Is the devil good for punishing bad people.

This was the question asked by one of my students in confirmation class.

Of course, the answer is no but I found myself unable to explain why to my satisfaction.

I’ve looked for an answer at this website but found none. Googling the question shows that this is not the first time it was asked but none of the sites where it was asked look like a reliable place to get an answer (rather than someone’s opinion).

How does the church answer this question?

Hi,

I don’t know that the Church has a formal answer to this specific question. The question suggests that Satan punishes bad people. There is nothing in Scripture to suggest that Satan punishes any people—good or bad. St. Thomas Aquinas would say that he hates us out of jealously since as the result of the Incarnation and Passion, we have been enabled to end up higher than the angels—and therefore, himself. So he hates us and continually tries to keep this from happening by tempting us to sin.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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