I understand that she’s making light of the subject, but Boston Herald columnist Margery Eagan’s latest effort today is a complete misrepresentation of Pope Benedict’s recent remarks on the reality of hell. But then again, for Eagan, a self-described Catholic who dissents from the usual range of Church teachings, this isn’t surprising.
She starts by declaring, “Hell is back,” but ignoring the fact that it hadn’t gone anywhere. And that’s as accurate as she gets. You’d think that if you were going to write a column such as this you might be bothered to actually read what the Pope said, instead of recycling the same inaccurate wire reports that everyone else did. But, no that requires a little more work than apparently Eagan herself thought this farce deserved.
She falsely opposes Pope Benedict’s remarks against those of Pope John Paul.
But this latest hell talk from Papa Ratzi appears to undercut the vision of the late Pope John Paul II. He declared in 1999 that hell was “the ultimate consequence of sin itself … rather than a place, hell indicates the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy.”
She can’t seem to grasp that hell can be a spiritual reality without being a physical place. She also doesn’t seem to have read the actual speech where Pope Benedict says that very thing.
In fact, Pope Benedict did not give the fire-and-brimstone speech that some people think he did. Here’s what an accurate news report on the matter, from my friends at Catholic World News, says:
God’s infinite love for mankind is the reason why He hates sin, the Pope explained. “Today particularly, Jesus calls us to interior conversion: He explains why He forgives us, and He teaches us to make forgiveness received and given to others the daily bread of our lives.” In his own short dialogue with the accused woman, Jesus “does not seek excuses,” the Pope observed. He accepts the woman’s fallen condition and offers his forgiveness freely. His purpose here, the Pope said, is “to save a soul and to reveal that salvation is only to be found in the love of God.”
In Christ, man confronts a choice, the Pope said. Jesus offers forgiveness and salvation because “He wants us all in heaven.” Yet the Pope reminded the congregation that “hell— of which so little is said in our time— does exist, and is eternal for those who close off their hearts to His love.”
The same, old liberal vision