FROM JOHN THAVIS IN ROME
GOD'S MERCY and love are great, but those who reject him should know that hell "exists and is eternal," Pope Benedict XVI has said.
The Pope made the comments during a visit on Sunday to a Rome parish that serves a predominantly immigrant population, including the city's Filipino community. In a sermon, the Pope focused on what has become a running theme of his pontificate: the importance of divine love.
'Only God's love can change from within the existence of the person and, consequently, the existence of every society, because only his infinite love liberates from sin, the root of every evil," the Pope said. That same love is reflected in the sacrifice of Christ, who came with the concrete goal of saving souls, he said. "Christ came to tell us that he desires all of us in heaven and that hell. which isn't spoken about much in our time, exists and is eternal for those who close their hearts to his love,the Pope said.
The important thing is to understand that The true enemy is attachment to sin, which can lead us to the failure of our own existence," he said.
The Pope emphasised that God also offers mercy and forgiveness for sinners. While it's true that God represents justice, he is first of all love, he said.
"If he hates sin. it's because he loves each person infinitely;' he said.