The latter interpretation of a future hell is not the
kind of thing folk expect to hear from a Vicar. Even the vilest would
long for assurance that they are OK. Consequently, I’ve been around long
enough to find questionable characters trying to ‘soak up to me’ once
they knew I was a cleric. They’ll make out they don’t believe in God,
but deep down they know differently; and if I were a crook I could make
a fortune from such undesirable charmers by telling them they were good
people and that all their past crimes could be wiped clear from the
blackboard in return for a generous donation or two.
I tell you this: in their more serious moments - left
alone with a conscience that refuses to be stifled - folk frequently
dread the thought of an increasingly approaching hereafter. They prefer
to think that death implies being sniffed out forever (as taught by the
Jehovah Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists), but they are wrong.
There may very well be an ultimate Heaven
millenniums away prepared for even ‘the lowest of the low’, but what
follows the ‘here and now’ for such undesirable scoffers and sadists is
surely a form of existence comparable in so many ways - and most justly!
to what they chose to perpetrate, without mercy or compassion, towards
innocent life here and now. Yes, “Vengeance is mine. I will repay,
says the Lord!”
A pity, indeed, that Medieval references to Purgatory
– and up to date ones too! – appear to make no reference to
purgatorial suffering being in terms of ‘reincarnation’ in to lower
forms of transient yet appalling existence. Yes, those types of
existence that most humans will ‘without a thought’ condone for an
animal; and that the vilest of our own breed so often creates.
Mind you, clergy of the establishment who love to eat
‘fattened calves’ are not going to preach such a message. They need the
factory farmers to keep their village churches and chapels solvent, so
it’s more appropriate to ‘preach to the gallery!’ Along with their
bishops, it is expedient for them to evade such controversial views.
“Better to leave such potentially divisive issues in the hands of mild
eccentrics like him in Holywell; the one they term the animals padre!
Yes, a well-meaning priest, but sadly ‘ over the top’. They say that he
even prays over beasts!” Ah yes, I am fully aware how many
colleagues interpret my ministry, But I can take it!.