There are two stock objections to hell: (i) hell is a torture chamber, and (ii) hell is unending. I’ve often dealt with (i). Now let’s touch on (ii).
There is no escape from hell. Is that a bad thing, or a good thing?
There are men and women in this life who always escape justice. They get away with things. Cheat. Pull strings. Game the system. Pass some money under the table. Stay one step ahead of the authorities. No matter what they do they manage to slip off the hook.
One could cite many examples. Consider the Nazi officials who, after the war, eluded capture and fled to South America–where they spent the remainder of their lives sunning themselves on a tropical beach.
Or consider the serial child-rapist who gets lucky when he appears before a liberal, bleeding-heart judge. Despite his rap sheet, despite the incontestable evidence of guilt for the current crime–not to mention the long list of priors–he gets a slap on the wrist. Or maybe he’s sprung on a legal technicality.
Even if there are some murmurs of outrage directed at the judge, it comes to naught. The Governor refuses to speak out. The Attorney General refuses to speak out. The liberal editorial page of the newspaper rallies to the judge’s defense in the name of judicial independence. The judge’s friends rush to microphones to tell everyone what a wonderful person he is. A callous, passive, indifferent electorate refuses to recall the judge.
Or consider Bill and Hillary Clinton. Despite a string of crimes and outrages, they have become wealthy and powerful. In the case of Bill Clinton, he even has a mass following-like a rock star.
Or take the Catholic sex scandal. For decades, predatory priests were abusing underage boys with impunity. Most of them are never prosecuted–in some cases because the statute of limitations ran out. The law is changed, but after the fact. After the damage is done. After it’s too late to prosecute some offenders.
A few offenders may be prosecuted, but by the time the law finally catches up with them they’re already in their 70s or 80s.
Cardinal Law is transferred to Rome, which coincidentally places himself outside the jurisdiction of the American authorities. Keep in mind that the Vatican likes to lecture governments around the world on social justice.
Of course, Law himself is something of a scapegoat. Not that he isn’t guilty. But all the attention directed at this one culprit deflects attention away from other prelates who are equally culpable. He gives them cover.
Some survivors or victims resort to vigilantism. When that happens, the world, which was silent in the face of injustices done to the victim, suddenly finds its voice. But its outrage is reserved for the vigilante, and not the provocateurs.
One of the paradoxes of life in a fallen world is that, while the righteous man must often suffer alone–abandoned by his “friends”–the wicked can often count on a circle of friends, admirers, and sympathizers who hasten to their defense, enable their crimes, and facilitate their escape. The world loves its own.
Then they die and go to hell. That’s where their lucky streak runs out.
In hell there is no statute of limitations. No one evades the authorities. No one is acquitted on legal technicalities. No one cops a plea.
In hell there is no parole. No weekend furloughs. No conjugal visits.
The judge can’t be bribed. The jury can’t nullify the law. The prison guards can’t be bought.
In hell, there is no out. Is that unjust? Of is that justice overdue?