As reported by Michael Voris in the video below, Fr. Robert Barron has made some bizarre statements about hell. He doesn’t go as far as to claim that everybody will be saved, but he says we may “reasonably hope that all people will be saved.” He also frequently speaks of “hell as a possibility.” The video in which Fr. Barron gives these opinions is here (his opinion begins at 5:30).
I don’t want to make this post about Fr. Barron. I respect him and acknowledge that he’s done lots of good stuff. Rather, I want to focus on upholding the Truth and not diluting the doctrine of hell. As Voris eloquently explains, Jesus himself and some epistles make it abundantly clear that some people will be damned. It’s tragic but its true. To claim otherwise is folly.
Even the claim that the Church has never pronounced on this issue seems very suspect to me. Looking in the Catechism, paragraph 633 says:
Jesus did not descend into hell to deliver the damned, nor to destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone before him. (Source)
Notice that it doesn’t say “to deliver anybody that might have been damned”. There’s no conditional tense. It’s a pretty plain admission that some damned people were found there.
Then in paragraph 1034 we read:
Jesus solemnly proclaims that he “will send his angels, and they will gather… all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,” and that he will pronounce the condemnation: “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!” (Source)
Again, there’s no conditionality here. It’s pretty definitive that there will be some people going to hell. Jesus himself solemnly proclaims it.
Why does Fr. Barron always refer to hell with the expression “hell as a possibility?” If he means that hell might not exist, then that’s heresy. Hell is part of the Doctrine of the Faith. Period.
Don’t be fooled. Hell is real. Damnation is real. In fact, if you read the Saints and Doctors of the Church, you’ll not only find unanimity on the reality of damnation, but also a preponderance of views that the majority of humans will be damned. Again, this is based on Christ’s own words: “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt 22:14); “For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matt 7:14), etc.
“Few” was never meant to designate a majority. Even less does it mean the totality of humanity, as Fr. Barron is implying could happen.
Life is serious business. This isn’t a dry run or warm-up heat. No undo button here. Nevertheless, if you do your honest best to live the Gospel and obey the Church, God’s mercy will take care of you. You’ll have nothing to worry about.