|Hans Holbein the Younger|
A century later, in Nietzsche, it becomes a mortal seriousness which is expressed in a cry, shrill with terror: “God is dead! God will stay dead! And we have killed him!”. Fifty years later, it is discussed with academic detachment and preparations are made for a “theology after the death of God”, eyes search for ways to go on and men encourage each other to start preparing to take God’s place. The terrible mystery of Holy Saturday, its abyss of silence, has thus acquired a crushing reality in these days of ours....
But even if Holy Saturday has drawn deeply near to us in that way, even if we understand the God of Holy Saturday more than the powerful manifestation of God in thunder and lightning of which the Old Testament speaks, a question remains unresolved - that of knowing what is really meant by the mysterious phrase that Jesus “descended into hell”. Let’s be clear about it: no one is really capable of explaining it. Nor does it become clearer by saying that here “hell” is a bad translation of the Hebrew word shêol, indicating merely the whole kingdom of the dead and so the formula would originally have meant only that Jesus descended into the profundity of death, that he really did die and he shared in the abyss of our destiny of death.full Three Meditations by Cardinal Ratzinger at 30Giorni
I offer a few tidbits but it's well worth reading all three short reflections in their entirety. Pope Benedict may at some point be declared a Doctor of the Church.