Ask Father Josh (Your Catholic Question and Answer Podcast)

What Does Hell Look Like, Was Peter the First Pope, and a Follow Up to Spiritual Intimacy

June 4th, 2019

Today Fr. Josh dives into some theology today as he answers questions about whether hell looks like Dante’s Inferno, why Peter was the first pope, and what kinds of spiritual intimacy are prudent before marriage. Hear more on this topic in the episode Catholic Dating, How Far is Too Far Before Marriage, and Spiritual Intimacy.

If you have a question, comment, or response for Fr. Josh, email us at [email protected]. You may hear your question or comment in an upcoming podcast episode!

Snippet from the Show
“The degree of perfection experienced by those who are saved by the grace of God is proportioned to one’s merits, and the degree of punishment experienced by those who are damned to hell because of their choice is proportioned to each one of their sins.”


Glory Story (2:10)
It is ordination season and a lot of Fr. Josh’s friends are being ordained! Also, as of May 31st Fr. Josh has celebrated five years of being a priest!

Listener Feedback (6:00)

What Does Hell Look Like (10:34)
Hi! I'm Kate! and I have a question about Dante's Inferno. Here's the history in case you did not know. Dante wrote a book in the middle ages called The Divine Comedy. It told us about his journey into heaven and hell. I have always pictured hell as this place full of fire where mad people have nothing to drink and only eat dust and rocks and sit in a cell with laser bars while you sit there and moan because the devil guy keeps poking you with a fork. (learned this info in a dream I had when I was 5 or 6 after I lied to my mom about cookies and dinner.) But Dante says there are different sins, different levels, different punishments. So, my question is: 'DO WE BELIEVE THIS IS WHAT HELL LOOKS LIKE?'

Was Peter the First Pope (17:33)
Hi Fr. Josh! By the way, I think you’re an amazing, amazing priest. I had a question about St. Peter as the first pope of the Catholic Church. As an on-fire Catholic, I see evidence for why Jesus assigned Peter as the ‘rock’ of the Catholic Church, but how do I answer my sister’s dismissal of this statement when she says that this common Catholic fact “is just a Catholic’s interpretation of the Scripture, since Jesus doesn’t specifically use the word ‘pope’ to describe Peter in the Bible?” Furthermore, how do we know our Church was built on the 100% truths of Jesus Christ, and not just man’s interpretation of how Jesus wanted us to go about religion? Thank you for the help, and know that I’m still praying for you!

Follow Up to Spiritual Intimacy (28:11)
Dear Fr Josh, I am a priest from Malta (Europe) and I came across your podcast quite by chance, through a young couple that I accompany spiritually. First of all I just want to thank you and encourage you for how beautifully and joyfully you share the Word of God and the Church's teachings with your listeners. The couple I'm journeying with have obtained a lot of strength and encouragement through your words.

I have a question - if I may - about one of your podcasts from February (the Valentine's day episode) because this young couple was a little confused by something you said and they asked me for guidance about it; and I have to admit that after listening to the podcast myself a couple of times, I still couldn't figure out how I could help them. Basically it's where, towards the end of the segment about spiritual intimacy, (around the 19-minute mark in the podcast) you say that there is some spiritual sharing that couples should reserve for engagement and an even deeper spiritual sharing that they should reserve for marriage. Now since I always encourage the couples I journey with to make prayer (together) a firm part of their courtship, I was wondering how you would distinguish one kind of spiritual sharing from the other... For instance, would that include a couple sharing with each other about spiritual consolations they might have received? Would it perhaps include sharing about doubts and spiritual dryness? Might it be a spiritual sharing that includes questions/issues about their sexuality?

So basically my question would be, what, in your mind, is the kind of spiritual sharing (or intimacy; I'm using the two words interchangeably, btw) that would ideally be reserved for a more committed part of their courtship, engagement and marriage? I thank you for your kind attention; And by the way, I read that you are a pastor in Louisiana. In 2000 I spent my gap "pastoral" year (between my philosophy and theology years in Seminary) at Our Lady of Mercy parish in Baton Rouge. Best months of my life; Louisiana still feels like home to me :) May God bless you, protect you, and keep filling you and your ministry with His joy.
-Fr. Brendan

Universal Call to Holiness (33:33)

Let us pray:
God give me the grace to experience the gift of tongues so that I can share that which you want me to share in relationships with people. So that I can share that which you want me to share when it comes to the Scriptures and catechesis with people. So that I share that which you want me to share, and only what you want me to share, when it comes to speaking about matters of salvation. Lord, give me the gift of tongues and give those who will receive my gift of tongues the interpretation of tongues so they hear only that which you want them to hear, which is what is good for them in their walk toward eternity. Amen.

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