I can well imagine Our Lord saying to his disciples: I command you to assemble in the synagogue every week for joint prayer and meditation, If a man misses a meeting his friendship with me will be diminished in corresponding degree.
"If he abandons the practice altogether he is likely in the end, inevitably, to become finally separated from me and from my Father for ever. Unless he repents and returns."
I cannot imagine him saying: "I command you to attend the weekly assembly in the synagogue. If you miss a meeting I shall send you to Hell for all eternity. Even if you repent, you will endure severe punishment for this offence."
Once I thought the Church said the latter in the name of Christ, and had attached a spiritual death penalty, so to speak, to a single breach of her commandment. I know at least one person whose loss of faith arose out of this misunderstanding.
Now I believe that the first is a true rendering of what the Church says. Am F right?
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