A refutation of Carol Meyer…
God’s Mercy and the Eternity of Hell:
Reply to a genuine Heretic
Question: Would a good God condemn anyone to hell? Short answer: Yes, He would.
On Feb. 3, 2011, a writer by the name of Carol Meyer published a blog post on the “EarthBeat” section of the grossly misnamed National Catholic Reporter. It is a 570-word screed entitled “Debunking the Myth of Hell”.
Needless to say, in her brief post attacking the Catholic dogma of eternal punishment for those who die in mortal sin, Mrs. Meyer does no actual debunking whatsoever, she merely affirms vociferously that she does not believe what God has revealed because she doesn’t see how it could be true. And when Divine Revelation runs contrary to what Carol Meyer thinks, why that’s just too bad for Divine Revelation!
Since that pesky dogma of an eternal hell has always been a thorn in the side of the Modernists and many other non-Catholics, and yet the significance of its truth can hardly be over-stated, especially in our day and age, we will dismantle Mrs. Meyer’s sophistry point by point. The fact that her article is over ten years old already is of no consequence, since revealed truth is timeless and the author’s position is no doubt shared by a great many other unfortunate souls.
Meyer begins as follows:
I’m writing about hell because it is an unthinkable, horrible, destructive concept that can’t possibly be true. I frankly can’t even imagine how anyone came up with something so horrific. Could any wrong merit the terrible pain of burning in fire, while fully conscious, for a week or a year, much less eternity? What kind of a monster would inflict that on anyone? How could such cruelty and sadism be consistent with a God of love? I don’t buy it for a minute.
(Carol Meyer, “Debunking the Myth of Hell”, National Catholic Reporter, Feb. 3, 2011)
Here the author demonstrates her theological ignorance and incompetence, as well as her defiant will. It is one thing to ask questions — such is not wrong — but it is another not to care to hear the answers, or to reject the answers once they have been made clear. Notice that she does not ask what God has revealed in the matter so that she may assent to it unconditionally, as the virtue of Faith demands:
Since man is wholly dependent on God as his Creator and Lord, and since created reason is completely subject to uncreated truth, we are bound by faith to give full obedience of intellect and will to God who reveals. But the Catholic Church professes that this faith, which “is the beginning of human salvation”, is a supernatural virtue by which we, with the aid and inspiration of the grace of God, believe that the things revealed by Him are true, not because the intrinsic truth of the revealed things has been perceived by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God Himself who reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived. For, “faith is,” as the Apostle testifies, “the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not” [Heb. 11:1].
(First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius, Chapter 3; Denz. 1789; underlining added.)
Meyer makes clear that she does not have the theological virtue of Faith, for she insists on first perceiving by the light of natural reason the truth of what God has revealed before she will give her assent, and even that she is not terribly interested in, for it is clear that she does not genuinely seek answers but merely asks questions rhetorically. She has already made up her mind against the dogma of hell — she doesn’t “buy it for a minute.” That is, as we will see, because she does not know God and does not understand the nature of sin.
I don’t care if scripture mentions hell or Jesus talked about it, if saints had visions of it, or if it’s a time-honored Catholic teaching. It simply can’t be justified on any level. We have no proof of its existence. It doesn’t work as a preventative for wrong. Fear is the lowest form of motivation in moral development, and has probably been more the cause of the terrible crimes of humanity than any deterrent. People laugh and joke about burning in hell and draw cartoons about it, but almost no one takes it seriously.
Here Meyer clearly manifests the unmistakable signs of being a genuine heretic: She knows what God has revealed but stubbornly rejects it anyway. She is pertinacious, meaning she deliberately refuses to allow her intellect to assent to what God has revealed because she prefers to hold to something else. What she wrote is a textbook example of the mortal sin of heresy — it doesn’t get any more heretical, so to speak, than that:
A heretic, therefore, is one who knowingly refuses to admit a truth proposed by the Church, whether his motive be pride, desire of contradicting, or any other vice.
Heresy is not formal unless one pertinaciously rejects the truth, knowing his error and consenting to it.
(a) One must know that one’s belief is opposed to divine revelation or to Catholic faith….
(b) One must willingly consent to the error. But for formal heresy it is not required that a person give his assent out of malice, or that he continue in obstinate rejection for a long time, or that he refuse to heed admonitions given him. Pertinacity here means true consent to recognized error, and this can proceed from weakness (e.g., from anger or other passion); it can be given in an instant, and does not presuppose an admonition disregarded….
(Fathers John A. McHugh & Charles J. Callan, Moral Theology, vol. 1 [New York, NY: Joseph F. Wagner, 1958], nn. 826e; 829; underlining added. Both volumes are available electronically here.)
Sad to say, Carol Meyer meets the definition of “formal heretic” to a tee.
Heresy is a grave sin against God — one of the greatest sins one can commit, second only to hatred of God — because it is an implicit accusation against God that He has revealed something that is not true, either because He is an evil deceiver (which would mean He is not all-good) or because He has Himself been deceived (which would mean He is not all-knowing). He who commits heresy implicitly makes himself the rule of Faith, rather than God. What a frightful crime, to substitute oneself in the place of God! It is a participation, as it were, in the crime of the devil and the Antichrist: “Who opposeth, and is lifted up above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself as if he were God” (2 Thess 2:4).
So this heretical author haughtily proclaims that the Catholic dogma of hell “can’t be justified on any level.” Oh, really? Considering that the dogmatic treatises of the Church’s approved theological authors are filled with precisely such justifications, why does she not bother to grapple with at least one of them? Instead, in her mad rush to declare hell a cruel absurdity, she hopes people will simply accept her gratuitous denial as “proof” of its non-existence, perhaps on account of her asserting it so vehemently. But a vehement protestation is one thing, a rational argument another. It is amusingly ironic, therefore, that although she offers no evidence for her position, yet she complains that there is, allegedly, “no proof of [hell’s] existence.”
What more certain proof could there be than God’s very own Testimony, Mrs. Meyer, guaranteed by His own Infinite Veracity? For “…grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (Jn 1:17); “Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6). Ah, but then this the heretical author does not believe, and that is precisely where the problem lies: Carol Meyer does not believe. She is not a Catholic, regardless of what she calls herself. Who could be so foolish as to reject God’s own Revelation? Does this writer know more about hell than God Himself? On what grounds will she say God’s Revelation is false? Does she believe God is a deceiver — or an idiot? Does she believe her puny little created mind is more exalted than the Mind of God, who is not just Infinite Love but also Infinite Intelligence? How could any creature be this prideful?
Meyer’s objections are not new in Church history, of course, and they have been answered for centuries. We will simply quote the response given by the famous 20th-century radio priest duo, Fathers Rumble and Carty, regarding evidence of hell:
922. What evidence have you that such a hell exists?
The very best. The God who made us tells us that He also has made a hell. There is a hell in which both the bodies and the souls of the lost will be afflicted. Thus the gentle Christ Himself warns us, “It is expedient for thee that one of thy members should perish rather than that thy whole body go into hell.” Mk. IX., 29. Remember that all shall rise some day, the good and bad alike, the body sharing in the fate of the soul. “All that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God. And they that have done good things shall come forth unto the resurrection of life; but they that have done evil unto the resurrection of judgment.” Jn. V., 28. Those who are lost will go to everlasting fire. Christ calls it “unquenchable fire.” Mk. IX., 44. He tells us of the grim sentence, “Depart from me you cursed into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels.” Matt. XXV., 41. Such a solemn utterance of the judicial sentence demands the literal sense. Judges do not speak in metaphors at such moments, “Let him be hanged—but of course only metaphorically!” And it will be conscious suffering. Our Lord says, “Their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished.” Mk. IX., 43. And again, “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matt. XIII., 49. Continued conscious suffering is the fate of the lost. And reason demands such a fate. When a man sins gravely, he chooses between God and a thing forbidden by God. He cannot have both, and he prefers to renounce God rather than the created good. If he dies without repentance his will is still alienated from God. He would do the same thing again if he got the chance. And as long as these dispositions last, he must do without God, and happiness. These dispositions lasting forever once this probationary life is over, so will the penalty.
(Rev. Leslie Rumble and Rev. Charles M. Carty, Radio Replies: First Volume [St. Paul, MN: Radio Replies Press, 1938], n. 922; available online here. A handy booklet just on the topic of hell was released as Hell Quizzes, providing the relevant passages from Radio Replies.)
Here the radio priests point out that although hell is a revealed dogma, it is also entirely consonant with reason. In fact, given the truth about God, man, and sin, reason demands the existence of hell. This constitutes the very proof and justification that Meyer falsely claims does not exist.
The heretical NCR blogger also claims that hell “doesn’t work as a preventative for wrong.” Oh, really? Now what evidence might she have for that idea? She provides none, of course. She argues: “Fear is the lowest form of motivation in moral development, and has probably been more the cause of the terrible crimes of humanity than any deterrent.” It is another affirmation she makes without providing evidence, all the while demanding proof for the existence of hell, which exists in abundance. But whether it be the lowest form of motivation or the highest, or somewhere in between, is irrelevant. The existence of hell is not dependent on its being a deterrent. Even if it deterred no one, hell would still exist because it is the necessary place of eternal punishment for those who refuse to die in friendship with God (i.e. sanctifying grace) — a friendship which Our Lord, though offering it in gracious abundance, will certainly not force on anyone.
Apart from that, it is obviously a no-brainer that the threat of eternal punishment is a deterrent against sin. Of course it is! If punishment in general is a deterrent against crime even among human beings in this temporal life; and if the greater a punishment is, the greater the deterrence; then why should the worst possible punishment suddenly stop being a deterrent at all? It makes no sense, and we can illustrate that with a simple example.
Tax evasion is a crime. It can be reasonably assumed that most people do not engage in tax evasion, and yet it may also be safely assumed that the reason why many people pay their taxes is that they are simply afraid of the punishment they will receive if they don’t and get caught, usually a hefty fine and perhaps even imprisonment. Clearly, the penalties for tax evasion are a deterrent. However, according to Meyer’s brilliant reasoning, if the penalty for tax evasion were increased from fines or imprisonment to death by electrocution, people would all of a sudden no longer be deterred and happily commit tax fraud. Does this make any sense whatsoever?
Meyer’s observation that “[p]eople laugh and joke about burning in hell and draw cartoons about it, but almost no one takes it seriously” likewise does not disprove the existence of hell, it just proves how foolish some people are. Furthermore, it does not prove that hell is not a deterrent, it just proves that it is not a deterrent for those who do not believe in it — like her, for example. Thus Meyer is doing nothing other than using unbelief in hell as “evidence” that hell is not real — not exactly a compelling argument.
So far, therefore, the heretical author has not done any of the promised “debunking” yet. She continues:
Believing in hell doesn’t promote righteous living or love of God, but an unhealthy fear for those brainwashed to believe it is true. It is especially cruel to inflict this terror on innocent children and the uneducated and susceptible. Didn’t Jesus go around saying over and over not to be afraid? Moving from fear to love and trust in God is a central message of the New Testament. I can’t imagine how many lives have been ruined or devoid of joy because of all the fire and brimstone hurled at them.
It is amazing how Carol Meyer now makes reference to Jesus Christ and His holy Word, when a few lines prior she proclaimed that she “doesn’t care” what He taught regarding hell. Once again we see Meyer acting as her own rule of Faith. When what Christ teaches meets with her approval, she is happy to accept it as divine guidance — when what He teaches does not meet with her approval, she rejects it as evil, stupid, false. Whom is this woman following? Christ or herself?
Yes, Mrs. Meyer, Christ did say, “Be not afraid.” In fact, He said a little more than that: “And I say to you, my friends: Be not afraid of them who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will shew you whom you shall fear: fear ye him, who after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell. Yea, I say to you, fear him” (Lk 12:4-5). The Gospel cannot be cherry-picked; it is not available in slices, in elements, or in degrees. It is all or nothing, just as Christ is all or nothing: “He that is not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth” (Mt 12:30); “If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema” (Gal 1:9).
By the way: “Fear of the Lord” is one of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost (cf. Is 11:3). “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps 110:10). In the Act of Contrition, the Catholic Church teaches her children to pray thus:
O my God! I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee; and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all good, and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.
In this prayer, which should be recited daily and is part of the Sacrament of Confession, the Church inculcates in souls that they ought to be sorry for their sins above all because they offend the all-good God, who is perfectly entitled to all our love and obedience. At the same time, she also acknowledges that fearing the loss of eternal reward (Heaven) and even fearing eternal punishment (hell) are likewise good and supernatural motives which ought to move us to repent of our sins. Did Carol Meyer never learn the difference between perfect and imperfect contrition, and how the former always ought to be our goal but the latter suffices for a good sacramental confession?
There are different kinds of fear. Not all of them are salutary. St. Thomas Aquinas treats of fear at length in Question 19 of his Second Part of the Second Part of his Summa Theologica. It is unfortunate that Carol Meyer didn’t think it worth her time, or perhaps her intellect, to consult it before releasing her dangerous errors for public consumption.
The most important distinction is that between servile fear and filial fear. Servile fear is the fear a slave exhibits towards his master. It is strictly based on the threat of punishment. This is not the kind of fear God desires us to have (cf. Jn 15:15), and it is not enough to obtain the forgiveness of sins. Filial fear, by contrast, is the fear a son has for his father. It is a fear of displeasing him out of reverence and love for him.
A basic American family catechism from the 1950s explains the difference thus:
A purely servile fear of God is not sufficient for imperfect contrition. That is one which makes a person avoid sin only because of punishment: so that, if there were no punishment, he would not be sorry, but ready and resolved to sin, regardless of the laws of God.
We call this fear “servile” because it is the fear of slaves, afraid of a hard taskmaster; they would quickly disobey his commands were they not afraid of his whips. Shall we look upon God thus?
To receive the sacrament of Penance worthily, purely servile fear would not be sufficient.
Servile fear does not make the sinner turn away from his sin. The “fear of God” that produces attrition [=imperfect contrition] is called filial fear. It is a fear of God’s punishments that makes the sinner turn away from sin and return sincerely to God; it is the fear that a good son who has offended his father seriously feels when he begs forgiveness.
(Most Rev. Louis LaRavoire Morrow, My Catholic Faith [Kenosha, WI: My Mission House, 1954], p. 307; italics given.)
What made the Ninevites return to God if not the salutary fear of God’s impending punishment? This fear included a genuine turning away from sin, and that is what made their fear not merely servile but filial:
And Jonas began to enter into the city one day’s journey: and he cried, and said: Yet forty days, and Ninive shall be destroyed. And the men of Ninive believed in God: and they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least. … Who can tell if God will turn, and forgive: and will turn away from his fierce anger, and we shall not perish? And God saw their works, that they were turned from their evil way: and God had mercy with regard to the evil which he had said that he would do to them, and he did it not.
But then, our heretical hell denier only cares about Scripture when it teaches something that appeals to her, and clearly this won’t. Neither will she be terribly bothered by the fact that the Council of Trent pronounced the following anathemas:
If anyone shall say that the fear of hell, whereby by grieving for sins we flee to the mercy of God or refrain from sinning, is a sin or makes sinners worse: let him be anathema.
(Council of Trent, Session 6, On Justification, Canon 8; Denz. 818.)
If anyone says that this contrition, which is evoked by examination, recollection, and hatred of sins “whereby one recalls his years in the bitterness of his soul” [Isa. 38:15], by pondering on the gravity of one’s sins, the multitude, the baseness, the loss of eternal happiness, and the incurring of eternal damnation, together with the purpose of a better life, is not a true and a beneficial sorrow, and does not prepare for grace, but makes a man a hypocrite, and a greater sinner; finally that this sorrow is forced and not free and voluntary: let him be anathema.
(Council of Trent, Session 14, On Penance, Canon 5; Denz. 915.)
Yes, we ought to serve God from reasons of love rather than fear. But there is nothing in the dogma of hell to contradict that idea. Hell is simply what awaits those who refuse to love and serve God and persist in that refusal all the way to the end.
Meyer objects further that it is “especially cruel to inflict this terror on innocent children and the uneducated and susceptible.” There is nothing cruel about instructing all people in the saving truths of the Gospel, of which the doctrine of an eternal hell happens to be a part. Why should that be cruel? Of course such instruction has to be given wisely, that is, at the right time and in the right manner, mindful of the age and background of the people being taught. The Catholic Church has done this with great profit to souls for 2000 years.
So far, then, our heretical objector has voiced her complaints. She has shown that they are grounded in ignorance and stubbornness, but she still has not “debunked” anything. Spoiler alert: This isn’t going to change for the remainder of her post.
We can readily see the arrogant and callous self-righteousness that a belief in hell engenders. The “saved” proudly assert that they are going to heaven, with nary a care that everyone else will suffer for eternity. They might even glory in the damnation of others. Come on. Can that kind of attitude, with its smugness and indifference to (or even glee in) the pain of others, possibly have a place in heaven and be pleasing to God? I think belief in a God who sends people to hell, no matter how cloaked in theological sweetness, creates cruel people. And it’s been the justification for terrible atrocities throughout history.
The same Divine Teacher who taught us about the reality of hell and its real danger to souls, from which He came to deliver men through His Passion and Death, also taught us about the sins of pride, hatred, lack of charity and compassion, hypocrisy, self-righteousness, presumption, and so forth. Meyer’s objection here makes no sense whatsoever and is irrelevant. She switches the topic from the nature of hell and its existence to one of mean, self-righteous people who are presumptuous of their own salvation. The same Christ who warned again and again about the existence of hell also displayed a holy fury when dealing with the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees:
Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you go round about the sea and the land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, you make him the child of hell twofold more than yourselves. You serpents, generation of vipers, how will you flee from the judgment of hell?
There is that mention of hell again! Although Meyer does not believe in it, might she make an exception for self-righteous people of the kind she described?
Belief in hell does not create cruel people. On the contray, belief in no punishment after death does. After all, nothing motivates to sin more than the idea that one will never have to render an account of one’s deeds. How does she think our society would fare if the governments declared that henceforth there would be no more policing, no more justice system, no more fines, no more prisons, no more punishments? Does anyone think crime would suddenly disappear?
Nothing creates cruel people as much as the belief that one will not have to render an account to an infinitely just God after death who knows all of one’s works, words, and even one’s most secret thoughts. Hell reminds us that there will be an eternal price to pay if we do not live according to God’s commandments (cf. Mt 19:17).
The Catholic doctrine on hell certainly doesn’t cause or permit anyone to commit “terrible atrocities throughout history”. On the other hand, the Communist belief in no afterlife and no accountability to God after death, very much facilitates unspeakable crimes against one’s fellow man. It is no accident that the worst mass murderer in history was a Communist atheist: Mao Tse-tung (1893-1976).
Carol Meyer continues her screed with more non-debunking:
The bottom line in all this is the nature of God. When we look at creation (and thus at God), we see that it is essentially benevolent, kind, and nurturing. Yes, there is some pain and certainly death, but it is part of a beautiful process of life, growth and rebirth, not some never-ending punishment for being imperfect. I’m not sure where we got the idea that the meaning of life is about judgment, that it’s some kind of cosmic test almost impossible to pass. Nature is about harmony, balance, compassion, unity, interdependence, joy, and all life coming to its fullest potential. That is surely what God wants for us, not to toss us into the trash bin of hell because we missed Sunday mass or had sex.
It is in fact the nature of God that demands the existence of hell as eternal punishment for the wicked. We will get back to that in a moment.
What Meyer totally misses is that the last thing God desires to do is condemn anyone to hell. He gave His only Son to save us from it! Not only did Jesus Christ willingly suffer and die once for our Redemption, even now He continually draws us to Himself and begs us to love Him because only by loving Him can we be spared an eternity of damnation:
For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. For God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by him. He that believeth in him is not judged. But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the judgment: because the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light: for their works were evil.
God does not desire our eternal demise but our eternal happiness in Heaven: “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4). However, Christ suffered His most cruel Passion because sin is real, hell is real, and He does not want us to choose that option — but an option it remains nonetheless!
It is precisely the fullest potential Christ came to restore to mankind, and that potential is supernatural: “I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10). None of what Meyer has written “debunks” the reality of hell. At best, she shows that God does not desire anyone to go there, which we obviously agree with! But this truth does not negate the reality of hell.
Once again we can let Fathers Rumble and Carty answer Meyer’s objections succinctly:
943. However bad people may be, I think it is against right ideas of God to speak of His punishing anyone forever.
Then what are you going to do with Satan? He is a creature of God even as we. Is he going to reform? Will he ever come out of the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels? No. And granting the fact that God is punishing one of his creatures like that, responsible human souls can certainly meet with the same fate. I do not like the thought of anyone suffering in hell any more than you do. But that will not make me deny the existence of hell. Hundreds of things we do not like are facts.
944. How can you reconcile hell with God’s love, justice, and mercy?
If I could not, that would but prove something wrong with my own ideas on the subject. For it is certain that God is loving, just, and merciful; and He has revealed that there is a hell. So the ideas cannot be repugnant. However God’s love, justice, and mercy demand that there be a hell. His love demands a hell, for the more He loves goodness, the more He must hate sin. To the man who says that God loves too much to send a man to hell, I simply reply that He sends no man there; men go there. And God has loved too much not to let them go there if they scorn, reject, and throw God’s love back in His face. Again, His justice demands that if a man dies rejecting an infinite goodness he should endure a penalty of a never-ending nature. If there were no eternal punishment, a man could cry to God, “You say ‘Thou shalt not.’ I say ‘I shall.’ Do your worst. You cannot punish me forever. What care I for your commandments or for yourself! You must either make me happy in the end, or annihilate me, when I shall have escaped your power.” It is impossible for the drama of iniquity to end like that. That would not be justice. And as for God’s mercy, already it is a mercy that man has the thought of hell as an emergency brake to stop his headlong rush into vice. The truth that there is a hell has mercifully saved many a soul from a life of blasphemy and sin, and still more often from death in a state of sin. And remember that God’s mercy is offered to every man over and over again during life. Mercy is asked for, not forced upon people. Some men who are loudest in their protests against God’s injustice would be the first to complain if God forced anything upon them, even His mercy. But men cannot have God’s mercy and reject it at one and the same time.
945. But Christ who came as the revelation of God, was so kind and gentle!
That intensifies the force of the arguments for hell. Only a grim reality could have forced Him to speak as He did. He taught heaven and hell equally. You cannot have heaven because you like it and reject a hell taught with the same authority because you do not like it. Think of His passion and death. If there were no hell to save us from; if we all had to go to heaven whether He were crucified or not; then His sufferings and death were foolish. Men wish to abolish hell. There is but one way to do so. Let each man abolish his own hell by repenting of his sins and endeavoring to serve God.
946. You make Christ cruel.
I do not. Due punishment for not doing as Christ commands is justice, not cruelty. Parents know that it is not cruelty to inflict reasonable and deserved punishment upon children who are rebellious. And God has more right to your obedience than any parents to the obedience of their children. It is a blameworthy weakness in parents if they allow their children to do just as they please with no fear of the consequences. And God is not so foolish as to give serious laws to His rational creatures on the understanding that nothing will happen if they break them. But there is no need to endure the extreme penalty. Keep the laws and you will be safe.
(Rumble and Carty, Radio Replies: First Volume, nn. 943-946; available online here.)
As is very evident from the above, the answers to Carol Meyer’s objections have long been given by the Church. But none are so blind as those who refuse to see!
Since Meyer is not able to debunk the actual Catholic teaching on hell, she must restort to a caricature of it. No, God does not want to “toss us into the trash bin of hell because we missed Sunday mass or had sex”, but if we choose to commit mortal sin and remain in it, He will let us have our wish. Choices have consequences, and God forces His mercy on nobody.
Meyer concludes her heretical screed as follows:
It is an insult of the highest degree to think God could ever be so mean and evil as to create hell. So let’s banish the idea once and for all. And we don’t need the concept to justify the need for Christ. All arguments for hell, however reasonable they once sounded, are debunked by one single truth—God is LOVE. The end of the story.
So this is what she presents as her trimphant conclusion: She “debunks” hell by proclaiming that God is love. If only someone in the last 2000 years of Church history had thought of that! If only Jesus Christ Himself had thought of it! Bummer!
Hell, we must inform Mrs. Meyer, is for those who reject the God-who-is-Love and then die in that unhappy state. That is the rest of the story.
Bishop Donald Sanborn recently gave a very powerful and informative sermon on the everlasting punishment of the damned. It can be watched here:
Alas, this refutation of Carol Meyer can no longer help her unhappy soul — it is too late. Carol Meyer died on June 29, 2015, at the age of 71.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is without glee and with great sympathy that we can say that Carol Meyer appears to have been your typical post-Vatican II spiritual casualty. She suffered shipwreck in the Faith as so many other souls did, without even realizing it, due primarily to the wicked works of “Pope Saints” John XXIII and Paul VI.
Born in 1943, Meyer was in her 20s when the abominable Second Vatican Council raged. She had entered the convent for the Adorers of the Blood of Christ at age 20 and was a nun for 15 years. By the late 1970s, she left the (by then) Novus Ordo religious life and “got married, adopted 3 children all at once (ages 3, 4 and 6), worked for National Catholic Reporter Publishing Co., started a women’s center for personal and spiritual growth, was Director of Christian Formation for an Episcopal [!] church, and was self-employed for the past 13 years doing education, spiritual direction, and massage”, as she wrote in her post “How I came to make Earth my life’s work”.
Alas, yes, she made earth her life’s work, but not, unfortunately, with a view to eternity: “Mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth” (Col 3:2). There are many temporal concerns that we can and should dedicate our efforts to, but never apart from our supernatural end.
We know that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb 11:6), and so all her earthly works, however good they may have been in themselves, were worthless in the sight of God if she died a heretic. We are commanded to love God not only “with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength” but also “with all thy mind” (Lk 10:27). By repudiating God’s revelation and embracing heresy, Carol failed in this greatest and first commandment. She did not love God with her whole mind.
According to her public obituary:
Carol lived a life devoted to her faith, first as a member of the religious order of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ and then as a mother of three children and an active member of her church, St. Pius X, where she served as leader of the Green Team. Carol earned a Masters of Theology from St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN and spent many years teaching, presenting workshops, and providing spiritual guidance. She was the director of Woman’s Source, a non-profit organization, and worked at the National Catholic Reporter. She also served as Director of the Sustainable Sanctuary Coalition, an organization that supports sustainable living and ecological justice. Carol lived life to its fullest and fostered a diverse network of friends who shared her many passions including: tennis, pickle ball, gardening, ballroom dancing, holistic healing, spiritual growth, and a love for the environment. She is cherished by many and will be missed for her energy, her spirituality, and her commitment to serve. Visitation will take place Sunday, July 5 from 6-8 PM at St. Pius X Catholic Church, 5500 Woodson, Mission, KS. A memorial mass will be held at the church on Monday, July 6 at 10 AM followed by a luncheon in the parish hall at 11. Contributions may be made in her name to the St. Pius X Green Team.
It is ironic that her parish’s patron was St. Pius X, the great foe of Modernism! The fact that she could be the member of a supposedly Catholic church while publicly defying Catholic dogma shows what a grotesque circus the Novus Ordo religion is. Public heresy disqualifies one from membership in the Catholic Church: “For not every sin, however grave it may be, is such as of its own nature to sever a man from the Body of the Church, as does schism or heresy or apostasy” (Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici Corporis, n. 23).
No, this woman was most certainly not “devoted to her faith”. She had no Faith — she only had opinions, her Faith having been destroyed by pertinaciously clinging to heresy: “Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: ‘This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved'” (Pope Benedict XV, Encyclical Ad Beatissimi, n. 24).
The case of Carol Meyer is utterly tragic. It would have been horrific enough if she had privately believed heresy and kept it to herself. Alas, she scandalized countless souls by trying to convince them of her own unbelief. She was the very opposite of an apostle!
Indeed, going by her own testimony, it looks like Meyer drifted into New Age beliefs and Pantheism:
When my good friend Catherine Browning introduced me to Creation Spirituality 20 years ago, I was hooked. I went to several national conferences, read books on the new science, and watched/discussed Brian Swimme’s 12-hour video series, Canticle to the Cosmos, with a sense of awe and excitement. My spiritual life, now more linked to the cosmos, was more vibrant and powerful. I could feel in my gut the truth of what Matt Fox, Swimme, Thomas Berry, and others were saying about the human connection to the universe.
I knew the answers to our environmental crisis had to come from new cosmological and theological understandings, and since I was modestly prepared to share those, I said to God, “Send me, Lord.” The urgency of making this my life work came from reading Thomas Berry’s The Great Work and other books that outline the seriousness of the harm we are doing to our planet. To me, nothing else is as basic and important since everything, including the spiritual, is dependent on a healthy planet.
So here I am, a One on the Enneagram, ENTJ on Myers-Briggs, doing whatever I can to save the planet that I love dearly as a piece of God. I write these blogs with prayer and attentiveness to the urgings of the Holy Spirit, as boldly and honestly as I can. I feel humbled and grateful to be able to do so, and I am deeply grateful that you also care for the Earth and want to do more for it. We are all learning and growing together, and I welcome your comments and insights about the blogs. God bless you!
(Carol Meyer, “How I came to make Earth my life’s work”, National Catholic Reporter, Mar. 22, 2011)
With great lamentation we note that Carol Meyer “changed the truth of God into a lie; and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever” (Rom 1:25).
Now that she is deceased, we know that God has already judged her; for “it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment” (Heb 9:27).
To be clear: We do not presume to know the state of her soul at the moment of death. We can only pray that she repented before her death, re-embraced the Catholic Faith, and died with perfect contrition for all her sins, hopefully assisted by the absolution of a valid priest, before meeting her Judge. For if she did not die in the state of sanctifying grace, it is infallibly certain that she is now, quite definitively and irrevocably, in that most frightful place whose existence she so haughtily denied, and from which there is no hope of escape but only eternal “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt 24:51).
Oh, if only more souls would allow the reality of hell to deter them from dying in mortal sin!
Image source: shutterstock.com (Pavel Chagochkin)