[ the actual title of this page:]
http://shame-on-the-Roman-Catholic-hierarchy.website/Netherworld.html

 

 Catholic teaching about
the life beyond this life.

Many religious people don't dare point out how dubious the beliefs of other religions may be, for fear that their own beliefs will be subjected to the same scrutiny.  Far from fearing such scrutiny, however, "Liberals Like Christ" invite it.  Thanks to criticism and arguments with our readers we have corrected and improved our views in the past and look forward to doing so again and again in the future.
        But where the Catholic Church is concerned, despite the fact that neither science, history, personal experience nor "revelation" provide any reliable information about the world beyond the one we are all in now, "Holy Mother the Church" has claimed for ages to know all kinds of things about what happens to people after they die.  In this page, we will explore what the church claims to know about Purgatory, Indulgences, Limbo, and the "assumption" of Mary's body into heaven.

Purgatory & Indulgences :

The grounds for belief in a "Purgatory" are not scriptural, but pastoral.   How many times could clergy tell people that their departed loved ones who had succumbed to any of the endless catalogue of mortal sins and had not repented and confessed their sins to a priest in time were in hell and would be staying there for eternity?  People had prayed for the departed for ages, not because they knew it would help, but because that was all that they could do for the departed.  Eventually, hope - which some might call "wishful thinking" - gave rise to the idea that the virtue and the prayers of the living could make up for the sinful lives of the departed.  There was something between heaven and hell where your loved ones would go, if they were too sinful for heaven but not quite sinful enough for hell.  Thanks to the discovery of "Purgatory", the clergy could now comfort many of the faithful with the hope that there was a second chance for their loved ones and that even if they had missed the boat while on earth, they could be saved through the prayers and good works of their survivors.
        The following is from the book, Vicars of Christ, by a former Jesuit professor at Gregorian University in Rome, Peter DeRosa:

"It was in the area of indulgences that (Pope) Sixtus showed a touch of genius. He was the first pontiff to decide that they could be applied to the dead. Even he was overwhelmed by their popularity. Here was an infinite source of revenue that even his greediest predecessors had not dreamed of. It was breathtaking in its implications: the pope, creature of flesh and blood, had power over the regions of the dead. Souls in torment for their misdemeanours could be released by his word, provided their pious relatives dipped into.their pockets. And which of them wouldn't if they had a spark of Christian decency? Widows and widowers, bereaved parents spent their all trying to get their loved ones out of Purgatory, painted in ever more lurid colours.
        Praying for the dead was one thing, paying for them another. Simple folk were led to believe that the pope, or those who came to their village and sold the pope's pardon, guaranteed their dead would go to heaven on the wings of indulgences. The potential for abuse was considerable. The sale of relics from the tenth century had been bad enough. . . Martyr's bones, like oil, were not a renewable commodity, but indulgences were limitless and could be priced to suit every pocket. Nothing was required of the donor or recipient, not love or compassion or prayer or repentance - only money. No practice was ever more irreligious than this. The pope grew rich in the measure that the poor were duped."
        Purgatory had no justification, whether in Scripture or in logic. Its real basis was papal avarice. An Englishman, Simon Fish, in A Supplicacyion for the Beggars, written in the year 1529, was to point that out irrefutably:

'There is not one word spoken of it in all holy Scripture, and also if the Pope with his pardons may for money deliver one soul hence, he may deliver him as well without money.  If he may deliver one, he may deliver a thousand: if he may deliver a thousand, he may deliver them all; and so destroy purgatory.  And then he is a cruel tyrant, without all charity, if he keep them there in prison and in pain, till men will give him money.' "

from shame-on-the-Roman-Catholic-hierarchy.website/Catholic/PopesvsChrist-2.html

The Catholic Church is still promoting Indulgences

[ From http://www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=34637
Plenary indulgences for Year of the Eucharist

Vatican, Jan. 14, 2001  (CWNews.com) - Pope John Paul II (bio - news) has granted a plenary indulgence for Catholics who participate in veneration of the Blessed Sacrament during the Year of the Eucharist. He has also granted a plenary indulgence to those who recite Vespers and Night Prayers before the tabernacle.
                These indulgences were announced by the Vatican on January 14. The formal decree granting the indulgences was dated December 25-- Christmas Day-- and issued by the Apostolic Penitentiary. Cardinal James Francis Stafford, the penitentiary major, announced that the decree was approved by Pope John Paul II on December 17.
        A plenary indulgence is the remission of all temporal punishment due to sin. The indulgences are subject to the usual conditions: that the individual seeking the indulgence must make a full sacramental Confession, be free from all attachment to sin, receive the Eucharist, and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father.
        The decree notes that the faithful may obtain the indulgence "each and every time they participate attentively and piously in a sacred function or a devotional exercise undertaken in honor of the Blessed Sacrament, solemnly exposed and conserved in the tabernacle." Similarly clerics, religious, and others who pray the Liturgy of the Hours can obtain the indulgence "each and every time they recite-- at the end of the day, in company or in private-- Vespers and Night Prayers before the Lord present in the tabernacle."
        For those who "through illness or other just cause" cannot visit a church to venerate the Eucharist, the decree allows a plenary indulgence if they "make the visit spiritually and with the heart's desire,¦ and recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a pious invocation to Jesus in the Sacrament."
        The Apostolic Penitentiary instructs all pastors to inform Catholics about these indulgences "in the most convenient manner," and asks priest to be prepared to hear confessions and lead services of veneration in order to help the faithful receive the indulgences.
        The decree also reiterates the Pope's instruction for local churches to make their own special plans for veneration of the Blessed Sacrament during the Year of the Eucharist.


Official Catholic teaching on Original Sin
Official Catholic teaching on Purgatory & Indulgences


Limbo now "in Limbo" ?

The following are two articles about an imaginary place made up by one great, canonized Catholic theologian, St. Thomas Aquinas, to save unbaptized babies from the damnation they had been assigned to by another great, canonized Catholic theologian, St. Augustine of Hippo.  Both articles were written by a former Jesuit who once taught at the prestigious Gregorian University in Rome who is also the author of the outstanding work on the papacy, Vicars of Christ, The dark side of the papacy, which I used as the principal source for the pages of my shame-on-the-Roman-Catholic-hierarchy.website/PopesvsChrist web pages.
        (Since the publication of these articles several years ago, the author has been proven right by the actions of Pope Benedict XVI in 2007.

Where have all the babies gone?

by Peter De Rosa

"Pope Benedict (XVI) is about to do a remarkable thing: kick Limbo into Limbo. [ See Oct. 6, 2006 BBC article].
        Remember the old catechism? Limbo is that part of hell where unbaptised babies go when they die. Hell for babies? That always sounded harsh. Yet what choice did the Church have?
        Traditionally, baptism is the essential gateway to heaven. Without it, St Augustine said, hell loomed. Though parents in the congregation shifted their feet and voiced their protests, he insisted that little babies had to suffer for ever because scripture said, "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of heaven." King Herod would have licked his lips.
        Augustine did make one concession. Babies suffered only the mildest punishment. Mind you, it was still absolutely awful because humans are made to see God and if they don't, their whole being suffers.
        Eight centuries passed before St Thomas Aquinas came up with Limbo, a place of natural happiness for unbaptised babies who, by definition, had not committed any personal sin. For the next 700 years, Rome taught that Limbo is a kind of play centre for babies without any adult supervision. It was far more densely populated than heaven or hell.
        I once entertained an elderly couple to dinner. Soon after their marriage, they'd had a stillborn child. In those days, unbaptised babies were not buried in the church graveyard but in scrubland with derelicts, heretics and murderers. When their priest tried to console them by saying at least their baby was happy in Limbo, they never went inside a church again.
        One silver-haired lady told me that in her twenties her son had been stillborn. She was desolate. Even in winter she used to creep out of the house at night with a coat over her nightdress to kneel by her baby's grave to keep him warm.
        When Pope Benedict was head of the Holy Office, he said of Limbo, "Personally, speaking as a theologian and not as head of the Congregation, I would drop something that has always been only a theological hypothesis."
        In the New Catholic Catechism, he omitted all references to Limbo. God's mercy and Jesus' tenderness towards children "allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism". Now he is awaiting a report from a group of theologians who are said to be recommending that Limbo be officially dispensed with.
        This has its problems. Rome teaches that a human being exists at the moment of conception. That human is tainted with original sin that can only be cleansed by baptism. What other mechanism is there for cleansing them of this sin?
        John Paul spoke of abortion as murder. He intimated it was worse than murder because a human is killed without a chance of baptism and, therefore, with no hope of eternal life. Still, in 1995, he told women who had murdered their babies to beg their forgiveness. How could they forgive if they were not in the presence of the Lord?
        Nearly 40 years ago, in a book called "Christ and Original Sin", I proposed a solution that some bishops called heretical. I suspect Rome will very soon adopt something like it.
        We should think of original sin not as a personal but as a communal taint. All of us from birth are caught up in two universal realities. The first is the combined sin of the world, the second is the shared goodness of humankind. Babies are born into both. In baptism, they are officially enrolled in the zone of grace that Jesus called the Kingdom of God.
        A baby who dies before baptism doesn't need it. He or she goes straight to God, for baptism is a sacrament of the living, not the dying. A baby dying without baptism doesn't die in original sin but out of original sin."

Goodbye, Limbo, Goodbye

by Peter De Rosa

"The trouble with the Vatican, a priest said to me, is it's always changing its mind.
        Take Limbo. Till recently it was very important. Now it has disappeared off the radar screen.
        Small children were once warned of what to do if they came across a dying baby and no priest was present. They had to pour water over the little one's head while saying the baptismal words. If words and pouring were not simultaneous, the poor wee thing would go not to heaven, only to Limbo.
        Doctors and nurses attending women in childbirth were told to baptise a baby in the womb if it was likely to die before birth, using a syringe.
        A devout Catholic couple told me of their terror at the thought of their baby being run down by a car on the way to church for baptism. They'd never see him again in this life or the next.
        Limbo was always a problem in the developing world when most babies died unbaptised. Rome simply said they could not be saved.
        The situation worsened when geneticists found that perhaps three quarters of embryos are aborted without the woman knowing it. This meant, according to the Vatican, that most humans have to be snatched out of the drain by their guardian angels and transported to Limbo.
        Now we're being told, without a word of apology to bereaved parents, that the popes got it all wrong for well over 1500 years. Why should we trust them any more?"

Official Catholic teaching on Limbo

I can't take credit ( or blame ) for the following, since it was authored in its entirety by Michael R. Burch, a "recovering fundamentalist" and published where I found it, at http://www.thehypertexts.com/no%20hell%20in%20the%20bible.htm

Does "Hell" really exist? Is there a "Hell" in the Bible?
Hell no! There is no "Hell" in the Bible!

What is "hell" like, really? Where is it located: here on earth, or in some other dimension? Is it true, or a sinister fabrication? Can the Bible lead us to the truth? Where is "hell" first mentioned in the Bible, and why is it so very difficult to find? Why was the punishment of "hell" never mentioned to original sinners like Adam, Eve and Cain, or to unbelievers like the people of Sodom and the Pharaoh who defied God repeatedly? Are there Bible verses that clearly describe "hell," explaining its origins and defining its purpose? Hell no! If you study "hell" in the Bible, starting at the beginning, you're in for a long, fruitless search for facts, definitions, explanations, reasons, references and images. Why? Because the Hebrew prophets never mentioned a place where human beings burn in "hell fire," writhing in eternal torment, gnashing their teeth forever. Nor did the prophets ever mention the possibility of any other form of suffering after death. Isn't that extremely odd, if there really is a hell and God wanted human beings to know about it? The Jewish Bible (Old Testament) mentions a place called Sheol, but as I will demonstrate below—quoting book, chapter and verse—the Hebrew word Sheol clearly means "the grave." The same is true in the New Testament, where the Greek word Hades also clearly means "the grave." Nor does Gehenna mean "hell," as I also explain below. So "hell" is not a biblical teaching at all, but a harrowing mistranslation used by charlatans to brainwash believers into forking over their hard-earned money while toeing moral lines they never bothered to observe themselves. It seems hell hath no fury like a hypocritical moralist out to control other people's behavior while raking in lots of loot. Unfortunately, the people who suffer most from this hellish dogma are highly impressionable children who trust their parents, pastors, youth directors and Sunday School teachers not to mislead them ..."
        Hell is child abuse, pure and simple. We simply must put an end to the emotional, psychological and spiritual abuse of multitudes of innocent children, today.Hell=ChildAbuse.jpg There is absolutely no reason for adults to threaten children with hell with the thinly-veiled but terrifying threat that "Jesus saves, but only if you believe what you are commanded to believe." Children grow up, a fact that eludes Christian theologians who insist that Jesus loves the little children, and yet will inexplicably turn his back on them when they reach the mysterious "age of accountability," which ironically was never mentioned by Jesus, Peter, Paul, or any other apostle or prophet in regard to salvation. If the God of the Bible never condemned anyone to "hell," at any age, isn't it blasphemy to condemn people to hell in God's name? Well, as I intend to prove "beyond a reasonable doubt," from beginning to end the Bible is entirely and absolutely silent about either the preexistence or creation of "hell."
        Here is a simple, logical proof that there is no reason to believe in "hell," according to the Bible itself:
        • There is no mention of "hell" or any possibility of suffering after death anywhere in the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament (OT).

  • The Hebrew word Sheol clearly means "the grave," not "hell." This can easily be confirmed because if Sheol is translated as "hell" the Christian dogma of hell as an inescapable place of suffering apart from God is immediately refuted. This is true because: (1) in Psalm 139:8, King David said that if he made his bed in Sheol, God would be there with him; (2) in Job 14:13, Job asked to be hidden from suffering in Sheol; (3) in Psalm 49:15, the sons of Korah said that God would redeem them from Sheol; and (4) the prophet Ezekiel and the apostle Paul agreed that all Israel would be saved, and yet in Genesis 37:35, Israel himself said that he would be reunited with his son Joseph in Sheol. How can all Israel be saved if Israel himself is in "hell"? In each case Sheol clearly means "the grave" and cannot be interpreted as "hell" unless "hell" is heaven!
  • This has been confirmed by conservative Bible scholars because there is no mention of the word "hell" in the OTs of the NIV (the best-selling Bible), the NABRE (published by the Roman Catholic Church), the HCSB (published by the famously literal Southern Baptist Convention), and most other modern translations of the Bible.
  • Furthermore, in biblical chronologies spanning thousands of years, the God of the Bible and his Hebrew prophets never mentioned any possibility of punishment after death. Nothing like "hell" was even remotely suggested to Adam, Eve, Noah, Abraham, Lot, Job, Moses, David, Solomon, et al.
  • In fact, "hell" was never mentioned even to the worst people at the worst of times. "Hell" was never mentioned to Cain (the first murderer), nor to the people guilty of the wickedness that led to the Great Flood, nor to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, nor even to the Pharaoh who enslaved the Hebrew tribes and defied God repeatedly.
  • We can further verify this because there are also no OT warnings about the need to repent in order to avoid suffering after death. In the OT, people were being warned about the need to repent in order to avoid suffering and death here, on this planet, in this life.
  • Of course it makes absolutely no sense to only warn people about temporal (earthly) punishments if they face eternal suffering. Therefore according to the Bible, "hell" clearly did not preexist.
  • But there is no mention of the creation or purpose of "hell" in the New Testament (NT) either. Nor is there any verse in the entire Bible that ever announced that the penalty for sin had changed from death to "hell." Why would God clearly announce the penalty of death before it was enacted, but then fail to mention the far more serious penalty of hell before it was enacted? That makes absolutely no sense.
  • A loving, compassionate, wise, just God could not create an "eternal hell" and fail to immediately warn the whole world about it. But obviously the whole world was not warned about the creation of "hell." Native Americans knew absolutely nothing about "hell" before 1492. Billions of people have lived and died, never having heard a word about hell or Jesus Christ. Would anyone who had never read the Bible consider God to be just if he died and woke up in hell? Of course not!
  • An eternal hell would make God monstrously unjust, if he created it or knew about it and didn't immediately warn the entire world, but according to the Bible "hell" did not preexist and was never created because from beginning to end the Bible is absolutely silent about either the preexistence or creation of "hell."
  • Furthermore, the Greek word "Hades" does not mean "hell." As with Sheol, everyone went to Hades when they died: both words clearly mean "the grave."
  • Gehenna is not "hell" either, but a physical location in Israel known in Hebrew as Gehinnom, or the Valley of Hinnom. Today Gehenna is a lovely park and tourist attraction. Wonderful archeological discoveries have been made there, such as the healing pool of Siloam and the oldest Bible verses ever discovered, inscribed on small silver amulets. Those verses are the benediction "The LORD bless thee and keep thee; the LORD make his countenance to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee." Those are wonderfully comforting words to have been discovered in "hell," don't you think?
  • What does all this mean? If you believe in a loving, compassionate, wise, just God, you might conclude that "hell" has always been either an error of translation or an outright human fabrication. Why would human beings invent hell? Well, as ancient Greek philosophers like Celsus pointed out, "hell" was a good way to control the behavior of the unwashed masses. And "hell" has always been a handy way to increase conversions (perhaps we should call them "coercions"), church attendance and revenues. But what about the emotional, psychological and spiritual wellbeing of little children? Surely their innocent hearts, minds and souls are vastly more important than the head counts and coffers of churches!

But perhaps the best reason not to believe in hell is this: If at any time God, Jesus, the Hebrew prophets, or any of the apostles were aware of the existence of an "eternal hell," they should have immediately warned human beings never to have children, because the risk of giving birth was too terrible to imagine. But of course there are no such warnings in the Bible. Rather, Hebrew prophets like Ezekiel confidently predicted that all Israel would be saved in the end, along with Sodom and other Gentile nations that were historically enemies of Israel, such as Samaria. Samaria is now home to millions of Palestinians, many of them either enemies or fierce critics of Israel. Most Jews and Palestinians have never believed in Jesus, so how can all Israel and Samaria be saved, if only Christians are saved? Jesus applauded the compassion of the Good Samaritan, a man of the wrong religion who practiced compassion. Will all the good Samaritans go to "hell"? Will Jesus fail to practice what he preached and not be a good Samaritan himself? Will he condemn the saints of other religions to eternal torture: Gandhi, the great man of peace, for instance? As Saint Paul used to say, "Heaven forbid!"
        And here's another very good reason not to believe in hell: infant baptism and the "age of accountability" were never mentioned by Jesus, Paul or any other apostle. NoHellForJesus.jpgThese bizarre non-Biblical teachings were only needed after the early Christian church was infiltrated by the Cult of Hell. If Jesus loved children and they were in danger of going to "hell" once they reached a certain age, or if they weren't splashed with water by a priest, how could he have failed to tell his disciples exactly what needed to be done to save them? But of course there was no "hell" at the time Jesus and Paul were preaching. "Hell" was clumsily cobbled into the Bible after Jerusalem was destroyed in AD 70 and the Christian church re-centered in Greece and Rome, where people believed in the hell of pagan mythology. By that time Jesus and Paul were no longer here in the flesh, to contradict the witchdoctors of the Cult of Hell.
        Another good reason is also very easy to understand. A God who is able to create a heaven where suffering and death are impossible does not need a hell. After all, when suffering and death are impossible, evil acts are also impossible. This could explain why Hebrew prophets like Ezekiel and the apostle Paul spoke of everyone being saved in the end. If God can create a dimension where the lion lies down in peace with the lamb, there is no need to punish lions for killing lambs here on earth. If no human being was perfect here on earth, what is the need to punish some of them unnecessarily once none of them can do any harm? It seems to me that many of the Christians I talk to actually want there to be a hell so that people they despise can suffer for all eternity. But surely no loving, truly enlightened being could agree with them. And according to the Hebrew prophets like Ezekiel, Saint Peter in his second sermon after Pentecost, and Saint Paul in a number of passages, everyone will be saved in the end.
        So how did "hell" enter the Bible? Ironically, the only Jews who believed in "hell" at the time of Jesus were the Pharisees. We know this from the Jewish historian Josephus, a contemporary of Paul. The Pharisees probably "borrowed" the concept of "hell" from the pagan Greeks after Alexander the Great conquered the Middle East during the "silent" period between the writing of the OT and NT. Like the Greeks, the Pharisees undoubtedly found that the threat of "hell" increased their power, revenues and profits. Later, when the pagan Roman emperor Constantine demanded that Catholic bishops "come together" and agree on what became known as the Nicene Creed, he commissioned fifty Bibles, a huge and very expensive undertaking in those days. It seems possible that the more hellish verses may have entered the Bible at that time, as "hell" was a great way to scare up money and put even more power in the hands of church and state. The verses about slaves obeying their masters and citizens obeying unjust rulers could have been added at the same time, for similar reasons. Can any Christian believe that Jesus Christ would have endorsed slavery, or people blindly obeying Hitler (or Constantine)?
        But in any case the Greek hell was Tartarus, not Hades. As we will see, there is only one verse in the entire Bible containing a word that actually means hell, but that hell is not for human beings, nor is it eternal.
        This is the end of my "simple proof" that there is no reason to believe in hell, according to the Bible itself. But if the subject interests you, I will be glad to cite book, chapter and verse, so please feel free to continue reading ... and I certainly hope that you will, for the sake of the children "...


Assumption of Mary's body into Heaven

The Catholic Church doesn't simply claim to know that following the death of the mother of Jesus, Mary's earthly body was transported or "assumed" into heaven, but the Pope who declared this to be a fact, Pius IX, invoked his infallible authority to do so, a very, very rare occurrence.  And how did the Pope know this?  Apart from the fact that no one has yet stumbled over her body, the entire long-winded "proof" boils down to this: if the pope, or others who agree with him, were God's divine Son, that's what they would want for their mother.

Much of R. C. "theology" is nothing but imagination driven by emotion

On Dec. 12, 2014, the media was filled with the news that Pope Francis has settled the question as to whether animals (pets) live eternally in heaven with their owners. They do!
       This event is a perfect illustration of the fact that much of Roman Catholic "Theology" is nothing but imagination driven by emotion !
        Assuming for the moment that there is a heaven, the only grounds people have for claims that pets and/or plants go there is not knowledge, but imagination, and people accept it, not becaues of overwhelming evidence, but because of emotion, i.e. people want to believe what they imagine.
        Now why do we believe that we humans go to heaven? For the very same reasons, i.e. emotion persuades most humans to choose "theologians" who tell us that we should imagine that we will live forever after this life, over anybody who asks "what convincing proof is there for such a claim?"
        Christians themselves prove that they don't really believe in heaven, when they act as though death is a tragedy, instead of the entrance into eternal happiness - which they insist that they believe! -

This is just one of the many unique,
truth-filled and insightful pages
of
Click on this banner
Click on this banner to see the whole picture!
email image
contact David@shame-on-the-Roman-Catholic-hierarchy.website