Fr. Thomas G. Weinandy: God and Hell (Part Two)

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By Fr. Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Cap., The Catholic Thing, March 21, 2020

Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, a prolific writer and one of the most prominent living theologians, serves as a member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission. His newest book is Jesus Becoming Jesus: A Theological Interpretation of the Synoptic Gospels

Note: This is the second of two columns by Fr. Weinandy on the subject of Hell. The first column may be found by clicking here. – RR


Fr. Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Cap.Sin, by its very nature, is a direct attack upon or a violation of some good.  For example, lying offends the good of truth; gluttony transgresses the good of proper eating.  Now, do some evil acts contravene a good to such a degree that they merit everlasting damnation?  According to the Catholic tradition, these acts are termed mortal sins.  Let us look at some examples.

Fornication and adultery grievously violate the good of marriage and sexuality.  While couples, in these sexual acts, may desire to express their love for one another, what they are actually doing is attacking the good of marriage and the sexual acts that pertain exclusively to marriage.

By holding that fornication and adultery are mortal sins, Christian morality perceives that marriage, and the sexual acts performed within marriage, possess so great a dignity and goodness, that to violate the inherent beauty of marriage by engaging in fornication and adultery is to merit damnation.  The damnation related to fornication and adultery, thus, is a recognition that accentuates the unassailable sacredness, the inviolable goodness, and the indissoluble bond between a man and a woman in marriage.  To diminish the judgment against fornication and adultery, to suppose that they are “no big deal,” is to demean the absolute God-given goodness of marriage itself.  ….

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