The Holy Souls in Purgatory

I cherish every dogma of our holy Catholic Faith. Every dogma is a gift from God, a “pearl of great price” (Matthew 13:46). Every verse from holy scripture, New as well as Old Testament, is sacred. In the Old Testament we have the Psalms. They are such a joy to read, a comfort to reflect on, a challenge to lift us up and give us confidence; they are a prelude to the Beatitudes. There is no way a person of “good will” could read the Psalms and the Gospels and not be convinced that this the “Word” of God.

Purgatory, on the other hand, is, for me, the most challenging dogma of our Faith, even more so than “no salvation outside the Church.” Not in regard to grave sinners who convert at the end of their life, but for faithful Catholics who suffer terribly before death. Yes, some of them (God knows, we don’t) do their purgation here before death. But most not only suffer here but they will suffer yet more in Purgatory. That truth is a challenge to my faith (small “f”). A challenge that I embrace and fully accept.

Death is horrible enough. Without the Cross of Christ, death is outrageous. There would be no one saved. But why such a severe sentence? I do not know. God wills it. That is enough. To even entertain a hesitating question about it, in light of sin, betrays the arrogance of a creature, who is nothing, daring to confront Him who is all Powerful, Just and Merciful. I do get something of an understanding of death and sin when I think about the Passion, especially the Agony in the Garden. Everything about the Passion should give us something of an understanding about the terrible offense of sin, of a creature’s turning away from a loving God.

But, it still does not give me an understanding about Purgatory for someone with the Faith and contrition (and maybe last rites) who has gone through excruciating torment, drawn out, and is denied immediate entry into heaven. Reading some of the revelations about Purgatory is frightening. And it should be. If you want to have the hell and purgatory scared out of you read Father F.X. Schouppe, S.J.’s book Purgatory.

Saint Catherine of Genoa, on the other, gives me a more balanced understanding in her writings wherein she says that the souls in Purgatory, whom she communicated with, have a joy beyond any joy to be imagined in this life. Still, according to many fathers of the Church, their suffering is beyond anything to be imagined in this life. Nevertheless, the fathers of the Council of Trent decreed that we must leave this mystery of the kind of pain in Purgatory to God, for it is not part of revelation. How this fire affects the souls of the departed we simply do not know (how could we?), and in such matters it is well to heed the warning of the Council of Trent in its session on Purgatory when it commands the bishops “to exclude from their preaching difficult and subtle questions which tend not to edification, and from the discussion of which there is no increase either in piety or devotion” (Sess. XXV, “De Purgatorio”). Note here that the Council fathers were speaking of “subtle questions” about the fires of Purgatory not the doctrine itself.

It is enough, the Council declared, to believe what is revealed clearly in scripture: It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins. (2 Machabees 12:46).

I do not know what good it does “for piety or devotion” to highlight opinions that are exaggerated, such as one I just read, which maintains that the fiery torments of Purgatory are so much more severe than any pains one can experience in this world that the latter pains would be like looking at a picture of a fire compared to roasting in the real thing. No doubt this kind of bizarre analogy is what the Council fathers at Trent were concerned about.

Saint Thomas Aquinas teaches that the pain experienced by a soul separated from the body in Purgatory is ligative, just as it is for the souls and fallen spirits in hellfire. By this he does not mean to diminish its as a torment but to accentuate that for a separated, immaterial soul the fire torments by ligation, binding the soul as it were, imprisoning it within its walls. Thusly, though the fire is a material, created fire, it cannot “burn” the immaterial soul, but it does torment it, because the soul is afflicted in other ways by the fire, which fire is God’s instrument of justice in the process of purging the effects of sins that were committed by illicit indulgence in the abuse of corporeal things.

“[The] fire of its nature is able to have an incorporeal spirit united to it as a thing placed is united to a place; that as the instrument of Divine justice it is enabled to detain it enchained as it were, and in this respect this fire is really hurtful to the spirit, and thus the soul seeing the fire as something hurtful to it is tormented by the fire.” (Summa Theologica Supplement Question 70, article 3)

Perhaps we can understand this better by considering how our soul is affected by our own physical pains. A headache is totally physical, nevertheless my soul is not at all happy when I have a headache. It wants to be rid of the pain, to be rid of any physical pain. Body and soul suffer together.

Many of the doctors of the Church are agreed in holding that the “fire” in Purgatory is the same as that which God created for “the devil and his angels” in hell, only that it is temporary. The souls in Purgatory, however, will never have the accidental pain that will afflict the bodies of the damned after the resurrection. In the horrifying vision of hell that Our Lady gave the Fatima children the damned souls looked like transparent burning embers tossed about “in a sea of fire.”

With the souls in Purgatory, the fire purifies. Not so with the damned. The souls in Purgatory have a great joy in their suffering; they want to be purified and to be made spotless, because they have supernatural charity and love God in their purification, a love for God far more than they had on earth. Each soul undergoing purgation suffers unexpiated temporal punishment for his sins to the degree that his will turned from God’s grace in this life. Hence each soul suffers differently, some more so, others less so, according to Divine Justice.

I hope that I am not misunderstood. I believe firmly by Faith in praying for the souls that have suffered much before death and in offering Masses for them — for only God knows their hearts even during the torments of death. How few, no matter the degree of pain in death, can fully expiate the temporal punishment due to their sins. Perhaps the “few” are “many;” we do not know, therefore it is indeed “a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.” Martyrdom, however, takes away all temporal punishment due to sin.

“There shall not enter into [the heavenly Jerusalem] any thing defiled, or that worketh abomination or maketh a lie, but they that are written in the book of life of the Lamb” (Apocalypse 21:27).

“For other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid; which is Christ Jesus. Now if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble: Every man’ s work shall be manifest; for the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire; and the fire shall try every man’ s work, of what sort it is. If any man’ s work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’ s work burn, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire” (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). (my emphasis).

We must not forget that God’s mercy is also at work tempering His Justice in Purgatory. Thus the good works done by the faithful during their lives, their almsgiving, their devotion to Our Lady, their prayerful attendance at First Friday and Saturday Masses, and the Sabbatine Privilege associated with their wearing of the Brown Scapular, all these, and so much more, do indeed mitigate the temporal punishment due to sin both in this life and the next. And, God’s Mercy is also extended through the prayers of the faithful on earth, especially when joined to the holy sacrifice of the Mass.

Lastly, after the Mass, there is nothing more purifying for the soul in this life than a true devotion to Jesus and Mary. And there is no devotion to Mary greater than holy slavery to her Immaculate Heart. So, if you want a briefer lay-over in Purgatory, live the consecration of holy slavery to the Mother of God. In these days of the final and decisive battle Our Lady assured the children of Fatima, on July 13, 1917, that she alone will be able to help us.

  • Eleonore

    Very beautiful and edifying meditation on Purgatory, Brian. A little scary, too! Catholics need to hear more about Purgatory.

  • Dogma Cristãos

    Catholics need to hear more about the Gospels. In there is not inferred any thing about Purgatory…
    And the word Hell is born of an exegetical analysis dedicated to reconcile the notion of “Gehenna” and “Seol” from Hebrews to the Greek and Latin languages.

  • Alyosha Karamazov

    Catholics certainly do need to hear more about the Gospels. That’s undoubtedly true. But in agreeing with you on this, I do not concede that our doctrine is false, but only that we need to learn it better.

    I believe you mean to say that the Gospels do not “imply” anything about Purgatory. (“Infer” is what the listener/reader does; “imply” is what the speaker/author does.) Either way, your contention is, of course, false.

    Let me suggest to you some articles that show the Scriptural basis of Purgatory:

    The word “Hell” is from Old English hel, hell, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch hel and German Hölle, from an Indo-European root meaning ‘to cover or hide.’

    But what does that have to do with the subject at hand. Do reject the Catholic doctrine of Hell, too?

  • Bill S

    Jesus only spoke of heaven and hell. He never mentioned anything that would remotely resemble purgatory. He talked about separating the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats. He never said that there was anything in between that could become wheat or sheep after a period of purgation. He didn’t tell the good thief that after x number of years in purgatory he would be in Paradise. He said he would be there that very day.

  • Saint Paul gives all the essential constituents of Purgatory here:

    “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (1 Cor. 3: 10-15)

    At least six Fathers of the Church — five Latins and a Greek — interpreted this passage in a Purgatorial sense, as I show here:

  • Bill S

    Paul was just a man with exceptional inspirational skills. He had no knowledge of what happens when we die.

  • I thought I was addressing myself to someone who professes to be a Christian, who might believe that “prophecy came not by the will of man at any time: but the holy men of God spoke, inspired by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:21), and that “All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice…” (2 Tim. 3:16).

    Your comment was written as if by an atheist.

  • Neihan

    Those in Purgatory are part of the “wheat.” Purgatory isn’t some luke-warm place between the Miserific and Beatific Vision, it is a prelude to the Beatific Vision. Everyone in Purgatory has died in a state of Grace, their sins washed clean by the Blood of the Lamb. All that remains is that their venial faults and the effects of their sins are burned away. There is no true repentance without voluntary penance; penance which is accomplished in this life or the next.

  • Bill S

    Everything you have said is made up. There is nothing real about any of it. Some of it was made up by others and some of it was made up by you.

  • Bill S

    Sorry for the misunderstanding. I am an atheist.

  • Neihan

    Of course if you choose to believe God does not exist then your statement is in accord with your faith.

    So far as the absence in scripture of our Lord’s speaking of Purgatory that is only relevant to those who adhere to the heresy of sola scriptura. It is not an argument against Catholics nor the Eastern Orthodox, as both of us acknowledge that scripture is a subset of Tradition. It contains much, but not all, of the teachings of Christ which were handed down by the Apostles and their successors.

  • Well, that would explain why your comment was written as if by an atheist.

    But tell me, why do you say here — — that Jesus said X or did not say Y? You seem to profess that the Scriptures are a reliable testimony of what Jesus said and did. That’s a bit odd, coming from an atheist.

  • Dogma Cristãos

    “Tradition” should be based on the interpretation of the scriptures, otherwise it would be “wood, hay, stubble” of St. Paul. This was exactly what he was saying, as some believed in Christ, but in a Jewish way, or those who “followed” to St. Paul or Apollos. If they were not building a solid foundation on the teachings of Christ, these teachings would be destroyed.

    So is the notion of Purgatory and Hell that is viewed as where souls “burning” with fire! Speaking of tradition, Origen, a Father of the Church, says that fire is our guilty conscience (Origen De Principiis, Book II, Chapter X).

    I personally prefer the view of Origen! Hell and purgatory are states of consciousness, not places for the purification or eternal damnation.

  • Neihan

    The canon of scripture was determined by Tradition. Before there was a New Testament as a collection of books and epistles there was Tradition. The compiled library of books was selected by the successors of the Apostles in councils, based largely on whether a book conformed with the faith guarded and passed on by the bishops and what was widely used in the Mass.

    So, if we’re not to trust the institution which gave us the scriptures, why should we trust the scriptures? Or, as St. Augustine puts it:

    “Perhaps you will read the Gospel to me, and will attempt to find there a testimony to Manichaeus. But should you meet with a person not yet believing the Gospel, how would you reply to him were he to say, I do not believe? For my part, I should not believe the Gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church. So when those on whose authority I have consented to believe in the Gospel tell me not to believe in Manichaeus, how can I but consent? Take your choice. If you say, Believe the Catholics: their advice to me is to put no faith in you; so that, believing them, I am precluded from believing you; If you say, Do not believe the Catholics: you cannot fairly use the Gospel in bringing me to faith in Manichaeus; for it was at the command of the Catholics that I believed the Gospel.”

    If someone tells me Purgatory cannot be found in the scriptures, I must reply that neither do I find an index to the Bible in the scriptures. Nevertheless, I know the Bible has seventy-three books and I know which books those are. I know that because the Church, headed by our Lord and guided by the Holy Ghost, tells me. The same authority which teaches me of Purgatory.

  • Bill S


    Jesus of Nazareth is by far the most important person that ever lived. The Catholic Church is the most important institution that has ever existed. Jesus was the spark that ignited a spiritual fire that spread throughout the Roman Empire and then the world. It’s all good.

    But the real truth has never gotten in the way of the made up Truth that keeps getting more and preposterous with each generation. Purgatory? Come on. Get real.

  • Bill S

    Yes. Tradition. That’s all any of this is. They are made up stories passed down and embellished by each generation and every next generation accepts what the previous generations have said as part of some kind of inerrant “Tradition”. I don’t trust Tradition and I don’t know why anyone should or should be expected to accept it. Think about it. Don’t just call it “faith” and leave it at that. Use your own intellect.

  • Bill S,

    The affirmations of your first paragraph are things we evidently agree on, though I would include two other Persons in your first sentence.

    Evidently, you attach some importance to the cultural and ethical contributions of Jesus and the Catholic Church. That’s “all good,” to me, to borrow your expression.

    What baffles me is that you speak as if Purgatory is some late invention. Saint Augustine’s Confessions, doubtless more important than most books in igniting that fire that spread throughout Western Christendom, is explicit on the point. Vide:

    So is St. Gregory the Great:

    Examples from the Fathers could be multiplied. My point is that the doctrine is not some recent concoction of mad theologians.

  • Dear Dogma Cristãos: What is the pillar and ground of the truth?

  • Bill S

    “Saint Augustine’s Confessions, doubtless more important than most books in igniting that fire that spread throughout Western Christendom, is explicit on the point.”

    I don’t mean to be disrespectful. But what does a fourth century thinker like St. Augustine know that modern thinkers do not know? It is the same for Mohammed. What does someone from the seventh century know that wouldn’t be known by me or anyone else living today? What is so special about antiquity when we have much more information about just about everything today?

  • My reply was based on your claim regarding “the made up Truth that keeps getting more and preposterous with each generation. Purgatory? Come on. Get real.” Those words suggest to me that, in your mind, Catholicism gets progressively more “preposterous” over time. But St. Augustine was very early, and gives testimony to what the Christians of his time believed. I was attempting to answer you objection that Purgatory is some modern invention.

    Men of antiquity may not have known as much about the empirical sciences as we know today, but they had a lot of wisdom that men of successive generations have taken seriously enough to study.

    Another advantage that men of antiquity had is that very few of them were atheists. Less encumbered by technology, they saw nature much more penetratingly. Intuitively, they realized elementary concepts such as no effect can be greater than its cause, something that eludes the grasp of many “advanced” men of our own time.

  • Dogma Cristãos

    I may say “The Church”. But we must remember that their views and beliefs about dogmatic issues develop over time and is therefore not impossible to
    be reviewed in light of better knowledge.

  • Dogma Cristãos

    Well if it’s a matter of faith, so I can not argue, but when quoting the Bible or interprets it, we can say that such a thing has some basis or has not.

  • Which “Church” is the pillar and ground of the truth?

  • Bill S

    “But St. Augustine was very early, and gives testimony to what the Christians of his time believed.”

    Maybe it is true that the idea of Purgatory goes back farther than I thought. But even in a few hundred years as opposed to a couple of thousand, the stories just got made up as the Church went along. The premise is that the Church Fathers and the thinkers that followed were not just “making this stuff up as they went along” but were guided by the Holy Spirit. I think they were just being philosophical and had no real knowledge of what happens after death. They created an afterlife that would have the effect of making us try harder to live better lives. A commendable idea but not based on the reality that we die when our body breaks down and our brain does not get oxygen and stops working; we lose consciousness and that is that.

  • James

    “we lose consciousness and that is that.” You know that for sure or you just believe that?

  • Bill S

    Biologically, the brain is where our consciousness resides and any damage to the brain results in impairment of our cognitive functions. The ultimate damage to the brain would be death at which time the brain no longer functions and we cease to exist as would happen to our pets.

  • James

    Thanks for the biology lesson but you didn’t answer my question. Try again

  • Bill S

    “You know that for sure or just believe that?”

    If I say I know it for sure, you will ask if I can prove it, which I can’t. It is part of my worldview which I rely on to make all my decisions. Your faith is your worldview. You could call my worldview a kind of faith. I have faith in humanity. I guess that would make me a humanist. I also have faith in the laws of nature so I could be a naturalist. I also have faith in separation of Church and State so I am a Secularist. I’m also a materialist because I don’t believe there is anything more than the material world. However, materialism can’t explain life, consciousness and emotions like love and happiness. So I am not a hard core materialist. If I am missing something about death that cannot be explained by biology, I might be missing concepts like the soul and afterlife.

  • Bill S


    When you ask the other commentor (Dogma) what church is the pillar and ground of the truth, it seems rhetorical in that you expect the answer to be your church. You do realize the universality of thinking that one’s religion is the one true religion and one’s god is either a true god or, in your case, the one true God. Do you really think that you were that lucky that you just so happen to have lived in a culture that worships the one true God and all other cultures have imaginary gods except the Jews and Muslims?

  • Bill S

    “For my part, I should not believe the Gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church.”

    If the Gospel is true because it has been approved by the Catholic Church and the Catholic Church derives its authority from what Jesus supposedly said as recorded in the Gospel, we have an institution deriving its authority from a document that it approved itself. If someone made up the Gospel which talks about Peter being the keys of the kingdom, we would never know it if the only one who can vouch for its accuracy is the Church whose authority comes from the books it approves. An impartial third party is needed otherwise this is a circular argument.

  • Bill S: “You do realize the universality of thinking that one’s religion is the one true religion and one’s god is either a true god or, in your case, the one true God.”

    No, I do not, because there is no such universality, certainly not in our time. In fact, I have asked many, many people this question, and frequently am assured that my interlocutor does not believe that his religion is the one, true, religion.

    Even in earlier times, exclusive claims of truth are not so universal. Asiatic Pantheism has a very “fluid” notion of of truth, and often considers truth of little importance compared to their vague notions of the transcendent. Calvin’s idea of the “invisible church” meant that the real Church was not identifiable with one or another externally recognisable community of adherents.

    The religion of the Bible — Old Testament and New Testament — uniformly makes exclusive truth claims. It’s not a question of “culture.” It’s a question of the mind’s assent to the revealed truth. That probably sounds laughably provincial to you, but there it is. Jesus advanced such notions of truth and that’s what I believe.

    You may not have noticed Dogma Cristãos’ comment on another article —

    His ideas of dogmatic truth and mine are vastly different, not only in content but also in concept.

  • snake

    1. Where in the Bible is Purgatory found?
    2. Is Purgatory mentioned by NAME in the Holy Scriptures?
    3. If Purgatory is mentioned by NAME, why don’t Protestants believe in it?
    4. How many times is Purgatory mentioned by NAME in the Holy Scripture?
    5. Do you believe in every WORD in the Bible, or do you pick and chose other Biblical phrases using your “own interpretation” order to nullify other phrases dictated by God in order to prove your point. No where in the Bible does it state one can use private interpretation.

    Answers to the above questions

    1. Old Testament
    2. Yes
    3.They do not know the progression of LANGUAGES!
    4. 63 times
    5. Either you believe in the FULLNESS of the Holy Scriptures or you don’t. There is no half stepping when it comes to God’s word.
    6. NO! HE who is all wise cannot contradict any of His Teachings in either the Old Testament nor the New Testament or both. Otherwise, HE would not be GOD!

    So now I proceed.

    Many cases in scripture where infallibly is pronounced and when words were spoken, are not understood clearly, because we do not study languages today as before. We lose the original meaning. This is the case with Purgatory Also there are many references to Purgatory in both old and new Testaments.

    To demonstrate the progression of languages, let us start off with the word WATER. Everyone knows what water is. The following words describe water in different LANGUAGES.


    English Water
    German Wasser
    French eau
    Hebrew מים
    Spanish agua
    Chinese Swhay
    Japanese Misu
    Russian воды Vody

    So on and so on. Thus the chemical composition of Water has not changed it’s formula H2O, because of different words in other languages. The different languages have name WATER in their own words, but WATER, H2O REMAINS THE SAME!

    I believe everyone will agree with the above statement.

    The first language the Hebrews spoke was Biblical Hebrew, which over the course of time, morphed into Aramaic, but contained many of the same words and meanings.

    Aramaic is the language which Jesus Spoke. Any time in Holy Scriptures when His words are not translated into English, they are written in Roman Fount, but in Aramaic. A case in point. [Mat 27:46] And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
    He did not speak in Greek as some would have you believe, nor did He speak in Latin, but used the common language of the Jews – Aramaic. He could have spoken in ANY language, but scriptures always states His words in Aramaic when He spoke.

    From Aramaic, the next language was Old Greek. The Gospel of Matthew was first written in Aramaic. How do we know? St Clement our Pope who was living at the time, penned in his letters which exist to this day, stated, “..the Gospel of Matthew was written in the tongue of the Hebrews..” The language which Saint Clement referred to, as I have already stated was Aramaic, not Greek or Latin.

    After Old Greek, the following language was Latin. Pope Saint Diamaus 1 at the Council of Rome 382 AD, proclaimed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit which books were inspired and which were not in both the OLD and NEW TESTAMENTS. From the 52 “gospels” which were circulating at that time, he found only 27 to be inspired by GOD, for the New Testament. The remaining books of the Old Testament, 45, were considered inspired. He formally declared the 72 Book inspired cannon which we have today since 382 AD.

    Saint Diamaus charged Saint Jerome to translate the entire bible from Old Greek, Aramaic, Biblical Hebrew into Latin. St. Jerome completed this task in the year 400 AD. That bible is called the Vulgate or the Common (vulgar) language of the people. This is the Bible which Gutenberg printed with moveable type 63 years BEFORE the reformation. Many copies exist today with all 72 Books.

    OUR next language which is a combination of Latin and Old German (Frankish) is called ENGLISH. So the line of languages is thus, Biblical Hebrew è Aramaic è Old Greek è Latin è Frankish/Latin è English.

    So first knowing what and how the languages progressed and the WORD Purgatory was translated from one language from those times, we first must now take the word HELL as an prime example.


    Aramaic and Hebrew Gehinnom (English Gehenna)

    Greek Tartaroo The deepest abyss of Hell

    Latin Inferno (Dante’s inferno)

    English Hell

    Notice with the progression of Languages, the concept and reality of Hell is noted in that language but has not changed the concept nor meaning. Hell is still Hell not matter what language it is written in.

    Remember, once in Hell you cannot get out as scripture states.

    This last statement is VERY important.


    Aramaic and Hebrew SHEOL

    Remember in the old Testament it clearly states,

    [1 Sam 2:6] The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up.

    [Job 14:13] O that you would hide me in Sheol, that you would conceal me until your wrath is past, that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me! [Job 14:14] If mortals die, will they live again? All the days of my service I would wait until my RELEASE should come. [Job 21:13] They spend their days in prosperity, and in peace they go down to Sheol.

    [Psa 30:3] O LORD, YOU BROUGHT UP MY SOUL FROM SHEOL, restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit. (in the original language) יהוה, הבאת את הנשמה שלי שאול, החזיר אותי לחיים, מבין אלה ירד בור.

    Greek Hades (Pronounced Haa dees not HAY dees)

    Latin Purgatorium

    English Purgatory

    Thus, the writers are speaking about the same place AS SHEOL but different words as the languages progressed, but are explaining the very same place. That place, Sheol, in English is called Purgatory.

    Now in Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic the word for Hell and Purgatory were intertwined in common day usage. This is much like Murder and Killing. But Jesus who is God and cannot make a mistake called Hell Gehinnom (English = Gehenna) So we must be satisfied that Jesus used the correct word when referring to HELL.

    People cross-reference other words, but Murder and Killing are two different concepts. The Big 10 (Commandments) makes the distinction in Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic and modern Hebrew.

    Murder רצח KILLing להרוג. Hades and Sheol also have the same intertanglement as Murder and Killing, but the Biblical Hebrew/Aramaic words are totally different and SO IS THE CONCEPT!

    Hell גיהינום Sheol הושק

    Yet they (the Hebrews) knew there was a difference between the PARTS of HELL and SHEOL. BOTH CONTAIN FIRE as stated in the scriputres.
    One part, you did the hot foot tap dance forever and forever (Gehinnom). No coffee breaks or cool water – forever. But from what I understand, you DO receive a wonderful crispy TAN.
    The other part (SHEOL) you stayed until you paid every penny of your VENIAL Sins and punishment due to forgiven Mortal and Venial sins. Job 14:13
    St. John makes a clear distinction between the two types of sins.
    [1 John 5:16] If you see your brother or sister committing what is not a mortal sin, you will ask, and God will give life to such a one–to those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin that is mortal; I do not say that you should pray about that.[1 John 5:17] All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not mortal. (Mortal sin = Death)
    This cleansing is necessary before you are released into Heaven.
    [Rev 21:27] But nothing unclean (Sin) will enter it, (it = Heaven) nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
    [Mat 5:26] Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
    [Luke 12:59] I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.”
    Greek language is the same. Hades in Greek is known as a place of torment with flames, but it is not everlasting.
    BUT Tartaroo (Hell) is the area which you again do the hot foot tap dance for a very long time called Forever and received giant blisters on your feet and are never released. Bring lots of marshmellows.

    Latin also defined the words, because the Romans knew like the Greeks and Hebrews, there were two different places and thus made the distinction with words. One was called INFERNO (Hell) and the other place was called Purgatorium (Purgatory to purg from sin). It is duly noted; The word Purgatorium (Latin) was in usage BEFORE Christ was born on Earth! Remember the Romans took many concepts from the Greeks in their religon. BUT the Jews had written about Purgatory in Macc 2 around 300 B.C. The Jewish Religion was much older than the founding of Rome and included prayers for the Dead. Rome was founded 21 April 753 B.C.

    The Hebrews in Macc2 clearly showed this in their scripture which the RCC has declared as two inspired books in 382 A.D. for the Old Testament.

    Luther tossed out these and other books with no authority to back up his actions. He even admitted this truth in his writings, because it did not fit in with his idea of Sola Scriptura which he made up and was never employed before since the beginning of the Church 33 A.D. Before he died, he reversed his thoughts and sated in writing “….with so many different interpretations, we must “flee back to the Church of the Councils….” (Martin Luther statement regarding the Roman Catholic Church)

    Old Testament

    [2 Macc 12:38] Then Judas assembled his army and went to the city of Adullam. As the seventh day was coming on, they purified themselves according to the custom, and kept the sabbath there. [2 Macc 12:39] On the next day, as had now become necessary, Judas and his men went to take up the bodies of the fallen and to bring them back to lie with their kindred in the sepulchers of their ancestors. [2 Macc 12:41] So they all blessed the ways of the Lord, the righteous judge, who reveals the things that are hidden; [2 Macc 12:40] Then under the tunic of each one of the dead they found sacred tokens of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. And it became clear to all that this was the reason these men had fallen. [2 Macc 12:42] and they turned to supplication, praying that the sin that had been committed might be WHOLLY blotted out. The noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened as the result of the sin of those who had fallen.[2 Macc 12:43] He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection.

    [2 Macc 12:44] For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead.
    [2 Macc 12:45] But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, so that they might be delivered from their sin.

    Remember the above scriptures were inspired by the Holy Spirit who is GOD and cannot error.

    The New Testament also has references to Purgatory

    [Mat 5:24] leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. [Mat 5:23] So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, [Mat 5:25] Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. [Mat 5:26] Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

    [Luke 12:55] And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens. [Luke 12:54] He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain’; and so it happens. [Luke 12:56] You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?[Luke 12:58] Thus, when you go with your accuser before a magistrate, on the way make an effort to settle the case, or you may be dragged before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer throw you in prison.[Luke 12:57] “And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?
    [Luke 12:59] I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.”

    SHEOL = PURGATORY Pit = Different degrees of punishment in Purgatory.
    [Gen 37:35] All his sons and all his daughters sought to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, and said, “No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” Thus his father bewailed him.
    [Gen 42:38] But he said, “My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead, and he alone is left. If harm should come to him on the journey that you are to make, you would bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol.”
    [Gen 44:29] If you take this one also from me, and harm comes to him, you will bring down my gray hairs in sorrow to Sheol.
    [Gen 44:31] when he sees that the boy is not with us, he will die; and your servants will bring down the gray hairs of your servant our father with sorrow to Sheol.
    [Num 16:30] But if the LORD creates something new, and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up, with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you shall know that these men have despised the LORD.”
    [Num 16:33] So they with all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol; the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly.
    [Deu 32:22] For a FIRE is kindled by my anger, and burns to the depths of Sheol; it devours the earth and its increase, and sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.
    [1 Sam 2:6] The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
    [2 Sam 22:6] the cords of Sheol entangled me, the snares of death confronted me.
    [1 Ki 2:9] Therefore do not hold him guiltless, for you are a wise man; you will know what you ought to do to him, and you must bring his gray head down with blood to Sheol.”
    [Job 7:9] As the cloud fades and vanishes, so those who go down to Sheol do not come up;
    [Job 11:8] It is higher than heaven–what can you do? Deeper than Sheol– what can you know?
    [Job 14:13] O that you would hide me in Sheol, that you would conceal me until your wrath is past, that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me![Job 14:14] If mortals die, will they live again? All the days of my service I would wait until my release should come.
    [Job 17:13] If I look for Sheol as my house, if I spread my couch in darkness, [Job 17:14] if I say to the Pit, ‘You are my father,’ and to the worm, ‘My mother,’ or ‘My sister,’ [Job 17:15] where then is my hope? Who will see my hope?
    [Job 17:16] Will it go down to the bars of Sheol? Shall we descend together into the dust?”
    [Job 21:13] They spend their days in prosperity, and in peace they go down to Sheol.
    [Job 24:19] Drought and heat snatch away the snow waters; so does Sheol those who have sinned.
    [Job 26:6] Sheol is naked before God, and Abaddon has no covering.
    [Psa 6:5] For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who can give you praise?
    [Psa 9:17] The wicked shall depart to Sheol, all the nations that forget God.
    [Psa 16:10] For you do not give me up to Sheol, or let your faithful one see the Pit.
    [Psa 18:5] the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. [Psa 18:6] In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.
    [Psa 30:3] O LORD, you brought up my soul from Sheol, restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.
    [Psa 31:17] Do not let me be put to shame, O LORD, for I call on you; let the wicked be put to shame; let them go dumbfounded to Sheol.
    [Psa 49:14] Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol; Death shall be their shepherd; straight to the grave they descend, and their form shall waste away; Sheol shall be their home.
    [Psa 49:15] But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me. Selah
    [Psa 55:15] Let death come upon them; let them go down alive to Sheol; for evil is in their homes and in their hearts. [Psa 55:16] But I call upon God, and the LORD will save me.
    [Psa 86:13] For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the DEPTHS of Sheol.
    (There are three levels of Sheol. The lowest and second depth contain fire. The last level does not contain fire but the souls there have a GREAT yearnng for GOD whom they can not yet be with but someday shall.)
    [Psa 88:3] For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol.
    [Psa 88:4] I am counted among those who go down to the Pit; I am like those who have no help, [Psa 88:5] like those forsaken among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, like those whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand. [Psa 88:6] You have put me in the depths of the Pit, in the regions dark and deep. [Psa 88:7] Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and you overwhelm me with all your waves, Sheol
    [Psa 116:3] The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. [Psa 116:4] Then I called on the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I pray, save my life!” [Psa 116:5] Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful. [Psa 116:6] The LORD protects the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me. [Psa 116:7] Return, O my soul, to your rest, for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you. [Psa 116:8] For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. [Psa 116:9] I walk before the LORD in the land of the living. [Psa 116:10] I kept my faith, even when I said, “I am greatly afflicted”; [Psa 116:11] I said in my consternation, “Everyone is a liar.” [Psa 116:12] What shall I return to the LORD for all his bounty to me?
    [Psa 141:7] Like a rock that one breaks apart and shatters on the land, so shall their bones be strewn at the mouth of Sheol.
    [Prov 1:12] like Sheol let us swallow them alive and whole, like those who go down to the Pit.
    [Prov 5:5] Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol.
    [Prov 7:27] Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death.
    [Prov 9:18] But they do not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.
    [Prov 15:11] Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the LORD, how much more human hearts!
    [Prov 15:24] For the wise the path of life leads upward, in order to avoid Sheol below.
    [Prov 23:14] If you beat them with the rod, you will save their lives from Sheol.
    Prov 27:20] Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, and human eyes are never satisfied.
    [Prov 30:16] Sheol, the barren womb, the earth ever thirsty for water, and the fire that never says, “Enough.”
    [Eccl 9:10] Whatever your hand finds to do, do with your might; for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.
    [Isa 5:14] Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite and opened its mouth beyond measure; the nobility of Jerusalem and her multitude go down, her throng and all who exult in her.
    [Isa 7:11] Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.
    [Isa 14:9] Sheol beneath is stirred up to meet you when you come; it rouses the shades to greet you, all who were leaders of the earth; it raises from their thrones all who were kings of the nations.
    [Isa 14:11] Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, and the sound of your harps; maggots are the bed beneath you, and worms are your covering.
    [Isa 14:15] But you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit.
    [Isa 28:15] Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we have an agreement; when the overwhelming scourge passes through it will not come to us; for we have made lies our refuge, and in falsehood we have taken shelter”;
    [Isa 28:18] Then your covenant with death will be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol will not stand; when the overwhelming scourge passes through you will be beaten down by it. [Isa 28:19] As often as it passes through, it will take you; for morning by morning it will pass through, by day and by night; and it will be sheer terror to understand the message.
    [Isa 38:18] For Sheol cannot thank you, death cannot praise you; those who go down to the Pit cannot hope for your faithfulness. [Isa 38:19] The living, the living, they thank you, as I do this day; fathers make known to children your faithfulness. [Isa 38:20] The LORD will save me, and we will sing to stringed instruments all the days of our lives, at the house of the LORD.
    [Ezek 31:15] Thus says the Lord GOD: On the day it went down to Sheol I closed the deep over it and covered it; I restrained its rivers, and its mighty waters were checked. I clothed Lebanon in gloom for it, and all the trees of the field fainted because of it.
    [Ezek 31:16] I made the nations quake at the sound of its fall, when I cast it down to Sheol WITH those who go down to the Pit; (Three different levels they are speaking about) and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that were well watered, were consoled in the world below.
    [Ezek 31:17] They also went down to Sheol with it, to those killed by the sword, along with its allies, those who lived in its shade among the nations.
    [Ezek 32:21] The mighty chiefs shall speak of them, with their helpers, out of the midst of Sheol: “They have come down, they lie still, the uncircumcised, killed by the sword.”
    [Ezek 32:27] And they do not lie with the fallen warriors of long ago who went down to Sheol with their weapons of war, whose swords were laid under their heads, and whose shields are upon their bones; for the terror of the warriors was in the land of the living.
    [Hosea 13:14] Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem them from Death? O Death, where are your plagues? O Sheol, where is your destruction? Compassion is hidden from my eyes.
    [Amos 9:2] Though they dig into Sheol, from there shall my hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, from there I will bring them down.
    [Jonah 2:2] saying, “I called to the LORD out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.
    [Hab 2:5] Moreover, wealth is treacherous; the arrogant do not endure. They open their throats wide as Sheol; like Death they never have enough. They gather all nations for themselves, and collect all peoples as their own. [Hab 2:6] Shall not everyone taunt such people and, with mocking riddles, say about them, “Alas for you who heap up what is not your own!” How long will you load yourselves with goods taken in pledge?
    Any questions or comments, write or call

  • Snake

    I hope you find my small thesis will clear up your misconceptions. Remember GOD (the Trinity which Jesus is part of) cannot make a mistake, and THEY INSPIRED the Writers of the Holy Scriptures. Thus they DID in fact mention Purgatory.

    Yours in Christ


  • GeneDe

    Wrong. The authority or argument is not circular. It comes from Christ Himself: he who hears you, hears ME, and he who reject you, rejects Me and He who sent Me. Before He ascended, He told His disciples that when He ascended, He would send the Paraclete to guide and teach all truth; translation, the authority to teach faith and morals infallibly. But of course, historical truth — especially that proved from the Bible — means nothing to those who do not want to accept truth (the correct meaning of a fact/truth). That is why there are, today, hundreds if not thousands of protestant sects floating around. And for those who are non-believers of anything, I love the idea of “natural selection” as why I have two eyes placed right where they are supposed to be, etc.. May God enlighten you. And have a very merry and joyous Christmas, celebrating the birth of the Savior of mankind; you too.

  • Snake

    Dear Bill

    At the bottom of this notations, I have written a thesis for you in regards to Purgatory.
    Now second question. Do you believe in PROVEN Science? Do you believe in the scientific method? Do you believe LIFE can spontaneously spring from non living matter.

    If you could answer these questions we can progress on a science level.

    Yours in Christ

  • Bill S

    “I have asked many, many people this question, and frequently am assured that my interlocutor does not believe that his religion is the one, true, religion.”

    Well that is a good thing. We all should be like that. It is like being at a town meeting and one resident thinks he’s right and everyone else is wrong. And the polite people who say “I know that some think otherwise and I respect their opinion…” give the opinionated guy vindication because he thinks he is right and everyone else admits that they might be wrong. He is the only one who knows he is right. Everyone else is open to other opinions.

  • Bill S

    “Remember GOD (the Trinity which Jesus is part of) cannot make a mistake, and THEY INSPIRED the Writers of the Holy Scriptures.”

    The idea that the Christian God cannot make a mistake and that the Church speaks for that God so it cannot make a mistake and the Church authorized the scriptures in the Bible so they cannot be wrong and the scriptures say tha God can be wrong, etc. has no impartiality to it whatsoever

  • Bill S

    “The authority or argument is not circular. It comes from Christ Himself: he who hears you, hears ME, and he who rejects you, rejects Me and He who sent Me.”

    And how do we know that Jesus said that? The Gospel.

    And how do we know the Gospel is true? Because the Church says it is.

    And how do we know the Church is always right? Because the Gospel says it is.

    It is one big circular argument. Think it out for yourself.

  • You’re confusing being opinionated with giving the assent of one’s intellect to the revealed truth. Leaving out revelation for a moment, epistemological certitude about natural truths does not make one “opinionated,” either.

    If an adult possessed of a sound mind told me that two plus two are four — the thinks — but might be something else, because he doesn’t want to be too opinionated about the thing, I’d know we’re dealing with someone who had been taught badly. That kind of idiocy is the product of bad philosophy (or ill will).

    So is atheism.

  • Neihan

    The scriptures are not true because they have been approved by the Church. I can be sure of their truth because they have been approved by the Church.

    The Church doesn’t derive its authority from the scriptures. The Church existed before the scriptures were written, and long before the scriptures were canonized. It was members of the Church who wrote the scriptures, and members of the Church who selected what books would be in scriptures.

    But this is straying from the topic at hand. If I was going to discuss the Church with an atheist I wouldn’t bother to cite scriptures as I would if I were discussing things with a Protestant. Atheists tend to beg the question when it comes to materialism, and so discount anything which deals with the supernatural as necessarily untrue. So when I was an atheist it was pointless to bring up scriptures, and likewise I find it usually pointless when dealing with atheists now that I am not one.

  • Bill S

    “Atheists tend to beg the question when it comes to materialism, and so discount anything which deals with the supernatural as necessarily untrue.”

    That correct in general as most atheists are materialists first and foremost. If by supernatural you mean gods, angels, demons, spirits, heaven, he’ll, etc., then I do agree with atheists that there is no supernatural in that sense. But if you mean things that are beyond the natural material universe, I kind believe that the intelligence behind all this (and there obviously is one) would have to be supernatural. I wouldn’t call it a god though because gods are mythical and imaginary and the intelligence is very real. Carl Sagan called it the Cosmos, the order of the universe.

  • Bill S

    I am not opinionated just because I say 2+2=4 because that is a mathematical fact. But if I am sure that my religion is the one true one and that my god is the only one that is real and all others are either demons or myths, then I am very opinionated if I go around telling other people what I believe to be the truth.

  • Ipse dixit. Just as naturally observable facts have a criteriology, so, too have supernaturally revealed facts.

    If what you say is true, then the believing Jews of the Old Testament were all opinionated, including King David when he wrote, “For all the gods of the Gentiles are devils: but the Lord made the heavens” (Ps. 95:5). Jesus, too, of whom you elsewhere said that he was “by far the most important person that ever lived,” would be opinionated, and not a teacher of truth.

  • Bill S

    “For all the gods of the Gentiles are devils: but the Lord made the heavens”

    Yes. That would be King David’s opinion stated in a very opinionated way. As would “nobody goes the the Father except through me” again putting down all other religions and worldviews and saying that everyone else is wrong or lost or in darkness. Give me a break.

  • You have your break.

  • Bill S

    I shouldn’t have said “Give me a break”. That was disrespectful. Sorry.

  • James


  • Accepted, Bill S. No problem.

  • James

    “And how do we know the Church is always right? Because the Gospel says it is.”
    We wouldn’t even have the Gospel today if it weren’t for the Church, so I’d say it’s the Church all along. Just look at the history. It doesn’t have to be a circular argument. You’re the one making a circle out of it.

  • Bill S

    “We wouldn’t even have the Gospel today if it weren’t for the Church…” And the only reason that we say that the Church is God’s voice is because the Gospel says so. That is very circular.

  • Bill S

    You’re a good man, Brother.

  • GeneDe

    The “argument” is one of authority given to the Church by Our Lord and guided by the Holy Ghost — for 2,000 years. If one does not accept that authority, then there is chaos, and there is, as we can see in the world around us — yes, even in those “progressives” in the Church.

    But I’m wondering about why an atheist is debating on a Catholic website? Can it be that there is something way back in the recesses of your mind that is yearning and searching? Can you be responding to what we call grace? I personally know atheists, communists, Muslims, Jews and Protestants that have converted to the Catholic Faith. It would be nice to see another…. God’s Blessings.

  • Dogma Cristãos

    Please shorten your comments! It is impossible to follow your reasoning :). As you quoted the Old Testament, I only have one question: The Jews believe in Hell / Purgatory?

    No. Yes, they believe in some punishment to sinners, but nothing more. You put it well that Hell / Sheol is a kind of purgatory, since the difference is the purpose and the means of punishment. But consider also that SHEON at all can be equal to Hell. Lets see the translation:

    Hell – Hades – Sheol. meanings:

    Sheol: tomb, grave.
    Hade: UNDERWORLD where good and bad people are in the reign of HADES. In this underworld, would be other places: Tártaro, Campos Elísios. In some Greek theology, one should go down to Hades to purify after been reincarnated many times.
    Hell : A place where sinners will be punished. NO WAY OUT!

    See? It is not water! It is H2O. Where is the reencarnation that Greeks believe?

    Download the BibleWork and check the “Apparatus Criticus”. Also read some books from Brusce Metzger.

  • Bill S

    “If one does not accept that authority, then there is chaos, and there is, as we can see in the world around us…”

    It does seem true that this would be a very different world if we all followed Catholic teaching. But much of it seems incorrect and the Church insists that it can never be wrong in matters of morals and dogma. That’s just not right.

  • Bill S

    “The “argument” is one of authority given to the Church by Our Lord and guided by the Holy Ghost — for 2,000 years.”

    If that is true that would be a good thing. I just don’t believe a book authorized by the Church that authorizes the Church. Something fishy in that.

  • GeneDe

    Again, Bill, it is a matter of accepting — submitting — to authority. We all have a problem submitting to authority sometimes, right? Look, who wants to be limited in what we can do? We prefer license — to do what we want. I drifted away from my Catholic Faith for many, many years after I returned from Vietnam; I did what I wanted to do: drank, did all sorts of things. But I’m back now, and will not abandon my Master again (read: I will try like the angel not to commit a mortal sin for the rest of my life). His gift is too precious. But the gift comes through His Church: sacraments, the remission of sin through confession, doing what is right according to the natural law and revealed divine law, etc. I really do wish you well in this Advent season, leading up to the birth of the Savior. The doors are always open for anyone to see a good priest and talk things over. A merry Christmas to you and yours.

  • James

    The reason I say it is because that’s what history says. You keep making it circular.

  • Bill S


    I am a slave to stupid silly addictions and OCD. You seem to derive the strength and hope to help overcome your own demons.

  • James

    “I just don’t believe a book authorized by the Church that authorizes the Church.”
    What about a Constitution authorized by the Government that authorizes the Government?

  • Bill S

    Yes to proven science. Yes to scientific method. Don’t know about spontaneous generation of life. Life, consciousness, love, joy and all emotions are beyond my understanding but I do not think anyone from thousands of years ago had any answers for any of it.

  • Bill S

    Governments can adopt constitutions that give them authority. That is true. And if Jesus really told Peter that upon this rock he will build his church and that was recorded in a document and Peter said, “yes, that is what Jesus said to me” and declared that the document should be distributed to all followers then yes, I suppose that is appropriate. But it still begs for some kind of verification and confirmation.

  • James

    “But it still begs for some kind of verification and confirmation.”

    That verification and confirmation comes from the Catholic Church. That’s why it’s not a circular argument.

    “Note that this is not a circular argument. We are not basing the inspiration of the Bible on the Church’s infallibility and the Church’s infallibility on the word of an inspired Bible. That indeed would be a circular argument! What we have is really a spiral argument. On the first level we argue to the reliability of the Bible insofar as it is history. From that we conclude that an infallible Church was founded. And then we take the word of that infallible Church that the Bible is inspired. This is not a circular argument because the final conclusion (the Bible is inspired) is not simply a restatement of its initial finding (the Bible is historically reliable), and its initial finding (the Bible is historically reliable) is in no way based on the final conclusion (the Bible is inspired). What we have demonstrated is that without the existence of the Church, we could never know whether the Bible is inspired.”

  • Bill S

    If the Gospel does accurately report that Jesus gave Peter authority and therefore his successors then the Church does represent Jesus through the Papacy. If the Church used that authority to canonize the books in the Bible and if the Church represents Jesus, who is God then we could look at the Bible as the Word of God. That is a lot of “ifs”.

  • James

    We accept other writings that old, and with fewer manuscripts, as historically reliable; so we should have no problem accepting the Bible, which has many more manuscripts, as historically reliable.

    “Sir Frederic Kenyon, in The Story of the Bible, notes that “For all the works of classical antiquity we have to depend on manuscripts written long after their original composition. The author who is the best case in this respect is Virgil, yet the earliest manuscript of Virgil that we now possess was written some 350 years after his death. For all other classical writers, the interval between the date of the author and the earliest extant manuscript of his works is much greater. For Livy it is about 500 years, for Horace 900, for most of Plato 1,300, for Euripides 1,600.” Yet no one seriously disputes that we have accurate copies of the works of these writers. However, in the case of the New Testament we have parts of manuscripts dating from the first and early second centuries, only a few decades after the works were penned. Not only are the biblical manuscripts that we have older than those for classical authors, we have in sheer numbers far more manuscripts from which to work. Some are whole books of the Bible, others fragments of just a few words, but there are literally thousands of manuscripts in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Coptic, Syriac, and other languages. This means that we can be sure we have an authentic text, and we can work from it with confidence.”
    -From the same article I linked before
    I think that gets rid of a few “ifs.”

  • Snake

    You did not follow the progression of LANGUAGES. Thus if you HAD then you would have noticed they are TWO different comcepts.

    1. Hell is forever you do not get out. Has a different word in both Hebrew, GREEK, LATIN, ENGLISH then SHEOL.

    2. Sheol is for a LIMITED amount of time and scriptures clearly states GOD removes you FROM SHEOL.

    3. Yes the Jewish religion did believe in Sheol/Purgatory, It is CLEARLY mentioned in Macc 2 which I already quoted.

    4. Since our Scriptures has been translated into these major languages, it is clear Sheol IS Purgatory. Same place.
    5. Other people have no problem following my logic. Read it slowly and thus you shall understand the PROGRESSION of languages.

    6. You cannot attempt to put your OWN meanings which counter Holy Scripture meanings. The meanings were SET in that time period, not something we desire it to be, but is. I suggest you read the scriptures in Aramaic or Biblical Hebrew. You can find them online. And as scripture clearly states, Private interpretation is NOT from the Holy Spirit. If it was, the protestants would have only one interpretation because God does not change.

    The Greek Catholics used the word Hades because it fit within the scope of their reasoning of TEMPORARY punishment. They did not INCLUDE Greek religion. Same with the Romans.

    Yours in Christ


  • Bill S

    What is the fascination with ancient thinking and stories? What did they know that we don’t know and even more?

  • Dogma Cristãos

    Many Hebrew nouns are derived from the verbal form, the verbal root of Sheol means bury.
    In fact, it is right, in a sense, translate Sheol to Hades because both Sheol and in Hades are neutral places, as having good and bad people. It was the work of Septuagenta that made a “defensible” translation – but incorrect – in Sheol to Hades, the best would be not to translate. However, the tradition erroneously associated Hades meaning hell – and it was done in the Vulgate. Remember, Hades has the Champs Elysees and Tartalo (hell). Some Bibles does not translate Sheol to Hell or Hades, as the Jerusalem Bible.

    The place of punishment for the Hebrews would be Gehenna, as you mentioned, and so has nothing to do with Sheol. Translate Sheol to Hades is defensible, but translate to Hell is an exegetical error because they mean different things.

    In Hades, the place of punishment would be Tartalo. So I believe the correct order would be:

    Sheol – Hades – Underworld (spiritual world)
    Gehenna – Tartalo – Hell

    Only in the Hellenistic period of the Jews, the word “Tartalo” is used, for example in the book of Enoch, chapter 20, verse 2 (book written in the II century BC) … despite being apocryphal, St. Paul makes reference Enoch … and Lucas which is Greek (Luke 16, 23). See that Lucas refers to Hades and not to Hell, due to the mythological narrative. Pedro also makes reference to the Book of Enoch (2 Peter, chapter 2, verse 4). In this case, the translation is correct.

    But lets go to the Old Testament. Take the Book of Job:

    “Sheol is naked before [God], And Abaddon hath the covering.” Job 26: 6

    Then you can translate Sheol to Hell? But how would the other passage:

    “Oh que thou wouldest hide me in Sheol, That thou wouldest keep me secret, Until thy wrath be past, That thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!” Job 14:13.

    So if Sheol is Hell / Purgatory, why hide? Can anyone be hidden in Hell?

  • James

    I don’t know what you’re getting at.

  • Bill S

    Why do we learn about God from ancient scriptures? Why did God make himself known to humans in obscure times and places instead of now?

  • James

    Do you think anybody would be asking those questions 5000 years ago or even 2000 years ago? We don’t just learn about God from the ancient scriptures. That’s why we have the living Church to teach us. Besides, we can know God exists just by using our reason.

  • Bill S

    “We don’t just learn about God from the ancient scriptures. That’s why we have the living Church to teach us.”

    The Church bases its teachings on ancient scriptures that are of no use to us now.

  • James

    Why do you think they’re of no use to us now? If you’re referring to the New Testament, the Church wrote those ancient scriptures. Not all the teachings were written down either. That’s why we have Tradition. Again, we wouldn’t have those scriptures or traditions today if it wasn’t for the Catholic Church.

  • Snake

    Can you tell me where your authority and by whom given to you to interpret the scriptures.

    If you read scriptures which I quoted, it clearly states the difference between hell and Purgatory, And Jesus who is GOD even stated the existence of hell with punishment everlasting, not just for a period of time as in Sheol. Origen went off the deep end for a while if you review history.

    Now WHO was the authority who stated what books were to be contained in the bible and what year was that established?

    The Church came first, the Holy Scriptures came second. Waiting for you to tell everyone the answers to the two questions I presented.

  • Snake

    Simple, no one tells God what to do. HE does what HE desires when HE wants and the time HE wants

  • Snake

    So you believe the Big 10 are no use to us now? Please explain

  • Snake

    No Catholic on this board SEEMS to derived the strength and hope to overcome our own demons. We simply follow Church teachings.

  • Snake

    show us one thing which has changed in our dogma? Dogma has been further explained but not turned about

    Waiting for your answer.

  • Snake

    How many Miracles has your church produced that have been under the scope of Science?

  • Snake

    200 years ago the spontaneous generation of life was concluded by science. They have (and I am a scientist with seven patents so I know what I am speaking about.) stated it is impossible. They have made with simple acids a semblance of life but no higher forms of life. ANy higher form was taken by cells and grown so there already was a base. Do you believe this statement I have just presented?

  • Snake

    God Jesus stated Gehenna. The Jews believed the fire pits outside the city was the gate to hell.

    Remember I am not combining pagan religion with Catholic doctrine which you are attempting to do.

    Also I have asked where you receive the authority to interpret the scriptures.

    Hell is ever lasting where the worm does not die. Also in Rev if you remember correctly the Sheep go to heaven and the goats go to hell – Forever

  • Bill S

    If we ever find out how life came about on this planet, I think it will be just as amazing as it would be to meet God in person.

  • Bill S

    There has never been scientific proof of a miracle anywhere. There have been things that science could not explain that some would therefore conclude is miraculous.

  • Bill S

    Following Church teachings can help us live more disciplined lives and feel better about ourselves even if the teachings are incorrect. We can receive the Eucharist and feel a sense of inner strength without it actually being the Body of Christ. It can be psychological.

  • Bill S

    We all have many more laws and guidelines that make the Ten Commandments either redundant or irrelevant.

  • Bill S

    We are better off learning the laws of nature which are not unpredictable the way your god is. He can do anything he wants? So he can be fickle and distribute blessings and curses in an arbitrary and capricious manner? Who needs a god like that?

  • Bill S

    In this modern world, we have the information we need without ancient scriptures.

  • James


  • James

    It’s not about feelings or a “sense of inner strength.” It’s about being in the state of grace.

  • James

    The natural law is always relevant.

  • James

    “arbitrary and capricious”?
    Not sure which “god” you’re talking about, but it’s not the real God.

  • James

    If anything, the modern laws are redundant. The natural law and the 10 commandments came first.

  • There’s so much to love about Purgatory, I don’t know why anyone would deny it. It makes perfect sense according to what we know of God’s infinite mercy – which desires the salvation even of those who lived their entire long lives blaspheming, cursing, and breaking every one of the Commandments, and who, moments before their death, are still in mortal sin, but who are blessed to have a faithful and persuasive priest on the way – and His infinite justice, which requires payment to the last penny for every last one of our transgressions, however small. Purgatory is one of those blessings, like indulgences, that seems too good to be true. But that only says something about us – and nothing flattering.

  • Bill S

    That is a gross oversimplification of modern laws.

  • Bill S

    If you look at the good and bad fortunes of people, there does not seem to be any consistency to how they are dealt their fates. That is what would make a god who controls every person’s fate look to be acting in an arbitrary and capricious manner.

  • Bill S

    It depends on what you mean when you say natural law. You seem to distinguish natural law from law of nature such as gravity.

  • Bill S

    When a person thinks they are in a “state of grace” they feel really good about themself. From that good feeling they feel strength and hope that they might not feel otherwise. That is what I miss as a nonbeliever.

  • Bill S

    We have laws, regulations, rules of etiquette, codes of ethics and professional behavior, etc.

  • James

    You have to factor in free will.

  • James

    Well then there’s no redundancy, is there?

  • James

    Correct, I’m not talking about science. The natural law is our sense of right and wrong. Everyone has it, but not everyone lives by it.

  • James

    True, and those are all based on the natural law.
    The Church and the ancient scriptures tell us how to get to heaven. Do any of the ‘modern laws’ do that?

  • James

    God allows us to reject Him, and He never takes that choice away from us.

  • James

    “When a person thinks they are in a “state of grace” they feel really good about themselves.”
    Not necessarily. Jesus Christ is God, but do you think He felt good on the cross? His Mother was full of grace all her life, but do you think she felt good when her Son was on the cross? A Catholic can go to confession and come out knowing he’s in the state of grace, but still feel remorse for offending God in the first place.
    It’s not about feelings. You can get high and feel good too. It’s about knowing that you’re doing right.

  • Bill S

    All things being equal, Catholics feel better thinking they are in a state of grace and worse when they think they are in a state of sin. I’m not saying that is a bad thing but it really isn’t the way the universe operates.

  • James

    “…it really isn’t the way the universe operates”
    It’s the way the conscience operates.

  • Bill S

    Yes. Conscience is a good thing. If more people had more sensitive consciences this world would be much better.