What is Hell?

Many people believe that the Catholic Church teaches that Hell is where God sends you to punish you if you are “bad.” This is not the case. Hell is somewhere we send ourselves by refusing God’s love. When we decide that we don’t want to live in God’s love, God allows us our own free choice. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in paragraph 1033, says:

 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: “He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren. To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called “hell.”

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2 thoughts on “What is Hell?

  1. A really great point! I think a lot of people don’t realize that no one is *sent* to hell; rather, they go there of their own free choice.

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