Purgatory is not hell

Purgatory is not hell. It is the antechamber to paradise, and is both justice and mercy.

In his book titled Le purgatoire dans tous ses états (EdB), don Paul Denizot dismisses a number of misconceptions. Purgatory is not hell but a transitional stage to paradise, evincing both justice and mercy. Find out more in Chronique du purgatoire #2, produced by Guillaume Desanges for RCF.

Purgatory is not hell

Purgatory is often likened to some intermediate location, between heaven and hell. It is not hell either, for it is the antechamber for paradise, a vestibule, a preparatory stage to heaven. It is therefore next to heaven, like a queue preparing souls to enter heaven.

Likewiwse, purgatory means both mercy and justice. First and foremost, it is God’s mercy. Indeed, should we have to be ready at the moment of death to enter heaven, there would probably be very few saints in heaven. Most of us still have traces of sin that damage us, or ties that we haven’t completely given up when we die. Through purgatory, God shows us mercy, by preparing us to enter heaven. This is how He gradually purifies and restores us.

Justice and mercy

Secondly, purgatory means justice. In other words, at the same time, it restores an order that has been damaged by sin. So purgatory is both mercy and justice. It is a penetrating, interior fire that restores the soul to help it experience the joy of heaven.

Should we wish to go directly to heaven?

We must follow the example of the saints. Carlo Acutis used to say that he offered the sufferings of his illness for the sinners, for the Church, for the Pope, and to avoid purgatory. Saint Therese of the Child Jesus used to say: “You have to aim straight for heaven“. Then, yes, we must rely on God’s mercy and aim directly for heaven. Purgatory is like retaking the exam.

Who’s in heaven, in purgatory or in hell?

According to the revelation, the saints, the blessed, the angels and the Virgin Mary are in heaven. And perhaps our loved ones. But we cannot know who is there except for the canonized saints. In purgatory are all those souls still undergoing purification. Lastly, in hell is the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. The Bible tells us that there is “gnashing of teeth” over there. It doesn’t tell us who is there. Although it is a very real possibility.

A book about purgatory

Purgatory in all its forms. Don Paul Denizot
Sanctuaire Notre-Dame de Montligeon

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