A healthy fear of hell is good. It is a sign of good faith.
The discussion-mushion about hell these days is good too.
Not everyone is saved, that is pretty much the non-mushy side of the discussion, and it's the right one.
No one knows exactly who is in hell - but it's probably pretty crowded. A few excellent points from Monsignor Pope helps us to understand:
And I might add, don't be afraid to teach your kids that either - Our Lady wasn't.But permit just a few summary bullet points:
- The biblical teaching, that there is a Hell, and that many go there is in no way ambiguous. When asked directly whether many would be saved Jesus answers soberly, and I would suppose with great sadness, that “many” were on the wide road that led to perdition, and that the road that led to salvation, was narrow, and difficult and that “few” found it.
- Jesus the main source – No one loves us more than Jesus Christ, and no one has worked more to save us than Jesus Christ. Yet no one spoke of Hell more than Jesus Christ, or warned of judgment with greater sobriety.
- Words mean things – However one may wish to interpret the biblical data, “many” does not mean few, and “few” does not mean many.
- Hell is, in a sense, necessary if human freedom is to have any meaning. All while Hell has mysterious aspects, understanding its existence must be rooted in the fact that God respects the freedom he has given us, even if he may regret the choices we make. But we are summoned to love, and love requires freedom, and freedom requires that our choices be about real things.
- That hell is an eternal reality is also mysterious, but is caught up in the mystery of the eternity itself. It would seem that as we move from this temporal world toward eternity, our decisions become forever fixed and final.
- Devastating – It does not require an advanced degree in sociology to understand that, to remove the unambiguous biblical teaching on the very real and possible outcome of Hell, is to remove strong motivation to seek a Savior and salvation. It is therefore no surprise that as the teaching on Hell has been largely set aside by the modern world, that recourse to the sacraments, prayer, Church attendance and any number of spiritual remedies have suffered significant declines during the same period.
- More can be read, if you wish, in the articles I have written elsewhere, referenced above. - Monsignor Pope
After showing the children the vision of Hell, Our Lady said: "You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart." - OL of FatimaWhich is why this prayer Our Lady taught is so necessary as a work of charity, mercy, and justice:
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, help those especially in need of thy mercy. - OL of Fatima
Who could refuse our Blessed Mother's urgent request to pray that prayer at the end of each decade of the rosary, or whenever?
Our Lady of Lipa.