The Wide Road
"Why do souls go to Hell?
In the last analysis, souls go to hell for one great reason,
and that is –
they refuse love.
Love pardons everything except one thing –
refusal to love."
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
On July 13, 1917, at the Cova de Ira, Fatima, Portugal, when the Mother of God came at noon to the three children, Lucia looked at her and said: "What do you want of me?" Our Lady answered: "I want you to come back here on the 13th of next month. Continue to say the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary to obtain the peace of the world and the end of the war, because only she can obtain it."
Lucia then asked: "I would like to ask who you are and if you will do a miracle so that everyone will believe that you appeared to us."
"Come here every month and in October I will say who I am and what I want. I will perform a miracle so that everyone can believe."
Lucia then asked for graces and conversions for people that had requested them. Our Lady said that it was necessary for these people to pray the rosary to obtain these graces. She continued saying: "Sacrifice yourself for sinners and say many times especially whenever you make such a sacrifice: 'O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversions of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary."
As Our Lady said these words she opened her hands and powerful lights emanated forth and pierced the ground, opening it up, and the three children saw a most terrifying vision. They saw HELL and within it, the souls of the damned and demons. Several witnesses saw the children grow pale as death. They saw a vast sea of fire. Plunged in the flames were demons and lost souls, as if they were red-hot coals, transparent and black or bronze-colored, in human form, which floated about in the conflagration, born by the flames which issued from them, with clouds of smoke falling on all sides as sparks fall in a great conflagration without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of sorrow and despair that horrified them and caused them to tremble with fear. The devils could be distinguished by horrible and loathsome forms of animals, frightful and unknown, but transparent like black coals that have turned red-hot. 1
Lucia cried out; "Oh, Our Lady!"
Our Lady answered: "You have seen hell were the souls of sinners go. I order to save them God wishes to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world. If what I say is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end. But if they do not stop offending God another and greater war will break out in the reign of Pius XI. When you see a sign illumined by a strange light in the sky, know that it is a sign that God gives you, that He is going to punish the world for it's crimes by means of hunger, war, persecution of the church and the Holy Father. To prevent this I will come at a later date to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the communion of reparation of the first five Saturdays. If my requests are heard Russia will be converted and there will be peace, if not Russia will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars, and persecutions. The Holy Father will have much to suffer, the good will be persecuted, entire nations will be annihilated but in the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph and there will be peace, and the Holy Father will consecrate Russia to my Immaculate Heart; it will be converted and a certain period of peace will be granted to the world. In Portugal, the dogmas of the Faith will always to kept... (Here follows the third secret which has never been revealed.) Do not tell this to anyone. Francisco -yes you may tell him. When you say the rosary, say after each mystery: O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell and lead all souls to Heaven, especially, those in most need of thy mercy."
The vision of hell was given for our age when the Christians would down play the idea of eternal punishment or even deny its existence. With regards to this vision, the Dutch priest, Van Noort in his book "Dogmatic Theology" said this about Fatima: "Such a revelation ought to be believed by both the one who receives and by those for whom it is destined. The rest of the faithful cannot deny it without some sort of sin."
Pope Pius XI told us that the time for doubting Fatima is past; it is now time for action. Pope Pius XII on October 31, 1942 said: "Fatima is the summation of my thinking" and expressed the wish to be called the Fatima Pope! Pope John XXIII instituted the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima and called the apparitions the Center of all Christian Hope.
Douglas Hyde the ex-communist journalist declared "Our only hope for world peace is found in the Message of Fatima." He was echoing the words of Archbishop Sheen who said: "How shall we overcome the spirit of Satan except by the power of that Woman to whom Almighty God has given the mandate to crush the head of the serpent." Pope John the XXIII again said: "The world's greatest hope for peace is Fatima."
In a message to all the world's priests, Cardinal Larraona, legate of Pope John XXIII at Fatima, declared on May 13, 1963:
"Upon us, dear brothers, falls the responsibility of administering to souls the inexhaustible treasures and spiritual riches of the message of Fatima. Fatima is a living realization of the gospel recalled to us here by the Mother of God ... Indeed, never has there been a supernatural manifestation of Our Lady of such rich spiritual content as that of Fatima, nor has any recognized apparition given us a message so clear, so maternal, so profound ... Dear Priests, I wish to exhort you anew to a profound penetration of the spiritual richness of the message Our Lady has confided to us and engage yourself with tenderness to conserve it always pure and integral in the souls of the faithful. Live and cause it to be lived..." 2
In 1950, Pope Pius XII saw the repetition of the October 13, 1917 Miracle of the Sun on the eve of the octave of the Dogma of the Assumption. The Papal Legate said of this: "Was this a reward, or was this a sign of sovereign Divine pleasure for the definition of the Assumption or was this a heavenly testimony authenticating the connection between the wonders of Fatima and the centre, the Head of the Catholic Truth and teaching authority? It was all three!
Fatima confirms the existence of angels and demons which Modernists are trying to eliminate. Fatima confirms the mystery of the Eucharist which Modernists have stripped of meaning. Fatima confirms the existence of Hell, which is simply denied today. Fatima requires prayer and penance, values which people today say they do not need and consequently dispense with them.
That Our Lady showed Hell to the three children on July 13, 1917, is something to ponder about. Why did she show them Hell? I believe it was shown because the people in the world today do not believe in Hell and the devil. It is a totally immoral and godless society which we live in today. Father John Laux, in his book "The Chief Truths of the Catholic Faith," tells us that the word Hell comes from the Old English hel, meaning 'to cover' or 'to conceal.' It was a place of punishment of the wicked after death. In the Bible the place of the damned is called Gehenna, the valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, where, in ancient times, horrid sacrifices were offered to Moloch.
In Matthew's gospel it is called the everlasting punishment while in Mark's, it is the hell of unquenchable fire, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished!
"Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels." (Matt.25:41) Hell is a doctrine of the Catholic faith. Yet inside our Church today, liberal theologians say that the doctrine of hell is unsuitable for the mentality of modern man. They are quick to admit to His love and mercy but not God's justice. In the Gospel's, Our Lord stressed the existence of hell 15 times!
Father John Hardon, in his book, "Modern Catholic Dictionary", defines hell as the place and state of eternal punishment for the fallen angels and human beings who die deliberately estranged from the love of God. The Church teaches us, "The souls of those who die in the condition of personal grievous sin enter Hell." 3 Pope Paul the VI in his credo of the people of God said those who refuse God's love and mercy to the end will go to that fire that will never extinguish. The Athanasian Creed written before 428 declares: "But those who have done evil will go into eternal fire."4 While the closing article of this creed states: "At His coming, all men are to arise with their own bodies; and they are to give an account of their lives. Those who have done good deeds will go into eternal life; those who have done evil will go into everlasting fire."5 Pope Benedict XII declared in the Dogmatic Constitution (Benedictus Deus), "According to God's general ordinance, the souls of those who die in a personal grievous sin descend immediately into hell, where they will be tormented by the pains of Hell."6 Finally, in the year of 1214, the Fourth Lateran Council stated that the wicked will receive a perpetual punishment with the devil.
The reality of hell is stated many times in Sacred Scripture. I will briefly quote a few from the Old and New Testament. "The Lord Almighty will take revenge on them, in the day of judgment He will visit them. For he will give fire, and worms into their flesh, that they may burn, and may feel forever. (Judith16:20-21) "Their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched: and they shall be a loathsome sight to all flesh." (Is.66:24) In the New Testament Our Lord calls it "Hell of fire," (Mt.5:22), "Hell where the worm does not die and the fire is not extinguished," (Mk.9:46) "Furnace of fire", (Mt.13:42) "Everlasting fire", (Mt.25:41) "Unquenchable fire", (Mt.3:12; Mk.9:42) and "Everlasting pain", (Mt.25:26) St. Paul (2Thess.1:8-9) states: "Those who know not God, and who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ shall suffer eternal punishment in destruction, from the face of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." "The godless shall have their portion in the pool burning with fire and brimstone; they shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."(Apoc.21:8) You will find other references to Hell in Rom.2:6-9, Hebr.10:26-31, 2Peter2:6, Jud.7, Apoc.19:20, Mk.9:42-47 and Matt.10:28. These are only a few of the many references to Hell.
The Fathers and Doctors of the Church have confirmed and taught the existence and eternity of the pains of hell. St. Ignatius of Antioch says that those who corrupt the faith with perverse doctrines will go into unquenchable fire. St. Irenaeus teaches as Catholic Dogma that the impious, the unjust, the wicked and the blasphemer will be thrown into eternal fire. The martyrs have stated many times they did not fear the pains of this life, but they did fear the eternal fire of hell.
The following is taken from two books; both are in agreement on the facts. It is taken from the records of Msgr. De Segur, a well-known French preacher and spiritual writer. "In our century, [he is referring to the 19th century] three facts of the same kind, more authentic than some others, have come to my knowledge. The first happened almost in my family.
"It was in Russia, at Moscow, a short while before the horrible campaign of 1812. My maternal grandfather, Count Rostopchine, the Military Governor of Moscow, was very intimate with General Count Orloff, celebrated for his bravery, but as godless as he was brave.
"One day, at the close of a supper, Count Orloff and one of his friends, General V., also a disciple of Voltaire, had set to horribly ridiculing religion, especially Hell. ‘Yet,’ said Orloff, 'yet if by chance there should be anything the other side of the curtain?'
"Well,' took up General V., 'whichever of us shall depart first will come to inform the other of it. Is it agreed?'
"An excellent idea,' replied Count Orloff, and both interchanged very seriously their word of honor not to miss the engagement.
"A few weeks later, one of those great wars which Napoleon had the gift of creating at that time, burst forth. The Russian army began the campaign, and General V. received orders to start out forthwith to take an important command.
"He had left Moscow about two or three weeks, when one morning, at a very early hour, while my grandfather was dressing his chamber door was rudely pushed open. It was Count Orloff, in dressing gown and slippers, his hair on end, his eyes wild, and pale like a dead man. 'What? Orloff, you? At this hour? And in such a costume? What ails you? What has happened?'
"My dear', replied Count Orloff, 'I believe I am beside myself. I have just seen General V.'
"Has General V., then come back?'
"Well , no,' rejoined Orloff, throwing himself on a sofa, and holding his head between his hands, 'No, he has not come back, and that is what frightens me!'
"My grandfather did not understand him. He tried to soothe him. 'Relate to me,' he said to Orloff, 'what has happened to you, and what all this means.' Then striving to stifle his emotion, the Count related the following: 'My dear Rostopchine, some time ago, V. and I mutually swore that the first of us who died should come and tell the other if there is anything on the other side of the curtain. Now this morning, scarcely half an hour since, I was calmly lying awake in my bed, not thinking at all of my friend, when all of a sudden, the curtains of my bed were rudely parted, and at two steps from me I saw General V. standing up, pale, with his right hand on his breast, and saying to me: 'What do we do now? There is a Hell, and I am there! What do we do now?' And he disappeared. I came at once to you. My head is splitting! What a strange thing! I do not know what to think of it?'
"My grandfather calmed him as well as he could. It was no easy matter. He spoke of Hallucinations, nightmares; perhaps he was asleep...There are many extraordinary unaccountable things...and other commonplaces, which constitute the comfort of freethinkers. Then he ordered his carriage, and took Count Orloff back to his hotel.
"Now, ten or twelve days after this strange incident, an army messenger brought my grandfather, among other news, that of the death of General V. The very morning of the day Count Orloff had seen and heard him. The same hour he appeared at Moscow, the unfortunate General, reconnoitering the enemy's position, had been shot through the breast by a bullet and had fallen stark dead. 'There is a Hell, and I am there!' These are the words of one who came back.'" 7
The pains of Hell are many, but first I will talk on the pains of Hell in reference to the senses. In Isaias 33:14 it is written, "Which of you can dwell with devouring fire? Which of you shall bear everlasting burnings?" St. Thomas Aquianus proves that it is a corporeal and material fire. The fire of hell is a real fire! A fire that burns like the fires of this earth. St. Augustine says that it is the same fire that tortures the damned and purifies the elect. (Purgatory) The Bible has many texts stating it to be a true and real fire. "A fire is kindled in my wrath, and shall burn even to the lowest hell." (Deut.32:22) "A fire that is not kindled shall devour him." (Job 20:26) In Luke's gospel in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, "I am tormented in this flame!" (Lk.16:24) And in Ecclesiasticus, "The vengeance on the flesh of the ungodly is fire and worms.' (Eccl. 7:19)
Another question asked is can the soul feel this fire? Many theologians have said that the material fire of hell will be given an extraordinary power by God, whereby it will be able to bind the spiritual soul to its place of torment, thus causing the soul untold humiliation and pain.8
Also in this fire the bodies of the damned, besides the intense heat, will endure bitter cold, passing from one to the other, without knowing a moment of relief. St. Thomas teaches this. In the book of Job "Let him pass from the snow water to excessive heat, and his sin even to hell." (Job 24:19) Hence, St. Jerome says, the damned in hell endure all their torments in this one fire.9
In addition to the above mentioned pains of hell, there is also the remorse of the damned. It is the remorse of conscience, teaches St. Thomas, that the damned will be eternally tormented by in hell. It will gnaw at them in many ways but St. Alphonsus Liguori says three will be most grievous. The trifles for which they lost their souls; the little they were required to do to be saved; and finally, the great good they have lost. That which is of the earth is passing. Nothing here is permanent. Yet for the gold of this world, souls have gone to hell for all eternity! A lost soul appeared to St. Humbert, and told him this was precisely the greatest pain by which he was tormented in hell, to think for what trifles he had damned himself and how little he had to do in order to be saved.10 Think of how little it takes to be saved? St. Alphonsus tells us that these miserable souls will be reproached by these thoughts: Why hadn't I mortified myself by not looking at such an object, or conquered human respect, or avoided that occasion, companion, or conversation that led to sin. Why didn't I go to confession frequently, read good spiritual books, turned to Jesus and Mary during times of temptations? All these thoughts will come back at them. They will cry out as in Jeremiah "the harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved." (Jer. 8:20)
St. John Chyrysostom says the damned will be tormented by the loss of heaven than by the pains of hell. They will know for all eternity that they lost heaven and God, through their own fault!
Still added to this the damned will be tormented by the demons. The devils, who are their enemies, will forever mock and remind them of their sins. They will be enveloped in a horrifying darkness. "Before I go, and return no more, to land that is dark and covered with mist of death; a land of misery and darkness, where the shadow of death, and no order, but everlasting horror dwelleth." (Job 10:22)
Archbishop Sheen once said, "Hell is eternal suicide for hating love. Hell is the hatred of the God you love." All of these pains are nothing compared to the pain of having lost God. This indeed is the greatest pain of hell. St. Augustine says that the damned will be forced to think of nothing but God, and that will cause them terrible torment. They will know they have offended God and His infinite goodness and that their sins have merited eternal punishment. They will be forced to think continually of God and of all the good they received from Him as well as the offenses they committed against Him. St. Augustine further tells us that if the damned could enjoy the sight of God, they would feel no pain, and hell itself would be changed into paradise.
St. Alphonsus tells us the damned will hate and curse God; and cursing God, they will also curse the benefits He has bestowed on them, - their creation, redemption, the Sacraments, especially Baptism, penance, and above all, the Holy Eucharist. They will hate all the angels and saints, but especially their guardian angels, and their holy advocates; and more than all, the Mother of God. But principally will they curse the three Divine Persons; and of these especially the Son of God, who once died for their salvation; they will curse His wounds, His blood, His pains, and His death.11
St. John Bosco wrote, "Consider my son, consider that if you go to hell, you will never leave it. There, every pain is suffered and suffered forever."12
The Union Councils of Lyons and of Florence declared that the souls of the damned are punished with unequal punishments.13 St. Augustine teaches: "In their wretchedness the lot of some of the damned will be more tolerable than that of others." Justice demands that the punishment be commensurate with the guilt.14 Hugh of St. Victor writes: "The drunkard will be tormented by an insatiable thirst but have only gall to drink; the proud man will be covered with shame and ignominy; the glutton will devour fire; the miser will know absolute poverty; the slothful will be eternally prodded and jabbed without rest; beauty will be changed into the most repugnant ugliness; power into slavery; glory into disgrace. In that horrible prison will be gathered together all the comrades of dissoluteness who formerly vied with one another to see who could be the most impure. There, friends will become deadly enemies; they will insult and abuse each other, heaping upon one another bitter reproofs. Their conversation will be bloody threats and horrible curses."15 St. Thomas says that the associates of the wretched soul, far from alleviating the lot of the damned soul, will make it more intolerable for him.
When you think of the pains of hell as described above it is a horrifying thought. What is there to compare to make one realize the horror of hell? The following are some examples to meditate upon.
"The history of Japan speaks of the horrible abysses of Mount Ungen, situated not far from Nagasake. Its lofty summit is divided into three craters, the intervals between which form frightful pits; forth from these shoot momentarily into the air eddies of flames, corroding waters and burning mud, which carry such stinking exhalations with them that these abysses pass in the country for the sewers of Hell. All the animals shun them with horror, and the very birds do not fly with impunity over them, however high they soar. The tyrant, Bungondono, the Prince of Ximbara, resolved to dash the Christians headforemost into these frightful chasms. Let the frightful agony they must suffer there be imagined. It was an agony to which death was not to come and put an end, for the consolation of dying was not left to them. Before they were suffocated, they were carefully drawn out to let them regain their breath. Then, soaked as they were by the sulphurous waters, the bodies of the martyrs were covered with frightful pus sacs and were soon but one wound; all their flesh dropped into putrefaction. In this condition they were abandoned like corpses, cast into the common sewer. Are these torments the torments of Hell? They are only a shadow of them." 16
The Calvinists of 16th century Holland tormented the priests with unheard of cruelty. They put around their necks and arms and legs iron collars with knives and sharp spikes. They then made them sit on seats with nails. The poor priests could neither rest nor move without incurring great pain. To add to this torture, they surrounded them with flames, that would slowly consume them. If they remained motionless, they were burned alive. But if they moved, they were torn and lacerated by the knives and spikes. Yet ask yourself, is this hell and the answer is no!
In history you can read what happened to the assassin of William, Prince of Orange. With iron rods they lacereated his body, while driving sharp spikes into his flesh. He was slowly burned by a very slow fire and just as he neared death and his hands had been burned off with a hot iron, he was pulled apart by horses. This unfortunate man's sin was to attack a human prince. What will happen to those who transgress God's Laws?
"Hell is the sink of the world and receptacle of all the moral filth of humanity. There, impurity, intemperance, blasphemy, pride, injustice and all the vices which are like the rottenness of souls, are found heaped up. To this moral filth a corporal stench is added more insupportable than all the stenches of corpses. If the body of a damned person, says St. Bonaventure, were deposited on the earth, that of itself alone would be sufficient to make the earth uninhabitable; it would fill it with its infection, as a corpse that might be left to rot in a house would infect it all the way through. 17
I have briefly talked on the reality of Hell and the pains of Hell. Now I would like to talk on the eternity of hell. Scripture attests to the eternity of hell. For example: "And these shall go into everlasting punishment." (Matt. 25:40) "And they shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." (Apoc. 20:10) "Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire." (Matt. 25:41) "Who shall suffer eternal punishment in destruction." (2Thess. 1:9) Everyone shall be salted with fire." (Mk, 9:48) As salt preserves, so the fires of hell will forever without end torment the damned. St. Bernard says, "There the fire consumes that it may always preserve."
St. Alphonsus gives us this thought to meditate upon. Why would anyone want to spend one day (this in comparison to our life span) in amusements only to be shut up in a hellish pit for all eternity. There the torments would never cease or be alleviated for even a moment. If the torments lasted only a few years, or hundreds of years, or even thousands of years, maybe one could understand their madness and folly. But the consequence of their actions will last forever without end.
St. John Chrysostom writes that the sinner must give eternal satisfaction to God, because he willed to resist Him eternally. In the Imitation of Christ (Book 1, Chap. 24) the author writes that there one hour in torment will be more terrible than a hundred years spent here below in the most rigorous penance. And the Fourth Lateran Council in the year 1215 stated that "Those [the rejected] will receive a perpetual punishment with the devil."18
At this point people will ask how can God punish a sin that lasts but a moment with eternal suffering? St. Thomas tells us that the punishment is not measured according to the duration of the time, but according to the nature of the crime. Murder, because committed in a moment, is not therefore punished by a momentary pain.19
St. Alphonsus writes that Hell is but little for a mortal sin. He says that an offense against Infinite Majesty deserves an infinite punishment. St. Bernardine of Sienna a Doctor of the Church, also states this: "By every mortal sin, an infinite injury is done to God; and to an infinite injury an infinite punishment is due. But because the creature is not capable of infinite pain as to intensity, God justly ordains that it be infinite as to extension."
But why is this pain eternal? Because the damned can no longer satisfy for his sins. When we, who are still alive are sorry for our sins, we can satisfy for our sins by applying the merits of Jesus Christ. But once we are dead we are excluded from these merits. Think of it! The sin is forever punished, because it can not be expiated! Also the sinner can never repent of the sin! But still some will say suppose God chose to pardon them. Again it would be impossible. The damned are obstinate in their will and confirmed in their hatred of God. Pope Innocent II said, "The reprobate will not humble themselves, but the malignity of hatred will go on always increasing in them." St. Jerome also writes that they are insatiable in the desire of sinning. And as Scripture states: "His sorrow is become perpetual and the wound desperate, so as to refuse to be healed." (Jer. 15:18)
This is illustrated by an incident in the life of St. Josaphat as told to us by St. John Damascene. One day St. Josaphat was exposed to violent temptations, prayed to God with tears to be delivered from them. His prayer was graciously heard; he was caught up in an ecstasy, and he beheld himself led to a dark place, full of horror, confusion, and frightful specters. There was a pool of sulfur and fire in which were plunged innumerable wretches, a prey to devouring flames. Amid the despairing howls and shouts, he heard a heavenly voice, which uttered these words: "Here it is that sin receives its punishment; here it is that a moment's pleasure is punished by an eternity of torments." This vision filled him with new strength and enabled him to triumph over all the assaults of the enemy. 20
St. Thomas further tells us that the most bitter regret of the damned is that they lost their immortal souls for all eternity for NOTHING and that they might have very easily obtained the everlasting happiness of heaven.
St. Alphonsus again writes "The damned will ask of the devils, 'What hour of the night is it? (Isaias 21:11). When will it end? When will these trumpets, these cries, this stench, these flames, these torments end?' And their answer will be: 'Never! never!'
'And how long will they last?'
Ah, Lord give light to those many blind ones, who, when entreated not to lose their souls, reply: 'If I go to hell in the end, well, I must have patience!'
O God, they have not patience to bear a little cold, to remain in a hot room, to endure a blow; and yet they will have patience to live in a sea of fire, trampled upon by devils, and abandoned by God and by everyone, for all eternity! 21
We now know a little about the reality of hell, the pains of hell and the eternity of hell. But what causes one to enter that horrid place for all eternity? One Mortal Sin! What is sin? By the dictionary it is defined as an offense against God. Today's modernist say that sin is a turning away from God, but it is not that. To commit sin (I am referring to Mortal Sin) one must first disobey God's Laws (in a grave matter). It must be done with full knowledge and full consent of the will. The sinner must also stubbornly adhere to the sin, without repentance.
What kind of sin sends a soul to hell? Neglect of your religious obligations, blaspheme, robbing, cheating, stealing, corruption of others or yourself with impure habits. Allowing hatred to burn within you, never forgiving the offender. There is also the Seven Capital Sins, they are called this because they are the major sins that lead to all other sins. They are pride, envy, sloth, anger, gluttony, avarice and lust. Remember it takes only one unrepented mortal sin to send a soul to hell for all eternity!
In our world sin has lost all meaning. All you have to do is look around you. People sin without any sense of guilt. In fact, the mentality of modern man has totally rejected the idea of sin. The evil in today's world is the result of this kind of thinking. By opening a newspaper or watching the news on television, it is commonplace to see sex, violence, abortion on demand, drug addiction, blasphemy, murder, divorce, pornography, rape, legalized prostitution and the various scandals that occur daily in the media. Virtue and morals are obsolete and those that try to practice them are ridiculed, mocked and scorned. Try watching one of the various talks shows that are on TV during the day. Recently one of these shows had on male strippers. Millions of viewers sinned against the 6th commandment by watching this show. I do not even need to mention the soap operas that are on every afternoon. The people addicted to watching these immoral shows is unbelievable! Our Lady at Fatima said many souls go to hell because of sins of the flesh.
Archbishop Sheen wrote that "if there is any subject which is offensive to modern sentimentalists it is the subject of hell. Our generation clamors for what the poet has called a 'soft dean, who never mentions hell to ears polite', and our unsouled age wants a Christianity watered so as to make the Gospel of Christ nothing more than a gentle doctrine of good will, a social program of economic betterment, and a mild scheme of progressive idealism."
Because we live in this sin drenched society, we have become desensitized to sin. What would have shocked our parents and grandparents is considered nothing today. The philosopher Max Scheler said that while sin multiplies everywhere, the sense of guilt correspondingly diminishes. When was the last time you heard a sermon on hell? When was the last time you went to confession? The confessionals are empty and so are the churches, yet sin is everywhere.
Cardinal Hoeffner of Cologne stated at Fatima on October 13, 1977: "Today, we are witnessing a great rebellion against the holy will of God. Moral behavior has deteriorated to such a degree that it could not be imagined twenty years ago ..." He made this statement in 1977, what do you think he would say today, 1997!
Further explaining this avalanche of sin, the Bishop of Fatima stated at Pontevedra on December 10, 1975:
"In the light of the Fatima message, sin is not a phenomena of the sociological order, but is, in the true theological concept, an offense against God with necessary social consequences. Perhaps no other century as the century we live in has had a life so sinful. But there is something new added in the sins of this century: the man of today, more sinful than those who came before him, has lost the sense of sin. He sins, but laughs and even boasts of his sin...Man of today has arrived at this stage because he has placed a division between himself and God...believing that when God is ignored, everything is possible. The man of this century wishes to realize himself as stronger than God and against God, and comes finally to the point of being man debased, anti-man, because man can only perfectly realize himself in God."
We are living in an age that is rebelling against the will of God. Such rebellion, such immoral behavior was unheard of and unimaginable 30 years ago. God refused to show hell in the parable of Dives and Lazarus. Our Lord said it must be accepted on faith. Our Heavenly Mother obtained this grace for this sinful generation, because what mother would stand by and watch her children destroy themselves. She knows the value of a soul and what it cost her Son to save that soul. She could not stand and watch her children cast themselves into hell.
The following is a rare interview with Sister Lucia, by Father Lombardi. It was recorded in the Vatican weekly Osservatore della Domenica February 7, 1954.
Fr. Lombardi: "Tell me is the Better World Movement a response of the Church to the words spoken to Our Lady?"
Lucia: "Father there is certainly a great need for this renewal. If it is not done, and taking into account the present development of humanity, only a limited number of the human race will be saved."
Fr. Lombardi: "Do you really believe that many will go to Hell? I hope that God will save the greater part of humanity." [He had just written a book entitled: Salvation for those without faith.]
Lucia: "Father, many will be lost."
Fr. Lombardi: "It is true that the world is full of evil, but there is always a hope of salvation."
Lucia: "No Father, many will be lost."
Father Lombardi remembered that Lucia had seen Hell and added: "Her words disturbed me. I returned to Italy with that grave warning impressed on my heart." 22
The vision of hell was shown at the beginning of this century to impress upon men and to confirm the doctrine of Hell; thereby influencing man to stop offending God by sin! Of the three children, who saw hell, Jacinta was the most affected by this vision. The following are some of her words on hell.
"Oh, Hell! Oh, Hell!" "Mother of God have pity on those who do not amend their lives." If men only know what awaits them in eternity, they would do everything in their power to change their lives."
Often she would say to her brother, "Francisco, are you praying with me? We must pray very much to save souls from hell, so many go there. So many!"
At times she would ask of Lucia, "Why doesn't Our Lady show Hell to sinners? If only they saw it, they would never commit sins again."
Finally she said, "Look, I am going to heaven soon but you are to stay here. If Our Lady lets you, tell everyone what hell is like so that they won't sin anymore and not go there."
The vision of hell was not revealed until 1941.
Jacinta, before she died, said Our Lady had told her that certain fashions would be introduced that would greatly offend Our Lord. I believe that she was referring to the blatant acceptance of sin today. It is fashionable today to have sexual relations before marriage, to live with someone without the blessings of the sacrament of Matrimony, to use birth control, to have abortions, to divorce your spouse, to remarry over and over again, to have legalized prostitution, these and many others are the fashions Our Lady was referring to.
You may wonder how many souls really go to Hell? The following incident taken from the Life of the Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, wife, mother and mystic, illustrates this point very well. (Her life story is available from Tan Publishers)
Blessed Anna Marie Taigi one day saw in a vision, where the souls of those who died on that particular day went; heaven, purgatory or hell. The vision was presented to her under the symbolism of a snowy day, and each soul was represented by one snow flake. Imagine yourself on a winter day, sitting at a window and looking out. Initially a few snowflakes begin falling gently to the ground. The souls that went straight to heaven were symbolized by those few snow flakes falling from the sky. As time goes on the snow now is falling heavier, representing those souls that went to purgatory. Finally the souls that fell into hell that day resembled a raging blizzard outside with visibility zero! This is something to meditate and think about often!
Pope Pius XII addressed a group of school children on May 2, 1954. The talk centered on the realities of sin, the devil, and the love of Jesus for them. The talk was almost prophetic, when you consider what is happening to our children today. The following is an excerpt of his talk.
"We wish above all to express to you the fatherly concern that fills Our heart when We see reflected in your eyes the innocence that charms men, enraptures the angels, and moves even the Heart of God. Who can tell, indeed, what may someday become of this easy, blithe gladness of yours? It might be possible-and our souls are saddened merely to think of it-that the sun of your childhood will be darkened by menacing clouds.
"Do you remember how, when Jesus walked the streets of Judea, the little children ran to honor Him and their mothers presented them to Him, overcoming the opposition of those who feared that they would bother Jesus? Today, alas, there is great danger that this will not continue to be the case, and that some children will no longer be, as before, the little friends of Jesus.
"How many little ones today are in danger of being poisoned by the serpent of Hell? Who would be able, then, to recognize them? For these, Holy Church would weep, and it would not be easy in this case to comfort the sorrowing mother and dry her anguished tears. This venomous serpent encircles the world, disguised in many ways, and now he seems to be trying to attack children in particular, to snatch them from Jesus and estrange them from the priesthood and the Church. Today there is cause for great fear that children will be struck, wounded and their souls killed.
"Watch out, dear children, While you walk in the streets or play the games of childhood; when you watch shows that progress has brought even into your own homes, watch out! Often the serpent may be hidden there to strike you, to snatch you from Jesus. At the first sign of danger, cry out, run to your mother right away, and above all, to your heavenly Mother, to Mary, who has at her command the power of God and is always near you. Call on your Guardian Angel to enlighten and sustain you."
This leads to the conclusion, how to avoid hell? St. Basil, St. John Chrysostom, St. Augustine and many Theologians have stated that prayer is necessary for salvation! We must turn to God in prayer for the graces necessary for our salvation. They are available, all we have to do is ask! St. Alphonsus de Liguori said that he who prays will be saved and he who does not pray will be damned. He even wrote a little book called "The Great Means of Prayer".
Our Lady at Fatima, during all six of her apparitions told the children they must pray, especially the rosary! The three children responded generously to Our Lady's requests. When you think about it, what is keeping you from doing the same thing? Do not say, "I do not have the time!" Because if you are too busy to spend time with God in prayer, then you are busier than God intends you to be! Meditate upon the following words of Our Lord. "What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul?"(Matt. 16:26)
Preparation for Death by St. Alphonsus de Liguori, edited by Robert A. Coffin, C.SS.R.; Tan Publishers, Inc. Rockford, Illinois
Evidence of Satan in the Modern World by Leon Cristiani. Tan Publishers, Inc. Rockford, Illinois
Hell Quizes by Father Charles M, Carty & Rev. Dr. L. Rumble, M.S.C., Tan Publishers, Inc. Rockford, Illinois
Uniformity to God's Will by St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Tan Publishers, Inc. Rockford, Illinois
What Will Hell be Like? by St. Alphonsus de Liguori, O.B.L. Victory Mission, Inc. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
So High the Price by P.J. Kelly, S.T.L., St. Paul Editions, Boston, Mass.
The Dogma of Hell by Fr. F.X. Schouppe, S.J., Tan Publishers, Inc. Rockford, Illinois
Chief Truths of the Faith by Fr. John Laux, M.A., Tan Publishers, Inc. Rockford, Illinois
The Last Things by Rev. James Alberione, SSP, STD, St. Paul Editions, Boston, Mass.
The Sinner's Guide by Ven. Louis of Granada, Tan Publishers, Inc. Rockford, Illinois
Sin and Its Consequences by Henry Edward Manning, Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Tan Publishers, Inc. Rockford, Illinois
Fatima, The Great Sign by Francis Johnston, Tan Publishers, Inc. Rockford, Illinois
Fatima From the Beginning, by John De Marchi, I.M.C., printed in Grafica Almondina - Torres Novas (Portugal)
The Way of Divine Love by Sister Josefa Menendez, Tan Publishers, Inc. Rockford, Illinois
The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis, edited by Clare L. Fitzpatrick, Catholic Book Publishing Co. New York
Footnotes for Chapter 2
1 Francis Johnston, (Rockford, Ill.:
Tan Publishers, Inc., 1980) p. 33.
2 Ibid., p. 76
3 Dr. Ludwig Ott, (Brookings, S.D.: O.B.L. of Victory Mission Inc., 1960)p.479.
4 Ibid., p. 480
5 John Hardon, S.J., (Garden City,_New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1975) p.271.
6 Ott, op.cit., p. 480.
7 Fr. F. X. Schouppe, S.J., (Rockford,_Illinois: Tan Publishers, Inc., 1989) p. 16-18.
8 St. Alphonsus de Liguori, (Milwaukee, Wisconsin: O.B.L. Victory Mission Inc. 1983)p. 10.
10 St. Alphonsus de Liguori," The Reality of Hell," ( Catholic Treasures, 1982) p.16.
11 Ibid., p. 10-11.
12 P.J.Kelly, S.T.L., (Boston, MA.: St.Paul Editions, 1968) p. 43.
13 Ott, op.cit., p.482.
15 Kelly, op.cit., p. 47.
16 Schouppe, op.cit., p. 65-66.
17 Ibid., p. 69.
18 Ott, op.cit., p. 481.
19 Liguori, op.cit., p. 14.]
20 Schouppe, op.cit., p. 74.
21 Liguori, op.cit., p. 15-16.
22 Johnston, op.cit., p. 36.