Purgatory in Gehenna?


I was wondering if there’s any precedent in Traditon for believing Purgatory is located in Gehenna. Maybe the Harrowing of Hell could be seen as the “Harrowing of Gehenna.” At least this interpretation of Purgatory would find more support in the NT. 1 Peter 4 for example.

I don’t want to sway by saying too much. Any thoughts?


Deducing from scripture, purgatory couldn’t be in Gehenna, if the torment the rich man was suffering in the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man is accurate. The rich man sees Lazarus in the Bosom of Abraham. He (the rich man) asks for consolation and is told that (and this isn’t verbatim) there is a vast gulf (abyss) between you and Lazarus that you cannot cross over. Well, if purgatory is part of that Gehenna, and one cannot cross from there to eternal life where Lazarus now resides, it would follow that one could not cross from Purgatory to eternal life, which is the exact opposite of what we believe Purgatory to be. Purgatory may just be Gods’ “mud room”
Hope you know what a mud room is. It might be an outdated reference. Oh well.
My $.02


Gehenna is Hell. The ambivalence is with respect to the Hebrew word for Sheol = Hades in Greek. Hades in the OT is the general abode of the dead.


It’s been a long time since I’ve thought of Purgatory as being a place, as having an actual location. To me it’s more of a state, a temporary condition caused by the discrepancy between the imperfections of a human soul as compared with the perfection of God.


I think of Purgatory as the state you’re in and Hell (or Gehenna) as the place you’re at.


Hey joeybaggz, thanks for stating your view so clearly. You might be right. However I’m wary of interpreting that parable in such a literal fashion, so I’m not persuaded.


The souls in Purgatory, though meriting suffering, do not merit the company of the damned.


Anything to back up that claim?


I thought I’d add that it would make sense that Purgatory is taught to be such a nice place because those who teach it probably think they’ll go there. This is in contradistinction to those who teach Hell. Teachers of Hell can make it sound as bad as they want because they do not fear going there as they do Purgatory.

I also think most Catholics today think Purgatory is a cake walk. Telling them it might be in the same place Hell is could do good.


The souls in Purgatory are righteous, and therefore do not deserve to be in the company of unrepentant blasphemers. Neither would it make sense for Jesus to deliver His faithful ones from Satan’s hand only to hand them back over to demons to do as they please.


The tradition of the Church is that Purgatory isn’t in Gehenna, but according to St. Thomas Aquinas, it is part of Hades.

Gehenna is the place where the damned go, which we normally call “Hell”

Hades or the underworld is the realm of the dead, and according to St. Thomas Aquinas following are all part of Hades:

  • Gehenna
  • Purgatory
  • Limbo of the Fathers (place where Old Testament Saints were until Jesus opened the Gates of Heaven)
  • Limbo of the Children (infants)

NOTE: In modern English, Hades is often referred to as “hell” while Gehenna is typically referred to as “Hell” (not the capital H vs lower case h)

I pray this helps. Some additional online resources for you


God bless


Demons don’t torture people in Hell. That’s a myth. St. John’s Revelation clearly teaches they are tormented as well, and I’d imagine their pains in Hell are more severe than the humans.


Thanks for that resource, Phil! It’s definitely important to take St. Thomas’ opinion into account. However, I think he got this one wrong. I know he messed up Limbo, but I’m thinking he also messed up the location of Purgatory.


We’d be lying to each other, then, because the fact is that we just don’t know.


Good point. I personally believe it is, but I certainly wouldn’t mandate other people believe just because it would make them live holier.


Face it, nothing is going to persuade you. There is no objective, substantive, empirical proof of any Catholic belief, right down to the existence of Jesus Himself.

Enjoy interpreting everything to suit your own “beliefs” Better than drawing from something that has been extant for thousands of years.


What’s with the harsh reply? Have we bumped heads on this forum before?

Also, why did you scare quote “beliefs”? Are my beliefs fake ones or something?


What’s with the harsh reply? Have we bumped heads on this forum before?
Also, why did you scare quote “beliefs”? Are my beliefs fake ones or something?

Don’t think we’ve “bumped heads” Didn’t see my reply as harsh, simply direct. Your initial question goes against any and all accepted Catholic traditional teaching on the subject. It seems to be something that someone who lists himself as Catholic would never ask in seriousness, but rather a baiting or trolling post. Have seen a lot of them. Can’t say one way or another if your OP qualifies.

As to the scare quotes. I’ve seen a lot of poster register beliefs that are way off the reservation as legitimate questions for discussion. Such things as fornication being OK if the unmarried persons cannot have children, whether the bread would pass muster as the actual body of Christ if subjected to some off the wall physical test, that discrimination against homosexual men in the priesthood should be banned because it is discriminatory even though the current mess has to do with probably 95% homosexual activity. And on and on. These are “beliefs” of other forum members. Don’t actually know what your beliefs are, but your original question is, like I said earlier, a long ways off the reservation.

I have been responding to an awful lot of “Catholic” posters who are convinced that the Pope is a corrupt leader sanctioning more and more abuse and covering up for cardinals and bishops. And that the majority of priests are abusers and it is going on today. The church is being crucified by events that happened 30 t0 70 years ago by long dead priests and bishops.
I guess I am tired of the antagonism shown by these posters and most of my posts in response to them have been, let’s say, (and I am being generous to myself) curt. I think that may be coming through in answers to “strange” questions like yours.


Dude, chill out. I’m not a troll. And just because I’m not a someone who follows “all accepted Catholic traditional teaching” does not mean I’m not a Catholic or a heretic. Nothing about my question should have prompted you to think I was a fake Catholic or a troll.

Seriously, just because I don’t swallow every traditional teaching I find doesn’t mean you should question my convictions.


And another point. You say my post is strange because I question traditional Catholic teaching. Joeybaggz, how many traditional Catholic teaching do you reject? I bet if you were honest you’d realize you reject a great many. Just because a teaching is found in tradition doesn’t mean it’s true.

But maybe we shouldn’t continue talking. I mean “Face it, nothing is going to persuade you.”

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