Dear Father,

I've been Catholic all my 27 years, but have had very little biblical teaching on my faith. I read the Bible on my own and go to Mass on Sundays. Mass most of the time is on subjects that are fairly simple to grasp. But I am beginning to question my faith. Interpretation of the Bible is so diverse ..I don't know if I agree on some Catholic teachings anymore.

First let me ask what the Catholic teaching on heaven and hell is?
Where is Heaven and Hell now?
What happens to us when we die?
What will happen after the second coming of Christ?
What is God's ultimate plan for humanity and the world?

I have been talking to a Jehovah Witness- they showed me scriptures that talk about a "heaven on earth" or paradise. Similar to the original paradise before eve enticed adam to eat the forbidden fruit. Does God intend for man to live like adam and eve once did? The Bible also says only a selected few will enter the kingom of God or Heaven. So where will the rest of the souls live eternally? What about the scripture "the meek will inherit the earth" ....What is this referring to ?

I have already been warned against the Jehovah Whitnesses, but they have opened up alot of questions that I needed answered. I would appreciate your response on this subject and any advice you can give me.

Thank you,



Dear Bobbi,

First of all, I thank you for the sincerity of your questions and your genuine search for the truth. I have known many Catholics whose contacts with Jehovah's Witnesses (or other religious groups) have spurred them to a deeper study of the Bible and the Catholic teachings. For example a contextual reading of Revelation chapter 7 shows that after describing the 144,000, John saw a "great multitude" which stood before the throne.

There are excellent books, tapes and videos available to explain in depth the Church's teaching and its biblical basis. A good starting point is Ignatius Press.

Also there are some wonderful on-line resources to answer the vital questions which you pose:

Resurrection of Body

Cloud of Witness: A Biblical Primer on the Communion of Saints
(Part of Biblical Evidence for Catholicism--David Armstrong's Home Page.)

End of the World
(Part of the New Advent Catholic Supersite.)

Catholic Answers on the Distinctive Beliefs of the Jehovah's Witnesses

Eschatology The Last Things: Death, Judgement, Heaven, Hell

Good luck in your studies, Bobbi. Please pray to the Holy Spirit and read what the Catechism says about the "analogy of faith" before you begin. You have my prayers. God bless,

Fr. Phil Bloom

P.S. About where we will spend eternity: I remember one of my seminary professors, Fr. John McManus,S.S., used to say, "We will not spend eternity in heaven, but on earth!" The Bible of course does describe a "New heaven and a new earth."