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[The following passage is from the end of The Seven Ages, the autobiography of teacher, writer, cricket enthusiast and Conservative MP Christopher Hollis (19021977), an Anglican bishop’s son who converted to Catholicism as a young man. A great traveller and socializer in his prime, and a hearty eater and drinker, the only thing that interested him fifty years after his conversion was ‘What happens at death?’]

As I say, I believe without hesitation in Purgatory and am more doubtful about hell. The only reason why I am hesitant about complete repudiation is the fact that there are some strange and violent threats in the Gospels of which at any rate the apparent meaning is that we cannot be indifferent to the threats of what the Mass calls ‘final damnation.’ Whoever has the arranging of the Last Judgement it will not be me. So it is of little importance what I may think about it. My friend Smitt-Ingerbretsen was the Chairman of the Religious Committee of the Norwegian Government. It fell to him to give advice to the King what doctrine the King as head of the State Lutheran Church should pronounce about hell. His natural instinct was to be liberal, but then he reflected on the possibility that, if he denied all possibility of damnation, ‘my constituents, they will go to the Last Judgement, and they will say, “Mr Smitt-Ingerbretsen said it would be all right,” and Almighty God, He will say, “Who the hell is Mr Smitt-Ingerbretsen?” and I shall look a bloody fool!’

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