Author Topic: Instilling the fear of Hell in Children  (Read 1685 times)

Offline St. Columba

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Instilling the fear of Hell in Children
« on: February 01, 2019, 06:56:37 PM »
Instilling the fear of Hell in Children: child abuse or solemn duty?

A priest friend of mine opts for the latter (incidently, using Fatima as justification).  I have also heard first hand, on youtube, a certain SSPX resistance priest saying pretty much the same thing: the fear of Hell should be inculcated in young minds. 

For those of you who have kids....would you let your children enroll in first communion classes with a priest who thinks this way?

I have very strong feelings on this point, but let us perhaps test the collective wisdom of Suscipe Domine Inc.

Thanks everyone!  Peace!
People don't have ideas...ideas have people.  - Jordan Peterson quoting Carl Jung
 

Offline Josephine87

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Re: Instilling the fear of Hell in Children
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2019, 07:16:45 PM »
What age?  I have taught my 3 year old that she hurts Jesus when she disobeys (and I have explained that I hurt him too when I disobey).  We say sorry to him together.  I tell her I go to confession to say sorry to him and that she will too when she is old enough.  I haven't mentioned Satan or demons yet, and I don't think she's old enough for that or the teaching of Hell.  So I guess my question is, by what age do you mean "children"?
"Begin again." -St. Teresa of Avila

“My present trial seems to me a somewhat painful one, and I have the humiliation of knowing how badly I bore it at first. I now want to accept and to carry this little cross joyfully, to carry it silently, with a smile in my heart and on my lips, in union with the Cross of Christ. My God, blessed be Thou; accept from me each day the embarrassment, inconvenience, and pain this misery causes me. May it become a prayer and an act of reparation." -Elisabeth Leseur
 
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Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: Instilling the fear of Hell in Children
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2019, 07:37:45 PM »
One of my nieces was around 5 or 6 and her mother told her she was being bad, and God would punish her; well she was pretty sure that she hadn't done anything to merit Hell so she was pretty smug, until her Mother told her that she would be sent to Purgatory; she said: "Purgatory?! What is Purgatory?" Her Mother explained it to her and she became quite hysterical: "Why hadn't anyone told her about PURGATORY!!!!!"   :laugh:

Now getting back to the question: I guess the kids should be told around the time they reach the age of reason and are capable of sinning, since children seem to reason more along the lines of "not being bad, so I won't be punished" more than "I shouldn't be bad, because it hurts Jesus, who is so good and loves me so much". But the latter should be emphasized rather than the former, as it leads to a much better sense of the spiritual life.
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers
 
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Offline St.Justin

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Re: Instilling the fear of Hell in Children
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2019, 08:05:36 PM »
Instilling the fear of Hell in Children: child abuse or solemn duty?

A priest friend of mine opts for the latter (incidently, using Fatima as justification).  I have also heard first hand, on youtube, a certain SSPX resistance priest saying pretty much the same thing: the fear of Hell should be inculcated in young minds. 

For those of you who have kids....would you let your children enroll in first communion classes with a priest who thinks this way?

I have very strong feelings on this point, but let us perhaps test the collective wisdom of Suscipe Domine Inc.

Thanks everyone!  Peace!
I go with the SSPX Priest
 
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Offline Traditionallyruralmom

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Re: Instilling the fear of Hell in Children
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2019, 08:23:11 PM »
I use the Catechism that is put out by the SSPX Browerville sisters.  You teach a child about hell right away.  Even in Chats for Gods Little ones, which I use with the little littles, talks about hell.  Only in our new and improved Catholic world do they even question this  ::)
Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat.
 
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Offline Maximilian

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Re: Instilling the fear of Hell in Children
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2019, 12:37:55 PM »

Instilling the fear of Hell in Children: child abuse or solemn duty?

Solemn duty.


A priest friend of mine opts for the latter (incidently, using Fatima as justification).  I have also heard first hand, on youtube, a certain SSPX resistance priest saying pretty much the same thing: the fear of Hell should be inculcated in young minds. 

For those of you who have kids....would you let your children enroll in first communion classes with a priest who thinks this way?

Yes, certainly.

Fear is one of the 7 gifts of the Holy Ghost.
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."

Even very small children need "the beginning of wisdom." Even if it is small, it needs to start growing. If there is no seedling, then ultimately there will be no oak tree.
 
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Offline Maximilian

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Re: Instilling the fear of Hell in Children
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2019, 12:48:40 PM »

 I guess the kids should be told around the time they reach the age of reason and are capable of sinning,

Much too late -- as even your own niece recognized. She was affronted that they waited until she was 5 or 6 to bring up important topics that could affect her eternal destiny.

You're making a category error by conflating a technical theological term like "age of reason" with a reality that exists in front of your own eyes like "capable of sinning." The "age of reason" and "capable of sinning" are two different things. Children deliberately disobey from a very young age.


since children seem to reason more along the lines of "not being bad, so I won't be punished" more than "I shouldn't be bad, because it hurts Jesus, who is so good and loves me so much". But the latter should be emphasized rather than the former, as it leads to a much better sense of the spiritual life.

Spoken like a typical bachelor uncle.

I don't think you'll find much support from Jesus himself. He constantly spoke about hell. Everything we know about hell comes straight from His mouth. Jesus emphasized the fear of hell incessantly.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2019, 12:56:28 PM by Maximilian »
 
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Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: Instilling the fear of Hell in Children
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2019, 02:50:29 PM »
re. "Spoken like a typical batchelor Uncle"; har! Thank goodness! I really am happy I didn't have any children and have to raise them up in these terrible times, and have to give an account to God about how I raised them. My congratulations to those brave souls that have undertaken this great responsibility.
I am going to consult some parents that are raising saintly children and see what they think.
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers
 
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Offline TradGranny

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Re: Instilling the fear of Hell in Children
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2019, 02:50:54 PM »
This is really a matter of emphasis.
Of course the knowledge of hell should not be withheld.
But on the other hand, the emphasis must be on loving God and not wanting to offend Him.
As we say in the Act of Contrition,
"not only because I fear the loss of heaven and the pain of hell, but MOST OF ALL, because they (sins) offend Thee oh my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love."
To have courage for whatever comes in life - everything lies in that.
Saint Teresa of Avila
 
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Offline St.Justin

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Re: Instilling the fear of Hell in Children
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2019, 06:58:16 PM »
"You're making a category error by conflating a technical theological term like "age of reason" with a reality that exists in front of your own eyes like "capable of sinning." The "age of reason" and "capable of sinning" are two different things. Children deliberately disobey from a very young age."

One cannot sin without the use of reason

 
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Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: Instilling the fear of Hell in Children
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2019, 07:47:09 PM »
I spoke with my Canonized sister with the saintly children; basically what Max said; you begin to speak of the truths of the Catholic faith when the children are very young, even two years old; of course the very first lesson in the Catechism is about the fall of the angels; and what happened to the good angels; then what happened with the wicked ones, so Hell is part of the picture. But she also added, that its also about the love of Jesus,  coming as a baby and coming to redeem us by His death on the Cross.
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers
 
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Offline Maximilian

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Re: Instilling the fear of Hell in Children
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2019, 08:21:55 PM »

One cannot sin without the use of reason

Those who don't have children of their own, you would think they would at least have memories of their own childhood.
 

Offline Maximilian

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Re: Instilling the fear of Hell in Children
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2019, 08:22:34 PM »

I spoke with my Canonized sister with the saintly children;

Always nice to have some of these in the family.
 
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Offline Arvinger

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Re: Instilling the fear of Hell in Children
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2019, 04:49:21 PM »
Spoken like a typical bachelor uncle.

I don't think you'll find much support from Jesus himself. He constantly spoke about hell. Everything we know about hell comes straight from His mouth. Jesus emphasized the fear of hell incessantly.

Correct. The reality is that most of Catholic will probably never reach the state of spiritual life in which they are sorry for their sins because they hurt God rather than due to fear of hell. Fear of punishment will probably remain the main driving force behind contrition for majority of Catholics, so it makes sense to strongly instill that in children - although not being a parent I would not dare to make a guess as to how and when to do that.
 
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Offline Quaremerepulisti

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Re: Instilling the fear of Hell in Children
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2019, 05:28:32 PM »
Correct. The reality is that most of Catholic will probably never reach the state of spiritual life in which they are sorry for their sins because they hurt God rather than due to fear of hell.

You're probably right unfortunately, but that's in large part because you find it "man-centered" to talk about how sin hurts man and instead talk about how it contradictorily "hurts" a God from Whom nothing can be taken away, and can't fathom there may be more depth to the Catholic Faith than what is printed in the Baltimore Catechism.

God doesn't forbid sin because He is some dictator Who must have His way or else.  He forbids sin because of how harmful it is for us.

Quote
Fear of punishment will probably remain the main driving force behind contrition for majority of Catholics, so it makes sense to strongly instill that in children - although not being a parent I would not dare to make a guess as to how and when to do that.

Yes, but eventually fear of punishment will lead into hatred of the one threatening to punish, and at any rate will certainly not lead to love.  Which is why the spiritual writers stress that one must get beyond servile fear, otherwise one's spiritual life will be quite deformed.