Originally posted by Conrau K Catholic doctrine never said that.
Whether or not it was official doctrine, in the pre-Vatican II era it's what children were taught. A friend of mine in her seventies said that she was so afraid for a Protestant friend of hers as a child that she wanted to secretly baptize her Catholic so that the friend wouldn't burn in hell. That's back when they were also taught that it was a sin to enter a church that wasn't Catholic!
From the Catholic Catechism (http://www.kofc.org/publications/cis/catechism/search.cfm):
1034 Jesus often speaks of "Gehenna" of "the unquenchable fire" reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost. 614 Jesus solemnly proclaims that he "will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire," 615 and that he will pronounce the condemnation: "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!"
1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, "eternal fire." 617 The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.