Kathleen asks: I heard a minister say that Hell is now empty. Those that die without Christ go to Hades, a temporary place of torment until the second coming of Christ. Then they will be judged and put into Hell for all eternity. Do you agree or disagree with this?
Father Pete: to my understanding, Hades is actually from Greek religion. He was the king of the underworld. The name Hades became inter-changeable with the Hebrew notion of Sheol, the shady abode of the dead who awaited the coming of Christ when he lifted them up to Heaven when He “descended to the dead” as it says in the Creed. Since Christ’s death, the just or holy ones are judged and sent to Purgatory or Heaven. The mortally sinful go to hell. There is no longer simply a hades, or a sheol or a place of the dead. Rather, there is the particular judgement of the soul after death. Christ’s second coming will commence the general judgement when our bodies will be risen and rejoined with our souls and sent eternally to Heaven or to Hell.
Keep the questions coming!
Love, Fr. Pete