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Objection 1: It would seem that there is not a Purgatory after this life. For
it is said (Apoc. 14:13): "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. From
henceforth now, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors."
Therefore after this life no cleansing labor awaits those who die in the
Lord, nor those who do not die in the Lord, since they cannot be
cleansed. Therefore there is no Purgatory after this life.
Objection 2: Further, as charity is to an eternal reward, so is mortal sin to
eternal punishment. Now those who die in mortal sin are forthwith
consigned to eternal punishment. Therefore those who die in charity go at
once to their reward; and consequently no Purgatory awaits them after
Objection 3: Further, God Who is supremely merciful is more inclined to reward
good than to punish evil. Now just as those who are in the state of
charity, do certain evil things which are not deserving of eternal
punishment, so those who are in mortal sin, at times perform actions,
generically good, which are not deserving of an eternal reward. Therefore
since these good actions are not rewarded after this life in those who
will be damned, neither should those evil actions be punished after this
life. Hence the same conclusion follows.
On the contrary, It is said (2 Macc. 12:46): "It is a holy and wholesome
thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins." Now
there is no need to pray for the dead who are in heaven, for they are in
no need; nor again for those who are in hell, because they cannot be
loosed from sins. Therefore after this life, there are some not yet
loosed from sins, who can be loosed therefrom; and the like have charity,
without which sins cannot be loosed, for "charity covereth all sins"
[*Prov. 10:12]. Hence they will not be consigned to everlasting death,
since "he that liveth and believeth in Me, shall not die for ever" [*Jn.
11:26]: nor will they obtain glory without being cleansed, because
nothing unclean shall obtain it, as stated in the last chapter of the
Apocalypse (verse 14). Therefore some kind of cleansing remains after
Further, Gregory of Nyssa [*De iis qui in fide dormiunt] says: "If one
who loves and believes in Christ," has failed to wash away his sins in
this life, "he is set free after death by the fire of Purgatory."
Therefore there remains some kind of cleansing after this life.
I answer that, From the conclusions we have drawn above (TP, Question , Articles ,5; XP, Question , Article ) it is sufficiently clear that there is a
Purgatory after this life. For if the debt of punishment is not paid in
full after the stain of sin has been washed away by contrition, nor again
are venial sins always removed when mortal sins are remitted, and if
justice demands that sin be set in order by due punishment, it follows
that one who after contrition for his fault and after being absolved,
dies before making due satisfaction, is punished after this life.
Wherefore those who deny Purgatory speak against the justice of God: for
which reason such a statement is erroneous and contrary to faith. Hence
Gregory of Nyssa, after the words quoted above, adds: "This we preach,
holding to the teaching of truth, and this is our belief; this the
universal Church holds, by praying for the dead that they may be loosed
from sins." This cannot be understood except as referring to Purgatory:
and whosoever resists the authority of the Church, incurs the note of
Reply to Objection 1: The authority quoted is speaking of the labor of working
for merit, and not of the labor of suffering to be cleansed.
Reply to Objection 2: Evil has not a perfect cause, but results from each single
defect: whereas good arises from one perfect cause, as Dionysius asserts
[*Div. Nom. iv, 4]. Hence each defect is an obstacle to the perfection of
good; while not every good hinders some consummation of evil, since there
is never evil without some good. Consequently venial sin prevents one who
has charity from obtaining the perfect good, namely eternal life, until
he be cleansed; whereas mortal sin cannot be hindered by some conjoined
good from bringing a man forthwith to the extreme of evils.
Reply to Objection 3: He that falls into mortal sin, deadens all the good he has
done before, and what he does, while in mortal sin, is dead: since by
offending God he deserves to lose all the good he has from God. Wherefore
no reward after this life awaits him who dies in mortal sin, whereas
sometimes punishment awaits him who dies in charity, which does not
always wash away the sin which it finds, but only that which is contrary
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Objection 1: It would seem that it is not the same place where souls are
cleansed and the damned punished. For the punishment of the damned is
eternal, according to Mt. 25:46, "These shall go into everlasting
punishment [Vulg.: 'fire']." But the fire of Purgatory is temporary, as
the Master says (Sent. iv, D, 21). Therefore the former and the latter
are not punished together in the same place: and consequently these
places must needs be distinct.
Objection 2: The punishment of hell is called by various names, as in Ps.
10:7, "Fire and brimstone, and storms of winds," etc., whereas the
punishment of Purgatory is called by one name only, namely fire.
Therefore they are not punished with the same fire and in the same place.
Objection 3: Further, Hugh of St. Victor says (De Sacram. ii, 16): "It is
probable that they are punished in the very places where they sinned."
And Gregory relates (Dial. iv, 40) that Germanus, Bishop of Capua, found
Paschasius being cleansed in the baths. Therefore they are not cleansed
in the same place as hell, but in this world.
On the contrary, Gregory says [*The quotation is from St. Augustine (De
Civ. Dei i, 8)]: "Even as in the same fire gold glistens and straw
smokes, so in the same fire the sinner burns and the elect is cleansed."
Therefore the fire of Purgatory is the same as the fire of hell: and
hence they are in the same place.
Further, the holy fathers; before the coming of Christ, were in a more
worthy place than that wherein souls are now cleansed after death, since
there was no pain of sense there. Yet that place was joined to hell, or
the same as hell: otherwise Christ when descending into Limbo would not
be said to have descended into hell. Therefore Purgatory is either close
to, or the same place as, hell.
I answer that, Nothing is clearly stated in Scripture about the
situation of Purgatory, nor is it possible to offer convincing arguments
on this question. It is probable, however, and more in keeping with the
statements of holy men and the revelations made to many, that there is a
twofold place of Purgatory. one, according to the common law; and thus
the place of Purgatory is situated below and in proximity to hell, so
that it is the same fire which torments the damned in hell and cleanses
the just in Purgatory; although the damned being lower in merit, are to
be consigned to a lower place. Another place of Purgatory is according to
dispensation: and thus sometimes, as we read, some are punished in
various places, either that the living may learn, or that the dead may be
succored, seeing that their punishment being made known to the living may
be mitigated through the prayers of the Church.
Some say, however, that according to the common law the place of
Purgatory is where man sins. This does not seem probable, since a man may
be punished at the same time for sins committed in various places. And
others say that according to the common law they are punished above us,
because they are between us and God, as regards their state. But this is
of no account, for they are not punished for being above us, but for that
which is lowest in them, namely sin.
Reply to Objection 1: The fire of Purgatory is eternal in its substance, but
temporary in its cleansing effect.
Reply to Objection 2: The punishment of hell is for the purpose of affliction,
wherefore it is called by the names of things that are wont to afflict us
here. But the chief purpose of the punishment of Purgatory is to cleanse
us from the remains of sin; and consequently the pain of fire only is
ascribed to Purgatory, because fire cleanses and consumes.
Reply to Objection 3: This argument considers the point of special dispensation
and not that of the common law.