the thought of that unhappy country of the damned.” – St. Bernard
“It is of faith that Heaven exists for the good and Hell for the wicked. Faith teaches that the pains of Hell are eternal, and it also warns us that one single mortal sin suffices to condemn a soul forever because of the infinite malice by which it offends an infinite God.” – Saint Anthony Mary Claret