The Broad Path of Destruction

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.

One of the things you learn as a Catholic is to not be presumptuous about anyone going to Hell. The Church will tell you about saints who are the ones they know made it to Heaven. As for Hell, they never say, and this includes Judas Iscariot who the Lord explicitly said it would have been better if he had never been born. Those are strong words and give very clear indication about his final destination. But it is not for anyone to judge except for the Lord. So, we should never say who will be in Hell. Judge not lest ye be judged.

As a corollary to this rule to not be presumptuous is a debate that goes around in Catholic circles and on internet forums. Will there be more people in Heaven or Hell? It is not for anyone to judge who will be in Hell specifically, but we can contemplate it in a general way. There are some people who are universalists who claim Hell will be empty, but this makes no sense in light of the Scriptures and does indignity to God's justice. But I can understand why people would want to hold out this hope, so I will not condemn the motivation behind it. I want everyone to go to Heaven.

There are those who believe Heaven will have a greater population than Hell. These are people who believe it would be scandalous that the Devil should have some kind of triumph in this regard. But there is no football game between the Lord and the Devil to see who has the most points. Maybe the Devil plays this game, but it offends the conscience to think that God is in such a competition. People have free will. They make their choices and live with the consequences.

Finally, there are those who believe Hell will have a greater population than Heaven. The Scriptures suggest this, and most of the saints in church history believe this including St. Thomas Aquinas. I believe it as well. This is not to suggest that Heaven will be virtually empty. There will be a multitude there. As Revelation 7:9 says, "After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands." So, Heaven will not be empty. But I believe Hell will have the greater number of souls.

The cash value of this belief is obvious. If you are a universalist, you are probably going to be lax in a lot of things. If you are a believer that more or most people go to Heaven, you will be anxious as you seek to evangelize at all costs and suffer dismay to see so many not care. But if you believe that the path to destruction is broad, it makes you not as anxious. You understand why there is so much evil in the world, but it does not surprise or dismay you. It also makes you more patient in enduring the sign of contradiction and persecution.

I see this quality in the Catholic Church. The Church just keeps going like the Energizer bunny. The Church perseveres. It doesn't get upset. It doesn't lose its cool. It never loses faith in its mission or destiny. I think this comes from this knowledge that things have always been this way and will always be this way until the end of time.

When you see things like abortion go without even a speed bump along the way, it can cause you to feel discouraged. When you see that even a majority of people claiming to be Catholics support abortion on demand, it can be dismaying. But you have to remember the saying about the broad path of destruction. That is a sobering outlook on things. It strengthens your faith while also making you repent and aim for the narrow path. Even many who claim to be Christian will not make it.

I tell everyone that you can't go wrong by doing what is right. This means that no matter what your hopes and doubts may be, you should strive to be a saint. Even an atheist like Camus would agree. Do the right thing and leave the rest to God. I don't see how being moral and upright has ever been a detriment to anyone. And if you are afraid of going to Hell, this is a good thing. I don't think the people going to Hell even care. If you care, then you are making the first step down the narrow path. Stay on that path.