Thought for the Day – 3 November – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Pain of Purgatory
“In the course of her vivid description of Purgatory, St Catherine of Genoa writes: “The suffering souls experience such torments as the human tongue could not describe, nor the human intellect comprehend, unless God Himself, revealed them by means of a special grace!”
The ordinary teaching of the Church includes fire as the principal torment.
However, the Church has never defined the nature of this fire, nor determined whether it is physical or spiritual.
It is certain that this fire is as real as the flames of Hell and is created by God, not to be an instrument of service to men but, to be a means of expiation and purification.
This is why it is a far more tormenting fire than that which we know and use on earth.
St Thomas Aquinas holds that it is actually a physical fire.
He meets the objection that material fire could never touch a spiritual soul by saying that, even as the soul is affected on earth, by the suffering of the body, to which it is joined, so it can be subject in the next life, to the action of the fires of Purgatory (Supplementum Tertiae Partis q7, a3).”
Antonio Cardinal Bacci