Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Venerable Bernard Colnago Of The Society Of Jesus

A soul in Purgatory
Our celebrated historian, Joseph von Gorres, whilom Professor at the University of Munich, discusses these matters at inordinate, but not unusual, length in his classic work. Speaking of a devil who had no back, he says : " It is a curious circumstance that evil spirits should possess only a front side and lack the back side. That would appear to result from the peculiar optics of a certain grade of the lower vision, inasmuch as things project themselves only picturewise." In another place he discusses the influence of constellations upon men, and denies that the demoniacal influences of the constellations are direct, " because no star left the hand of its Creator with a demoniacal stamp. ... As every cosmic illness becomes more acute with the growing moon, so every demoniacal illness." Such doctrines are as common among our intellectual leaders as blackberries in season, but as they are not scientific, it is misleading to allow them to be taught as such. Professor Bantz, in Miinster, a State Catholic University with Faculties, lectured two years ago on " The Last Judgment, Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven." He is an authority on the subject, having published dissertations on these four last things, and his professional position consecrates his claims to be treated as a scientific light. He says, " 
With respect to the real duration of Purgatory, it lasts, according to Marina de Escobar, twenty, forty, fifty years, or longer. Catherine Emmerich speaks of souls who had to spend hundreds of years in Purgatory. . . . The venerable Bernard Colnago, of the Society of Jesus, saw, in Rome, a soul that had already endured its punishment for forty-three years on one of the streets, . . . 
Francisca of the Holy Sacrament saw a continuous going and coming of poor souls. They appeared to her now fiery, now coal-black and emitting sparks. ... In face of such a total of facts, it matters little whether one or two of them should be found to be open to criticism" 
Link (here) to The Contemporary Review


TonyD said...

This article discusses ultramontanism in the context of University management.

I don't think that it makes clear that papal authority, like the divine right of kings, is pragmatic as well as God given.

When a system is set up for a community, there are those who are responsible for executing that system. This applies to governments, religions, and groups in general. It is hoped that the leader will reflect the desire of God to allow free will and reflect the will of the people in spite of his own will and interpretations.

The divine right of kings is required to offset the efforts of those who would undermine free will. This is a pragmatic consideration. Powerful people try to influence leaders, and a similar power must be entrusted to the leader.

So the divine right of kings is given by God in order to serve the free will of the people. (That free will is in turn pragmatic. It enables lessons, which are so important that even this extreme system becomes reasonable.)

Maria said...

Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska goes on for several pages about Hell:

“Today I was led by an Angel to the chasms of hell. It is a place of great torture; how awesomely large and expansive it is! The kinds of tortures I saw: the first torture that constitutes hell is the loss of God; the second is perpetual remorse of conscience; the third is that one's condition will never change; (160) the fourth is the fire that will penetrate the soul without destroying it--a terrible suffering, since it is a purely spiritual fire, lit by God's anger; the fifth torture is continual darkness a terrible suffering smell, and despite the darkness, the devils and the souls of the damned see each other and all evil, both of others and their own; the sixth torture is the constant company of Satan; the seventh torture is horrible despair, hatred of God, vile words, curses and blasphemies. These are the tortures suffered by all the dammed together, but that is not the end of the sufferings. There are special tortures destined for particular souls. These are the torments of the senses. Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings, related to the manner in which it sinned. There are caverns and pits of torture where one form of agony differs from another. I WOULD HAVE DIED AT THE VERY SIGHT OF THESE TORTURES IF THE OMNIPOTENCE OF GOD HAD NOT SUPPORTED ME. LET THE SINNER KNOW THAT HE WILL BE TORTURED THROUGHOUT ALL ETERNITY, IN THOSE SENSE WHICH HE MADE USE OF TO SIN. (161) I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has been there, and so no one can say what it is like.

I, Sister Faustina, by the order of God, have visited the abysses of hell, so that I might tell souls about it and testify to its existence. I cannot speak about it now; but I have received a command from God to leave it in writing. The devils were full of hatred for me, but they had to obey me at the command of God. WHAT I HAVE WRITTEN IS BUT A PALE SHADOW OF THE THINGS I SAW. ***BUT I NOTICED ONE THING: THAT MOST OF THE SOULS THERE ARE THOSE WHO DISBELIEVED THAT THERE IS A HELL. *** WHEN I CAME TO I COULD HARDLY RECOVER FROM THE FRIGHT. How terribly souls suffer there! Consequently, I pray even more fervently for the conversion of sinners. I incessantly plead God's mercy upon them. Oh my Jesus, I would rather be in agony until the end of the world, amidst the greatest sufferings, than offend You by the least sin."

pp. 296-297 from Saint Faustina's Diary

Maria said...


St. Faustina

TonyD said...

Unfortunately, punishment achieves only so much. It is a tool among other tools. So it is used, and used in ways that we can't really adequately imagine. (Consider, for example, that we are constrained by our perceptions of this existence. We think that we have a material body, which limits the places where pain exists, and the forms of pain. And we think that we have a location, which limits the scope of what tortures we experience. And we think that we exist in a time sequence, which limits the despair. And we associate our emotions with particular limits in intensity. All these things can be taken from us quite easily. The veil is thin, and once it is removed we discover that seemingly insignificant things are very significant to God and worthy of punishment beyond description. But I've said enough on that topic. It's not my job to scare people into actions that don't reflect their true values.)

Instead, it's worth noticing God's approach. He has let us know about Hell, but hasn't really emphasized it, except on some occasions. (If everyone were exposed to Hell like St. Faustina, they would change their actions immediately. But that is not the real goal.) So the goal is not simply modifying actions - that is easy. Genuine intrinsic change is hard.

Becoming someone who instrinsically wants to love their neighbors, respect their values, and try to let them live their values, even ungodly values, is difficult. And becoming someone who makes appropriate trade-offs when exercising judgment is similarly difficult. These are some of the real goals, and an exposure to Hell does not move us significantly closer to such change.

But having said all that, let me assure you that Hell is quite real, and inadequately described by St. Faustina. I've met many religious people who believe themselves to be following the Bible and their religion -- but that is not enough. I don't know how to emphasize that enough.

Maria said...

"an exposure to Hell does not move us significantly closer to such change."

Tony: I had a heart attack five years ago, 90% blockage in my left
descending artery. I could not breathe and was certain I was going to die. I was in such pain as I did not know was humanly possible. In the midst of all this pain the only thing on my mind was the FEAR OF GOING TO HELL and concern that I had not been to Confession. This was strange as I had not been to confession in years. I suspect my experience is not unique. At the hour of near death, it is all about Heaven and Hell. Anyway, after losing a job I started going to daily Mass and then adoration. I began saying the rosary, I mean really saying it—learning about the mysteries and meditating upon them.

One day after my heart attack I discovered St. Ignatius in a bookstore (read his bio) and the Exercises. I made a general confession on the Feast of Christ the King several years ago and my life has never been the same. God rescued me, gave me a way out of a life steeped in sin. He gave me a new heart. I haven’t been exposed to Hell but the threat of it surely led me back to Him.

Father Hardon SJ a talk on Hell. He arranged it into seven lessons. Here is Lesson 2:

“For us who by now have been so often the objects of that divine mercy we should be grateful. Now this may sound strange, we usually think of being grateful for things we have received, well, that is a legitimate and more common object of gratitude. But do you know that we can also be grateful for, well, the harm or the injury or the evil that we’ve been spared. Right? If someone saves our life we should be grateful and we are. God has spared us the life of our souls. We are still alive in body. We can still depend on God's mercy and if any of you are like me we should now be in hell. Gratitude. Profound gratitude.”

Maria said...

Lesson 4

A fourth lesson and how powerful this should be in the apostolates to inspire us with an ardent zeal to save others from going to hell. And if this sounds fundamentalist so be it. If it sounds pietistic so be it. If it sounds unenlightened so be it. All I know is the greatest missionary, after St. Paul, declared by the Church as the patron of missions, Francis Xavier, was mainly motivated to spend his life and exhaust himself in working among the pagans to bring Christ and Christ's saving mercy to them was as he more than once wrote to Ignatius, I want to save these souls from hell. Call me whatever names you wish that's one of my motives for trying to keep people in God's grace.

Lesson 7

And finally, in as much as we have sinned we are all Magdalen's in our own way because we have sinned much and God has forgiven much therefore we should love much and don't tell me this is a low motive for becoming holy because it is born of gratitude toward God's goodness to me. Indeed in His Providence this is why God allows us to sin ,and perhaps have deserved hell, that having come to our supernatural senses we might from the time we wake up give ourselves entirely to God where no cost is too heavy or any task too hard since we want to give God everything, in as much as given us. Everything we now have and hope for having still His grace to cooperate with, until when we are judged, we shall be admitted to the life that awaits us after what we call bodily death. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."

Read Fr. Hardon's essay on Death, Judgement and Hell @:

Today is Father Hardon's birthday. It is also the day he was ordained. Thanks Fr. Hardon. We miss you.

I Stretched Our My Hands:

TonyD said...


I'm aware of a situation where God punished directly.

A person stopped to help a homeless person. He took her to a shelter, helped her sign up for social services, fed her, and let her know that he was a person of faith.

Well, this person was punished directly for conversations he had with this woman where he did not sufficiently consider her perspectives or her self image. The punishment was severe, since God had revealed himself to this particular person, so techniques were used that are outside our comprehension. Their conversations, if you had overheard them, would seem innocuous.

My point in sharing this story is that there is much more to being in the good grace of God than most people understand.

Wanting and trying to be "good" only gets you so far. Belief in God and Jesus, similarly, only gets you so far. Praying all day every day while simultaneously committing your life to service only gets you so far. God's standards are high.

A priest's or typical Saint's level of commitment is only a starting point on this path. We are considered children who are worthy only of milk for a reason.

Anonymous said...

Maria continues to fill this blog with Fr. Hardon tributes but she does not acknowledge the great harm he did by advising that a sexual predator priest not be turned over to the authorities.