Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

Search:

Or browse the dictionary by selecting a letter!
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

ETERNAL PUNISHMENT

The unending penalty suffered in hell by the evil spirits and the human beings who die in mortal sin. The Church bases her teaching about the existence of eternal punishment on the words of Christ in foretelling the final judgment (Matthew 25:34, 41). He compares the sentence of the just with the condemnation of the wicked. Christ as judge will first say, "Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world." But to the unjust, "Go away from me, with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." Then he repeats the two judgments with a conclusion, speaking first of the lost and then of the saved, "And they will go into eternal [aionios] punishment, and the virtuous to eternal [aionios] life" (Matthew 25:46). Since there is no question about the endless duration of heaven, the Church concludes the same about hell. The eternity of hell was defined by the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Our Spiritual Destiny and the Horror of War 8 hours ago
The Islamic roots of terrorism must be addressed 15 hours ago
Each of us is destined to marry Jesus Christ September 18
From simple husband to ascetical priest September 18
St. Augustine's warning to pastors September 18

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Cardinals criticize Kasper proposal, escalating debate on remarriage/Communion CWN - September 18