Is the Rich Man in Purgatory or Hell? (Lk 16:19-31)


I’m trying to square a few references with one another to answer this question.

On the one hand, most of the citations from St. Thomas Aquinas’ Catena Aurea indicate that he is in hell (of the damned). However, in my Navarre Bible, I ran across a quote from Bl. John Paul II that made me take a step back and reconsider. He writes

“the rich man and Lazarus are both human beings, both of them equally created in the image and likeness of God, both of them equally redeemed by Christ, at a great price, the price of the ‘precious blood of Christ.’” (Bl. John Paul II, Homliy in Yankee Stadium, 2 October 1979)

The part I’m trying to understand is when Bl. Jaul Paul II says the rich man is equally redeemed by Christ as Lazarus.

It makes me reconsider the uncrossable chasm (cf. Lk 16:26) phenominologically from the perspective of Abraham. Could it be that Abraham tells the rich man the chasm is uncrossable, implying uncrossable and fixed at that moment of their conversation?

Considering Bl. John Paul II says the rich man is equally redeemed as Lazarus, is there room to suggest that Abraham patiently awaits the coming of the Messiah Who will be able to bridge the chasm and eventually redeem the rich man?

Any help you can provide would be grreatly appreciated.


Charles Vaughan

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