Pope Francis has stirred the minds of millions of Italians by presenting his extraordinary vision of hell during a live interview on the television show Che Tempo Che Fa, reports catholicnewsagency.com.
When asked by the interviewer, Fabio Fazio, how he “imagines hell,” Pope Francis gave a short response.
“What I am going to say is not a dogma of faith but my own personal view: I like to think of hell as empty; I hope it is,” Pope Francis said.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that Catholic teaching “affirms the existence of hell and its eternity.
Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, ‘eternal fire.’
The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.”
The catechism also says: “In hope, the Church prays for ‘all men to be saved.’”
Theologians like Hans Urs von Balthasar in his book “Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved?” have put forward the possibility that one could “hope” that hell might be empty because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross, making the distinction between universal salvation as a hope and universal salvation as a doctrine, which he rejects.