The Consideration Of Hell-Hell Exists And Is Eternal For Those Who Close Their Hearts To GOD's Love
Classic Catholic Audiobooks
Published at : 11 Nov 2020
Aquinas uses an analogy of buoyancy:
And since a place is assigned to souls in keeping with their reward or punishment, as soon as the soul is set free from the body it is either plunged into hell or soars to heaven, unless it be held back by some debt, for which its flight must needs be delayed until the soul is first of all cleansed. ... Sometimes venial sin, though needing first of all to be cleansed, is an obstacle to the receiving of the reward; the result being that the reward is delayed. 
— St Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae Suppl. Q69 A2
The Catechism of the Catholic Church which, when published in 1992, Pope John Paul II declared to be "a sure norm for teaching the faith", defines hell as a freely chosen consequence of refusing to love God:
We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: "He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren. To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called "hell." Jesus often speaks of "Gehenna" of "the unquenchable fire" reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost. 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!" The teaching of the Church 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, which is described (in quotes) as "eternal fire."
As a place or a state
The Baltimore Catechism defined Hell by using the word "state" alone: "Hell is a state to which the wicked are condemned, and in which they are deprived of the sight of God for all eternity, and are in dreadful torments." However, suffering is characterized as both mental and physical: "The damned will suffer in both mind and body, because both mind and body had a share in their sins."
Pope John Paul II stated on 28 July 1999, that, in speaking of Hell as a place, the Bible uses "a symbolic language", which "must be correctly interpreted … Rather than a place, hell indicates the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy." Some have interpreted these words as a denial that Hell can be considered to be a place, or at least as providing an alternative picture of Hell. Others have explicitly disagreed with the interpretation of what the Pope said as an actual denial that Hell can be considered a place and have said that the Pope was only directing attention away from what is secondary to the real essence of hell.
Catholic theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905–1988) said that "we must see that hell is not an object that is 'full' or 'empty' of human individuals, but a possibility that is not 'created' by God but in any case by the free individuals who choose it".
The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth, with imprimatur of 2007, also says that "more accurately" heaven and hell are not places but states.
Capuchin theologian Berard A. Marthaler also says that "hell is not 'a place'".
Hell (on the right) is portrayed in Paradise and Hell, a 16th-century Hieronymus Bosch (or Bosch workshop) painting.
Traditionally in the past Hell has been spoken of or considered as a place. Some have rejected metaphorical interpretations of the biblical descriptions of hell, and have attributed to Hell a location within the earth, while others who uphold the opinion that hell is a definite place, say instead that its location is unknown.
In a homily given on 25 March 2007, Pope Benedict XVI stated: "Jesus came to tell us that he wants us all in heaven and that hell, of which so little is said in our time, exists and is eternal for those who close their hearts to his love." Journalist Richard Owen's interpretation of this remark as declaring that hell is an actual place was reported in many media.