What in the hell? How Vinson Cunningham imagines the afterlife

Detail of "Christ's Descent into Hell" by a follower of Hieronymus Bosch, second quarter 16th century. (Met Museum)

Vinson Cunningham doesn’t meet many people who believe in hell—but he still does. We sit down with Vinson, who is staff writer at the New Yorker, to discuss his recent essay “How the Idea of Hell Has Shaped the Way We Think.”


We talk about our first memories of hell, how it still impacts our lives and our culture, and why it might be easier to describe hell than heaven.

In Signs of the Times, we look at the laicization of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick and preview the Vatican’s summit on sexual abuse. Sister Norma Pimentel, a former guest on Jesuitical, runs into conflict with the city commissioners of McAllen, Tex. And could contactless payment be on the way for church donations? One cluster of parishes in Dublin, Ireland, is trialing it, and we are here for it.

We want to hear from you! One great place to do that—and chat with other Jesuitical listeners—is our Facebook group. We’re sharing news and consolations and desolations throughout the week.

Links from the show:

“How the Idea of Hell Has Shaped the Way We Think.”
Vatican sex abuse summit: what you need to know
Vatican emphasizes transparency and accountability at upcoming sex abuse summit
Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick laicized by Pope Francis
New York gives sex abuse victims more time to sue, press charges
Border city to close Catholic Charities center run by Sister Norma Pimentel
Catholic Church To Trial Contactless Payment For Donations
More of Vinson Cunningham’s writing

What’s on tap?

Wild Turkey Bourbon

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