Fr. Jerry Pokorsky: No Exit

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Stefan Lochner, Last Judgment, c. 1435. Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne

By Fr. Jerry Pokorsky, The Catholic Thing, Nov 16, 2020

Fr. Jerry Pokorsky is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington who has also served as a financial administrator in the Diocese of Lincoln.  …

No Exit is a French play by the French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre. A mysterious valet escorts three damned souls to a room in Hell and locks them inside. Instead of implements of eternal torment, they find an unadorned furnished room. Their conversations evade the reasons for their damnation, prompting one to demand that they confess to their moral crimes.

The crimes are variations on, well, sinfully amorous themes. (They are French, after all.) They finally realize that the pains of Hell would come with sharing the same room for eternity. The play portrays Sartre’s famous dictum: “Hell is other people.”

There is at least a kernel of truth to that. Despite all the COEXIST bumper stickers, it’s hard to live with people who annoy us or hate us, or even those who ignore us. But Sartre’s play begs the question. What is the existential reality of the life to come? Try as we might, we’ll find no exit from reality.  …

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