Hans Urs Von Balthasar's short book, Dare We Hope: That All Men May Be Saved (With A Short Discourse On Hell), is an excellent introduction into the question Universal Salvation. Balthasar argues that Hell is a 'real possibility', however, there is good reason to hope that in the end, all people may be saved. The book is helpful to understand how to approach the Bible and the Church's teaching on these topics considering his conclusion. In his chapter in on the New Testament, Balthasar made a provocative, yet helpful statement on how to approach the teachings on Hell and Universalism in the New Testament:
"It is generally known that, in the New Testament, two series of statements run along side by side in such a way that a synthesis of both is neither permissible nor achievable: the first series speaks of being lost for all eternity; the second, of God’s will, and ability, to save all men. Before approaching particular texts, it is necessary to consider the fact that particular words of Jesus can be attributed with a high degree of probability to the pre-Easter Jesus, because in them he uses a language and images that were familiar to the Jews of that time (which does not mean, of course, that these texts, which have been preserved by the synoptic evangelists, are of lesser significance to us), whereas certain reflections by Paul and John clearly look back upon all that happened to Jesus—to his life, death on the Cross and Resurrection—and, in so doing, consider and formulate this totality from a post-Easter perspective.", - Hans Urs Von Balthasar, Dare We Hope, pg30
Balthasar provided and excellent visualization of these two parrallel statements in his comparison of Michelangelo's and Fra Angelico's depiction of the Last Judgment in art:
"Blondel rejects Dante's inscription on the door to hell: "To claim that this dungeon with its punishments is 'the work of primal and highest love' is to attribute to God a responsibility that the only the unrepentant have to bear"; he rejects in disgust the condemning gesture of Michelangelo's Christ and refers us instead to Fra Angelico, who depicts Christ, at judgment, as only displaying his wounds: "And at the sight of this, the unrepentant sinners turn away, beating their breasts to indicate that they hold themselves to blame." - Hans Urs Von Balthasar, Dare We Hope, pg115.
Balthasar also demonstrates some of the philosophical problems with the existence of Hell.
"This idea met with approval and frequent emulation. Such was the case, above all, with Saint Ambrose: “What is the outer darkness? Does a prison exist there, minelike excavations in which the offender is locked away? No; but rather, those who persist in remaining outside of God’s promise and order are in the outer darkness. Consequently, there is no actual gnashing of teeth or a fire that is eternally fed by physical flames; there is no bodily worm.” Then follows the comparison with the indigestible foods that cause fever in the body and the application of this to the sins of the soul, “which, so to speak, allows its constantly new sins to ferment along with the old, burned by its own fire and consumed by its own worm”. Jerome always speaks only of a spiritual fire, since the spiritual soul cannot be touched at all by a material fire. From all this it is clear, for one thing, that we cannot say that God has “created hell”; no one but man can be blamed for its existence. But then, too, that the idea of a self-condemnation of man—which, for G. Hermes, is nonsensical (“Who, then, will condemn himself, precisely if he is evil?”)—is most convincing where the hardened unlovingness of man runs up against the word of God’s absolute love. Why “will all tribes of the earth wail at the sight of him whom they have pierced” (Rev 1:7)?" - Hans Urs Von Balthasar, Dare We Hope, pg51-52
The book ends with a Short Discourse on Hell, which is a part two to the book, where questions and condenmantions! are addressed. One of which is on the question of "Joy over Damnation" and whether heaven and hell will look upon each other over a chasm like the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus:
"That the Parable of the Rich Glutton and the Poor Lazarus is not meant as anything more than an earnest warning to the living to have mercy on the beggar at their door is clear. Even if it is described in such drastic terms how the one tormented in the flames of Hades pleads for a drop of water from the fingertips of Lazarus, who is in the “bosom of Abraham”, the allegory should not evoke questions about the mental state experienced by Abraham and Lazarus at the sight of the tormented man: do they feel compassion, indifference, or. . .? In the context of the allegory, such a question is absurd. For its “intention is directed toward man’s salvation, not toward giving purely concrete information as such”; it “aims at saying something kerygmatic for his present life, something relevant here and now”. All New Testament and theological talk about hell has but one point: “To bring man to come to grips with his life in view of the real possibility of eternal ruin and to understand revelation as a demand of the utmost seriousness. The fundamental reference to this redemptive meaning of the dogma must therefore serve as both a boundary marker and an internal guideline for all speculation in this area” (J. Ratzinger).
Assuming, however, that there might really be such a vantage point from which to survey the abyss between heaven and hell, would not a conscientious theologian still have to ask himself the question of how the blessed feel when they see certain of their brothers and sisters roasting in hell? The question arises, of course, only if, first, there are such people in hell and, second, one can see them from within heaven, or at least miss them there.
At the end of the Book of Isaiah, there is a description of how those who were saved in the apocalyptic, magnificent (earthly) Jerusalem walk out through the city gates; they “look on the bodies of the men that have rebelled against me; for their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh” (Is 66:24). In place of “abhorrence”, the Septuagint has “sight [to see]”, and the Latin translation by Jerome reads: “et erunt usque ad satietatem visionis omni carni” (PL 28, 848), which translates literally as: “and they shall be a sight for all flesh to look upon till satiated”—a rather dark passage. Be that as it may, there are comparable passages in the Old Testament, for instance, Psalms 58:6, 10: “O God, break the teeth in their mouths;. . . The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance; he will bathe his feet in the blood of the wicked.” [..]
The point is not to paint a pathetic picture of such situations but rather to pose the absolutely sober, unavoidable question: Under the aforementioned hypothesis, is every human, every Christian, bond—designated as communio sanctorum—simply annulled? And more profoundly, as seen from the viewpoint of God himself: Does God no longer love the damned, for whom, after all, his Son has died? Or—if I may revert to the hypothesis that I developed earlier—do the absolute naysayers burn in the fire of the absolute divine love that also embraces them, and what sort of effect does such a situation have on God?" - Hans Urs Von Balthasar, Dare We Hope, pg202-207
Related: Dare We Hope, Dare We Hope: That All Men May Be Saved (With A Short Discourse On Hell, Eschatology of Hope, Fra Angelico, Hans Urs Von Balthasar, Hell, Hypothetical Universalism, Michelangelo, The Last Judgment, Universalism