Saturday, February 03, 2007

Hell (and how one gets there)

A frequent commenter on Dom's blog gives all of us a lesson on how to get to Hell. The commenter, a priest, is talking about Father Drinan, who was buried today, God rest his soul.

Folks, it is not a lack of charity to say that someone who—OBJECTIVELY—led countless thousands of others "into temptation" during his life as a priest may very well now be suffering the flames of hell and eternal damnation.

I do not preclude the possibility of Fr. Drinan having repented (on or near his deathbed) and having received the supernatural grace of the Sacrament of the Sick. However, considering his continued public stance in favor of abortion—that is, the mal-formation of his conscience over years of habitually informing it apart from the authentic magisterial authority of the Church—it is extremely unlikely that he moved himself to true and perfect contrition toward the end of his life.

This is not to presume knowledge of the state of Drinan's soul; it is merely a logical conclusion based upon what we know about virtue and vice and the effect each has on the conscience and soul of a human being. Virtue begets virtue; vice begets vice. To presume even a CHANCE of Fr. Drinan's experiencing perfect contrition for the ENORMITY of his crimes strains credulity.

But even were he to (somehow) allow such grace to enter his soul and to move it to repentance, there is still the considerable problem of justice and reparation.

The fact that there is no death-bed statement renouncing his position on abortion, expressing sincere regret for having misled two generations of politicians and Catholics, and having personal culpability for Heaven knows how many deaths—this fact implies that there was effectively nothing done by Fr. Drinan to counteract the grave evils which he facilitated. Nor did he do anything to reprove and re-instruct any of those he misled. Only such a death-bed statement could begin to restore justice to that which is seemingly to be remembered as Drinan's life's work (see today's Boston Herald).

Frankly, for me and others NOT to speak of the enormity of his crimes and the eternal consequences thereof would put our own immortal souls in jeopardy; it would be effectively minimizing the extreme danger we put ourselves in by facilitating (or even not speaking against) any grave sin, but especially the sin of abortion.

Bottom line: it is not easy to undo the damage one does through sin; it requires active cooperation with God's grace and substantial work to restore justice. Belief that it likely happens an instant before death is foolhardy.

I pray for more priests like this one! God bless you Father. May you preach for many more years.