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  #1  
Old May 19, '11, 8:41 pm
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sidetrack sidetrack is offline
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Default What is the difference between Purgatory,Limbo and Sheol?

I'm not very about Purgatory and if it's a Catholic teaching.I mean if someone told me that it is a teaching then I will believe in it.The concept seems simple. Those who die in God's grace and with his friendship but who are'nt "pure enough" yet go there before they go to Heaven and we can help them by praying for them.However I remember reading an article in my local newspaper years ago saying that it is a concept that the Church is thinking about dropping.That is what kind of confuses me.I really dont understand what Limbo is though.It's not just like another word for Purgatory is it?.Was it the place where like holy people such as prophets went to before Jesus was ressurected?.Alsowould Limbo be like a place close to heck for oppurtunists (I'm saying that because I mean people who never really take sides between good or bad,but not neccesarily "neutral".I mean people who might take a side but not out of like principles but because of the benefits they'll get) who might get a chance of going "up or down" if someone prays for them or something to that effect?.There's also this place called "Shel" that I looked up recently on wikipedia as
"a place of darkness to which all dead go regardless of the moral choices made in life and where they are "removed from the light of God" (see the Book of Job)....It is unclear whether Sheol was to be considered a real place or a way of describing the unknown status of a person's conscious being.".I'm hoping that you people of this forums will explain these (out of lack of better words) "afterlife realms" to me.Thank you very much so for your time.
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  #2  
Old May 19, '11, 8:46 pm
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OscarsMama OscarsMama is offline
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Default Re: What is the difference between Purgatory,Limbo and Sheol?

I always thought that Sheol and Purgatory are the same place. The Jewish people called Purgatory Sheol. And Limbo is where people go who are not baptised.


But I am excited for somebody who knows for sure to answer this post!!!
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  #3  
Old May 20, '11, 12:01 am
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svid2 svid2 is offline
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Default Re: What is the difference between Purgatory,Limbo and Sheol?

No, they're not thinking of dropping Purgatory from the deposit of faith. It's real, and most Christians seem to spend some time there, I believe.

About Sheol, I'm not sure. Ask someone knowledgable about Judaism.

Limbo is controversial. It's not official Church teaching. Some saints, theologians and others put stock in it, others don't.
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  #4  
Old May 20, '11, 12:25 am
GEddie GEddie is online now
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Default Re: What is the difference between Purgatory,Limbo and Sheol?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OscarsMama View Post
I always thought that Sheol and Purgatory are the same place. The Jewish people called Purgatory Sheol. And Limbo is where people go who are not baptised.


But I am excited for somebody who knows for sure to answer this post!!!
Well, I hope to be that somebody; human eschatology is one of my passions.

Sheol and Purgatory were not, categorically, the same. During the OT, human eschatology was only very dimly understood (comparatively to our still dim understanding since our LORD's time). Sheol in the OT, comparable to contemporary Greek Hades or the Babylonian underworlds, was a place where dead human beings were sent, to maintain their being in a diminished state. It was a place inferior to natural human life, but not one of punishment, per se. Virtue and sin did not enter into it; based on the OT, everybody went to Sheol.

Over the millennium between the Israelite covenant and our LORD, prophetic writings slowly gave light to the matter; for example, the Ezekiel dry bones vision which for the first time taught the prospect of a physical resurrection to Life Everlasting; but for the most part, human eschatology remained uncertain, to where a major Jewish faction (the Sadducees) at the time of our LORD denied a human resurrection.

Not until the NT was the human eschatology filled out, to where people could aspire to Life Everlasting with our LORD, but the possibility of a punitive Hell emerged as the obverse of this hope.

And Purgatory has been taught only in Catholic times. In essence, it is preparatory for the fullness of Heaven, through "working off" our attachment to sin that we did not overcome before our death. It is not unviersal, as Sheol was thought to be, although most of us who are not saints or martyrs, will most likely have to do a "stint" of Purgatory.

Limbo has never been a formal teaching of the Church. It was proposed philosophically as a a venue for human beings who died in original sin, since no sin can enter Heaven; however, the Church has never taught that "all unbaptized people" go there, since that would mean that all members of non-Christian faiths would go to Limbo (since none have baptism). This was never taught by the Church.

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  #5  
Old May 20, '11, 3:37 am
laszlo laszlo is offline
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Default Re: What is the difference between Purgatory,Limbo and Sheol?

Sheol is the place where the ancient people believed to go after death. This was real and transitory place. People there ultimately ended up either in the heaven or in the hell. Inside the Sheol the place of those who get to the heaven with Jesus after His death is called also Limbo of Patriarchs.

Purgatory is a transitory place toward the heaven, for the people who need to obtain wedding garment, which is necessary o met God in heaven. Everyone in the Purgatory will go to heaven.

Limbo (of infants) is a theological opinion as a place for those who die without baptism or merit on their own (unbaptized infants). If exists, it is part of the hell but without torment. The recent opinion feels that such place does not exists, Christ's sacrifice paid entirely for the original sin, and he draws to Himself everyone who do not resist actively on his/her own.
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Old May 20, '11, 9:53 am
wsxyz wsxyz is offline
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Default Re: What is the difference between Purgatory,Limbo and Sheol?

Purgatory is the state of souls who can be helped by prayers after death. Souls in hell cannot be helped by prayer. Souls in Heaven don't need help. So Purgatory is someplace separate from Heaven and hell. The existence of Purgatory to the exist I have just described is a dogma of the Church.

There are two Limbos. The Limbo of the fathers was the place where the souls of the just went while awaiting the resurrection of Christ, as Heaven was closed to the souls of men before that time. We mention Limbo of the fathers in the Apostles Creed when we say that "[Christ] descended into hell."

The Limbo of infants is a place which is assumed to be the final state of those persons (such as unbaptized infants) who die in original sin, but who have committed no actual sin. The Council of Florence, in the 6th Session, stated:

the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go down straightaway to hell to be punished, but with unequal pains.

The Roman Catechism, published after the Council of Trent states:

Since infant children have no other means of salvation except Baptism, we may easily understand how grievously those persons sin who permit them to remain without the grace of the Sacrament longer than necessity may require

The idea of Limbo of the infants is predicated upon the assumption that, while the souls of unbaptized infants, based on the constant teaching of the Church, cannot go to Heaven, that they will not suffer eternal torments in hell because they are not personally responsible for any sin. Limbo of the infants would then be seen as, technically, a part of hell, but practically a place where there is no suffering, and the persons there would exist in a state of natural happiness.
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  #7  
Old May 20, '11, 9:59 am
wsxyz wsxyz is offline
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Default Re: What is the difference between Purgatory,Limbo and Sheol?

Quote:
Originally Posted by laszlo View Post
Limbo (of infants) is a theological opinion as a place for those who die without baptism or merit on their own (unbaptized infants). If exists, it is part of the hell but without torment. The recent opinion feels that such place does not exists
That recent opinion is not authoritative and contradicts the constant doctrine of the Church that baptism is necessary for salvation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by laszlo View Post
Christ's sacrifice paid entirely for the original sin, and he draws to Himself everyone who do not resist actively on his/her own.
If that were true then there would be no need to baptize children who had not yet reached the age of reason.

But the Council of Trent says:

If any one denies, that infants, newly born from their mothers' wombs, even though they be sprung from baptized parents, are to be baptized; or says that they are baptized indeed for the remission of sins, but that they derive nothing of original sin from Adam, which has need of being expiated by the laver of regeneration for the obtaining life everlasting,--whence it follows as a consequence, that in them the form of baptism, for the remission of sins, is understood to be not true, but false, let him be anathema.
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  #8  
Old May 20, '11, 10:36 am
losh14 losh14 is offline
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Default Re: What is the difference between Purgatory,Limbo and Sheol?

Let me try to help:

Short answer:
Heaven is the swimming pool.
Purgatory is the shower before the pool.
Limbo is the kiddie pool.
Sheol is a pool without water but it's otherwise pleasant outside.

Long answer:
Purgatory is an attempt to resolve the tension between two facts:
* Only those who are perfect may enter Heaven
* Most of us aren't perfect by the time of death

So Purgatory is seen as a means by which God makes we who are saved ready for life in Heaven. It's also seen as a place in the sense that Heaven is also a place, and as such Purgatory will cease to exist when the last soul is made perfect. This is a Catholic concept that most Protestants reject because of the practice of indulgences for the souls in Purgatory. However, most Protestants agree that there is some means by which the sinner is made perfect, or "Heaven-ready". Some say it happens with justification (though that doesn't explain future attachment to sin), others that it happens after death or is death itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sidetrack View Post
I remember reading an article in my local newspaper years ago saying that it is a concept that the Church is thinking about dropping.
The papers almost never get anything Catholic correct. No, we weren't dropping it, not at all, but revisiting the concept after it hadn't been widely discussed for quite some time. Same with Limbo.

Limbo is the resolution of another tension:
* Original Sin condemns the unbaptized
* Baptism is required for salvation
* So what happens to babies who die before they are baptized?

So Limbo is not a place but a state in which the unbaptized but innocent of personal sin (including babies and any person who is mentally deficient in some way as to not be culpable for personal sin) exist for eternity. It is sometimes thought of as Heaven, but without the Beatific Vision. In other words, those in Limbo will know joy and peace for eternity but will not see the Face of God.

Sheol is a Jewish idea for the afterlife, not necessarily a place of punishment (Hell) but rather of dwelling, and so is similar to the Greek Hades. There is no analogue in Christian eschatology - Sheol doesn't exist from Jesus on, other than in the non-canonical Book of Enoch in which Jesus is depicted as freeing the righteous spirits in Sheol.

Hell isn't mentioned that much in the OT, aside from God's wrath coming down upon the wicked in Sheol. Hell is at times thought of as Gehenna in the NT, which was a trash heap outside the city where carcasses were tossed to rot, but then takes on a clear meaning as a place of eternal punishment, especially by Revelation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sidetrack View Post
Alsowould Limbo be like a place close to heck for oppurtunists (I'm saying that because I mean people who never really take sides between good or bad,but not neccesarily "neutral".I mean people who might take a side but not out of like principles but because of the benefits they'll get) who might get a chance of going "up or down" if someone prays for them or something to that effect?
Back up. Opportunists - people who make the right choices out of wrong desires - aren't saved by their choices and even where they have faith they are not living in accord with it. We commend them to God's Mercy but without a living faith in Christ we don't expect them to somehow make it. If you enter Purgatory it is because you will enter Heaven, not because you're unfaithful but someone prayed for you. If you die knowing of God but not loving Him, if you die knowing of Jesus Christ but not accepting His Cross, if you die knowing of the call to Holy and Living Faith but ignoring it, you cannot be saved and no prayers can be effective for them.

There have been made arguments for the so-called "noble pagan" who lives a virtuous life and does what is morally good for the sake of it being morally good, but follows errant gods only out of ignorance of Jesus Christ. These are always commended to God's Mercy, but cannot be seen as a normative means of salvation.
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Old May 20, '11, 11:21 am
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Monica4316 Monica4316 is offline
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Default Re: What is the difference between Purgatory,Limbo and Sheol?

Purgatory is quite definitely a Catholic teaching, it's on the level of dogma I believe.

Purgatory is for everyone who is going to Heaven and doens't have mortal sin (If a person dies in mortal sin they go to hell) - but the people there still have attachments, venial sins, incomplete love for God, etc.. so they get purified so they can love Him perfectly in Heaven.

I think Limbo was always a type of theological opinion and not doctrine...

Sheol - isn't that hades? that's the place people were in before Jesus opened Heaven... possibly it still exists, maybe the same type of thing as purgatory, - but it won't be there after the last Judgement. Then, there would only be the lake of fire (hell) and Heaven and the new earth I guess.
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Old May 20, '11, 2:06 pm
losh14 losh14 is offline
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Default Re: What is the difference between Purgatory,Limbo and Sheol?

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Originally Posted by Monica4316 View Post
I think Limbo was always a type of theological opinion and not doctrine...
I was wrong - Limbo is no more. In 2006, a theological panel of Cardinals presented their findings to the Pope, who agreed, and declared as magisterial teaching that children who die unbaptized die in the hope of the mediation of Christ. So to resolve that theological tension, baptism is necessary but if there is no propensity for guilt, then salvataion is not disinherited.

What impact this may have on the teaching of Original Sin is another matter.
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Old May 20, '11, 2:10 pm
wsxyz wsxyz is offline
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Default Re: What is the difference between Purgatory,Limbo and Sheol?

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Originally Posted by losh14 View Post
I was wrong - Limbo is no more. In 2006, a theological panel of Cardinals presented their findings to the Pope, who agreed, and declared as magisterial teaching that children who die unbaptized die in the hope of the mediation of Christ. So to resolve that theological tension, baptism is necessary but if there is no propensity for guilt, then salvataion is not disinherited.
No. Now you are wrong.

The document of which you speak said that the Church does not know the fate of unbaptized infants and concluded therefrom that (since we don't know), we can hope that they go to Heaven. The possibility that the souls of unbaptized infants don't go to Heaven -- indeed that they might suffer the torments of Hell -- is left wide open.

Furthermore, the document is not magisterial.

The Council of Florence, however, is magisterial, and that council said:

"the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go down straightaway to hell to be punished, but with unequal pains."
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Old May 20, '11, 2:16 pm
wsxyz wsxyz is offline
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Default Re: What is the difference between Purgatory,Limbo and Sheol?

I might add, there is really no reason to get worked up about this.

None of us -- NO PERSON -- has the inherent right to go to Heaven.

Only sanctifying grace gives us that right. And we receive sanctifying grace by baptism.

The traditional belief in Limbo is not making God out to be a big old meanie. Those in Limbo would be happier than any person ever could be on the Earth, but they would not have the beatific vision -- justly -- because they had no right to it, just as we have no right to it apart from the sanctifying grace we received in baptism.
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Old May 20, '11, 9:46 pm
PLAT PLAT is offline
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Default Re: What is the difference between Purgatory,Limbo and Sheol?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wsxyz View Post
I might add, there is really no reason to get worked up about this.

None of us -- NO PERSON -- has the inherent right to go to Heaven.

Only sanctifying grace gives us that right. And we receive sanctifying grace by baptism.

The traditional belief in Limbo is not making God out to be a big old meanie. Those in Limbo would be happier than any person ever could be on the Earth, but they would not have the beatific vision -- justly -- because they had no right to it, just as we have no right to it apart from the sanctifying grace we received in baptism.
So the level of happiness (or otherwise) in order would be like this right?

Heaven
Purgatory --> Heaven

Limbo

Earth

Hell

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