In the debate that ensued in our blog comments, we stood fast against an onslaught of arguments.
We are willing to admit our error if someone can show us where we missed the point. But be logical and Talmudic. Why would the Pope and the Catholic Church ever tolerate a narrative that says hell is real, that sinners go there but that Judaism can save them from it?
Pope says hell and damnation are real and eternalA favorite of ours. Repost from March 28, 2007
By Richard Owen in Rome
HELL is a place where sinners really do burn in an everlasting fire, and not just a religious symbol designed to galvanise the faithful, Pope Benedict XVI has said.
Addressing a parish gathering in a northern suburb of Rome, the Pope said that in the modern world many people, including some believers, had forgotten that if they failed to "admit blame and promise to sin no more", they risked "eternal damnation - the inferno".
Hell "really exists and is eternal, even if nobody talks about it much any more".
The Pope, who as cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was head of Catholic doctrine, noted that "forgiveness of sins" for those who repented was a cornerstone of Christian belief...
Vatican officials said the Pope - who is also the Bishop of Rome - had been speaking in "straightforward" language "like a parish priest".
He had wanted to reinforce the new Catholic catechism, which holds that hell is a "state of eternal separation from God", to be understood "symbolically rather than physically".
Agostino Paravicini Bagliani, a church historian, said the Pope was "right to remind us that hell is not something to be put on one side" as an inconvenient or embarrassing aspect of belief.
It was described by St Matthew as a place of "everlasting fire" (Matthew xxv, 41).
"The problem is not only that our sense of sin has declined, but also that the world wars and totalitarianisms of the 20th century created a hell on earth as bad as anything we can imagine in the afterlife," Professor Bagliani said.