How can we help others not to go to Hell?

Too many Christians -even some Catholic priests- promote error because they relativize or directly deny the existence of demons and hell. We reproduce the interview that Presencia conducted with Ramiro Rochín, a Mexican priest with a degree in dogmatic theology and pastor of the Parish of Santa Cecilia (Diocese of Ciudad Juárez).

What is Hell?

It is the worst thing that can happen to a person, it is eternal damnation, it is the total failure of a human existence. It is what happens when a person dies in mortal sin. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in number 1033, puts it this way: "To die in mortal sin without being repentant or accepting the merciful love of God, means to remain separated from Him forever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and with the blessed is what is designated by the word: hell".


Is it possible to live an "anteroom" to Hell in life?

I believe that, being rigorous, this is only a way of speaking, because anyone who experiences a terrible situation in this world, such as despair, acute depression, lack of meaning in his life, intense pain, suicidal madness or similar things, as terrible as they may be, at the same time they must be very little compared to what hell itself must be. That is to say, in this life we are always surrounded by the love and presence of God, even if we are in grave sin; on the other hand, Hell is the "definitive self-exclusion" from this presence of our God. Just thinking about this, one feels a terrible fear, a trembling of the heart.

(...) In fact, even the worst imaginable case, such as a human being far from God, a hardened sinner, who lives with sadness, despair and bitterness the difficult moments of life, will sadly find that this was nothing compared to the real Hell.


There are theologians who affirm that Hell is empty. Is this correct? Is it that God will forgive us all at the end and no one will go to Hell?

Sadly, there have been theologians who have defended these positions. But this is a very serious mistake, because it would be to change what we Christians have always believed. It would be to change the very teachings of Jesus in the Gospel, since He speaks many times of that place of eternal punishment (He uses expressions such as "unquenchable fire", or where "the worm does not die"). It would also be a lack of respect from God to the same freedom that He has given to men: If someone decides to turn away from God forever, and this is implicit in everyone who dies in mortal sin, is God going to take that person to heaven in spite of that decision? 

Moreover, it would also be to deny God's perfection, for He is infinitely just: Is it that someone who dies in mortal sin, who has rejected God's infinite love, is not going to receive what his actions deserve? It would also be to deny so many experiences of the saints who have received a special revelation about the existence of hell (such as St. John Bosco, St. Faustina Kowalska, or the vision of hell that the little shepherds of Fatima had and that the Virgin Mary revealed to them). Anyway, in any case, Pope Benedict XVI has already settled this question, as many will remember, when a few years ago he said, referring to these theological positions: "Hell exists, and it is not empty".


How can we help ourselves and others not to go to Hell?

We must think of Hell from time to time, and have a healthy fear of it, for this is what Our Lord gives us to understand (cf. Lk 12:5), because sometimes, because of our own fallen nature, when we are not moved by love for God, the fear of Hell makes us behave well. And of course, I cannot fail to mention the message that the Virgin Mary leaves us in her apparitions at Fatima in 1917, where she shows the little shepherds that many souls are going to Hell, and she asks them to make many prayers and sacrifices to offer them for those who are in danger of being condemned for their sins.


What is your message to the community on this subject?

I notice that, in the madness of our times, many people think they are very smart or "sophisticated", or "people of the world" or things like that and, when they talk about things like Hell, they make a face of absurdity and shrug their shoulders, as if to say that these are superstitions already overcome, which of course, they, who are so intelligent, do not even consider them. I only say that I prefer to believe in Jesus Christ, in the saints, in the Catholic Church and in common sense; and that I prefer to believe that Hell does exist and to be very careful, with the help of God and the Virgin, not to fall into it. It would be sad to prove that Hell, after all, does exist, proving it first hand, don't you think? God bless you all!