St. Thomas Aquinas on the Lazarus/Hell passage

St Thomas Aquinas has a “take” on St Lk 16:19, the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, that i have never heard before. We Catholics don’t have to agree with eveyrthing a saint says, so i am wondering if you CAFers accept his interpretation:

In the book What Will Hell Be Like? by J. Schaefer, the author says that

“The Angelic Doctor [says] that this reporbate [the rich man] desired to see his brothers escape Hell lest his own punishmetn be aggravated by their damnation, for by his bad example he had given occasion for their damnation.”

I would say that since Hell is a place of hatred, this is probably correct.

But some theologians have speculated on whether the rich man was in Purgatory? They say he may have been because he cared about his brothers being tormented…

Hmm… wondering if the Roman Catholic Church takes an absolute position on this particular passage?

Any comments would be greatly appreciated…

This discussion is already going on (see The Rich Man and Lazarus…Hell or Purgatory? ) although I don’t think anyone has mentioned anything by Thomas Aquinas yet. I would like to know which of the works of Aquinas J Schaefer is quoting from (I’m guessing it’s a quote). As I’ve mentioned in the other thread, verse 23 makes it clear that the rich man was in hell (the Greek uses the word ‘hades’, and I have found that this is transalted as either hell or hades in well over a dozen different English translations).

wow, that’s odd… I have a bzilliion posts to my name and have just this once duplicated…

but then again, maybe not cuz no one has aparently mentioned this Aquinas quote…

but actually, it wasn’t in quotes… Even so t he author wasn’t one to paraphrase in a sloppy way… so it was a virtual quote…

anyway, if the psg is abaout Purg… then it makes sense that the man woiuld want his brothers saved out of love…So… are you SURE its about Hell and not Purg?

if its about Hell and the Church teaches t hat… then Aquinas is right on… I tend to trust the saints anyway… I have rarely read something written by them that i didn’t believe in… altho now that i think of it, i do believe Aquinas said something about how women are inferior to men…

Actually, biologically speaking, women are superior… but maybe he was speaking morally?

In that sense they also seem superior… You don’t hear of many married women cheating… for example… :shrug:

[quote=distracted] wow, that’s odd… I have a bzilliion posts to my name and have just this once duplicated…
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And I bet you’ve been told billions of times not to exaggerate, right? :smiley:

but actually, it wasn’t in quotes… Even so t he author wasn’t one to paraphrase in a sloppy way… so it was a virtual quote…

I’m just interested in checking out the source, and I have the works of Tomas Aquinas online (not so much for J. Schaefer’s book).

anyway, if the psg is abaout Purg… then it makes sense that the man woiuld want his brothers saved out of love…So… are you SURE its about Hell and not Purg?

Unless you can show me where Abraham advises the rich man that he could be relieved by sacrifices and/or alms-giving by his family, or that he may, at some time in the future, be allowed to join him, then I would say it is very clear that this is hell and not purgatory.

if its about Hell and the Church teaches t hat… then Aquinas is right on… I tend to trust the saints anyway… I have rarely read something written by them that i didn’t believe in… altho now that i think of it, i do believe Aquinas said something about how women are inferior to men…

And I have learned to examine exactly what “saints” wrote (not just selected quotes), so I can get the full (or at least a better) context of what they are saying (which is why I’m asking for the source of the Aquinas quote - and I would think that if someone uses it in a book, it will most likely be a quote).

As far as a discussion on women, I’ll leave that for another thread (which I will avoid :D).

it was just a small booklet on Hell… but ther are no quote marks around those words…

anyway, i am convinced its Hell now… and Aquinas’ explanation clears up my questions about why the man would be concerned about his brothers…

Aquinas also said that all affection that is not centered on God … (how did he say it?) well, goes away when one is in Hell… (not quote):smiley: but i wouldn’t put this here if i wasn’t sure of the meaning…

I think it is quite obvious that the rich man is in Hell, I always get irked when people try to prove purgatory with that verse, when its a very poor argument and they are better off using other passages to support purgatory.

I think people go way overboard when analyzing that parable, when they say “oh it can’t be hell because the rich man cares enough about others to desire that they not enter hell either” Well to that I say, that this is still a parable and that discourse between the rich man and Abraham was meant merely so show that people must have faith accept the testimony of the prophets and of Christ Himself in order to be saved rather than be warned by the damned from beyond the grave.

I think this parable is unique in that it perhaps actually happened because I think this is the only parable where Jesus uses a name for one of the characters, in this case, Lazarus. So I think that Jesus formed a parable rooted in what happened to Lazarus after he died and went to Abraham’s bosom while also trying to form a lesson teaching story around that.

I think the trump card to settle this debate is in Luke 16:26 where Abraham says to the rich man:

And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.'

no one crosses over that great chasm. obviously someone crosses from purgatory into Heaven or perhaps in that case, the bosom of Abraham, but no one crosses over from Hell to Heaven or from Heaven to Hell as made plain in this passage.

and on top of this the rich man is presented as unrepentant, how could an unrepentant soul even reach purgatory?

also, scripture mentions the rich man as being tormented. Purgatory is not a place of torment.

i think it was in a booklet called Hell… Tan Publishers

[quote=distracted] i think it was in a booklet called Hell… Tan Publishers
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Thanks for the info. I’m looking at Tan Publishers, but I can’t find anything written by J Schaefer. The original publication title listed in post #1 (What Will Hell Be Like?) was written by St. Alphonsus Liguori. I would guess that the booklet is currently out of print.

In the Dialog of St. Catherine of Sienna there is a section entitled “How the damned cannot desire any good” where God says this:

“And their hatred is so great that they cannot will or desire any good, but they continually blaspheme Me. And do you know why they cannot desire good? Because the life of man ended, free-will is bound. Wherefore they cannot merit, having lost, as they have, the time to do so. If they finish their life, dying in hatred with the guilt of mortal sin, their souls, by divine justice, remain forever bound with the bonds of hatred, and forever obstinate in that evil, in which, therefore, being gnawed by themselves, their pains always increase, especially the pains of those who have been the cause of damnation to others, as that rich man, who was damned, demonstrated to you when he begged the favor that Lazarus might go to his brothers, who were in the world, to tell them of his pains. This, certainly, he did not do out of love or compassion for his brothers, for he was deprived of love and could not desire good, either for My honor or their salvation, because, as I have already told you, the damned souls cannot do any good to their neighbor, and they blaspheme Me, because their life ended in hatred of Me and of virtue. But why then did he do it? He did it because he was the eldest, and had nourished them up in the same miseries in which he had lived, so that he was the cause of their damnation, and he saw pain increased to himself, on account of their damnation when they should arrive in torment together with him, to be gnawed forever by hatred, because in hatred they finished their lives.”

its a very small bk-let… & quotes Aquinas & i think Liquori

i can try to find it…

***yes but every time i read something like this, i can’t help thinking of people who didn’t really KNOW Jesus…

how can you hate someone you don’t know??

that being said, most people know about Jesus because the whole world knows about him by now…

if someone dies @ age 20 i could believe he didn’t know Jesus… but not that he didn’t know OF Him…

if someone dies @ age 80, totally different story… which reminds me of Bette Davis… She was a great actress, but sadly, she probably missed the boat to Heaven… God knows, but i have read books about her… She used the Lord’s name in vain all the time (according to her duaghter)… not just GD but the name of Jesus!! something i never could u/stand. I can u/stand getting angry & saying GD but i can’t u/stand saying Jesus as a swear word…

anyway… i believe God gave her 80+ yrs because He is merciful… It’s amazing she lived that long cuz she drank like a fish, apparently… & smoked cig’s… VERY bad combination. i know someone who did both & died @ age 46!! But he was overweight & sedentary

Anyway, gues i am just rambling away, not sure what my point is except that “things aren’t always what they seem”

i mean, the public loved B Davis… I always liked her myself - her movies - but… God knows what is going on between a person & his/her God… just never know… ***

That is between them and God and God is both just and merciful.

While I agree with you that the parable indicates Dives is in Hell, not Purgatory, I don’t think real names are used. “Lazarus” is derived from the Hebrew “El-Azar” meaning “God has helped.” Lazarus obviously had no other help but God. So that name is symbolic.

And Dives is derived from the Latin adjective meaning “rich” or “wealthy”, so it is again symbolic.

Now Jesus may have had some specific people in mind when He gave the parable. I am fairly certain He did. He’d have been offended by the rich man’s callousness. And there would have been plenty of lame beggars around in those days, and the rich probably didn’t care much either. But Christ would have been unable to specifically name anybody, so He used symbolic references instead.

On the other hand it is a parable, ie. fiction, and some aspects of it should not be taken literally. I doubt if heavenly personages like Abraham talk with hellish personages like Dives on a regular basis. Real Samaritans helping beaten Jewish travellers on the road to Jericho and even paying their accommodation were probably pretty rare on the ground as well.

The Catechism states this passage is a parable

633 Scripture calls the abode of the dead, to which the dead Christ went down, “hell” - Sheol in Hebrew or Hades in Greek - because those who are there are deprived of the vision of God.480 Such is the case for all the dead, whether evil or righteous, while they await the Redeemer: which does not mean that their lot is identical, as Jesus shows through the parable of the poor man Lazarus who was received into “Abraham’s bosom”:481 "It is precisely these holy souls, who awaited their Savior in Abraham’s bosom, whom Christ the Lord delivered when he descended into hell."482 Jesus did not descend into hell to deliver the damned, nor to destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone before him.483 .

However, the section the rich man was in was waiting to be dumped into the Lake of Fire (Hell/gehenna)

Pope Benedict on this passage states

In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (cf. Lc 16,19-31), Jesus admonishes us through the image of a **soul destroyed **by arrogance and opulence, who has created an impassable chasm between himself and the poor man; the chasm of being trapped within material pleasures; the chasm of forgetting the other, of incapacity to love, which then becomes a burning and unquenchable thirst. We must note that in this parable Jesus is not referring to the final destiny after the Last Judgement, but is taking up a notion found, inter alia, in early Judaism, namely that of an intermediate state between death and resurrection, a state in which the final sentence is yet to be pronounced.

It is popular among Protestants to say this is not a parable, however, the fact the ressurection has not taken place and the people in Hades are spoken of as having body parts and their being fire and water shows it is NOT literal.

Saying the rich man wanted to mitigate his damnation does sound like a logical conclusion for his worry about his brothers.

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