Question and Answer on Hell

185. Who are punished in hell?

Those are punished in hell who die in mortal sin; they are deprived of the vision of God and suffer dreadful torments, especially that of fire, for all eternity.

(a) The souls in hell are beyond all help. They do not belong to the Mystical Body of Christ or to the Communion of Saints. They are not included among our neighbors and are not the objects of charity. They are doomed to the company of the devils for all eternity.

(b) The souls in hell do not have supernatural faith. They believe, however, in the truths revealed by Almighty God, not with divine faith, but because they cannot escape the evidence of God's authority.

(c) The privation of the beatific vision is called the pain of loss; the torment inflicted by created means on the soul, and on the body after its resurrection, is called the pain of sense.

(d) It is not against God's mercy to punish souls in hell for eternity. God's justice demands that He thus punish those who, sinning gravely and refusing to repent, deliberately turn themselves from God, their last end.

(e) The punishment of hell is eternal; Our Lord referred to it as "everlasting fire."

The Baltimore Catechism, no. 3, Lesson 14

Electronic text (c) Copyright EWTN 1997. All rights reserved.

Back to The Last Things main menu