A Treacherous Church?
Often, I hear people who take it upon themselves to "remind" me of Church history. In many cases, I'm told of the heinous judgments against the faithful that the Church makes. More specifically, I'm told that the Catholic Church is nothing more than a fear-mongering bully that scares the faithful into believing and attending Mass (and tithing). That it always focuses on "hell and brimstone" and condemns too many people to hell.
I thought it to be an interesting challenge to see what the Church really says about "scary" things like hell and condemnation. So, I did a simple word search through the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I did my best to get accurate results. Keep in mind that these are just estimates, but here's what I discovered:
The Catechism refers to:
Damn, Damnation, Damned - 8 Times
Condemn, condemnation - 28 Times
Salvation - 296 Times
Fear - 45 Times
Hope - 163 Times
Hate - 4 Times
Love - 623 Times
Darkness - 19 Times
Light - 134 Times
Bad, Evil - 227 Times
Life - 1168 Times
Hell - 30 Times (half of which refer to Christ's descent into Hell to reclaim the dead)
Heaven - 311 Times
Satan, the Evil One, Devil - 36 Times
God - 2657 Times
Jesus, Christ - 2008 Times
It would appear that, of the words I searched, there were:
397 (ish) references that could be considered "Negative" or "bad."
7360 (ish) references that could be considered "Positive" or "good."
So, next time somebody tells you that the Church only focuses on "negative" things like hell, remind them that Hell is important to remember, and that we must keep in mind the somber realities of evil and darkness; but also that the Church is certainly not enthralled with evil. Rather, the Church is ever-hopeful that her faithful members may achieve an eternity with our Creator, and take part in the beatific vision.
Until next time, Fides et Ratio!