Is purgatory painful? (Is purgatory a place of suffering?)

As a long-time Christian and theologian, people approach me with all sorts of questions regarding various doctrines. During the pandemic, the issue of death and final destinations cropped up in various discussions. Purgatory seemed to be a favorite among many. I embarked on a research mission to uncover everything about purgatory and what happens there. I approached my uncle, a Catholic Priest for over a decade to get a deeper understanding of what happens in purgatory. As expected, he had all the answers. During one of my Zoom classes, one of my theology students still looked terrified of death and the supposed pain experienced in purgatory. Since I had researched and gained vast knowledge on this subject, I grabbed the opportunity to enlighten the entire group on this topic. So, is purgatory painful?

Yes, it is believed that Purgatory is painful. The pain in Purgatory is due to the purification process of the souls. It is believed that in Purgatory, Souls are separated from God and experience sensible pain from a fire as great as Hell. However, souls suffer in joy because it is temporary, and they are assured of reaching Heaven.

Join me in this article as I discuss whether Purgatory is painful. I will also list the pains of Purgatory and what the souls are being punished for. Read on to find out more.

Is purgatory a place of suffering?

Purgatory is believed to be a place of suffering, but it is temporal suffering. It is suggested that Saint Catherine went to Purgatory and confirmed that the suffering in that place is equal to the suffering in Hell, only that it is temporary. She describes the pain of being separated from God as the pain of a hungry man wanting bread and cannot access it, even though it is available. The suffering caused by fire is said to be far beyond any pain we could imagine.

However, it said that the place is a combination of joy and suffering. It is believed that the only joy that is better than the joy in Purgatory is that of the saints in Heaven. The souls are said to suffer in joy because it is temporary, and they are sure that after Purgatory, they are going to Heaven.

What are the pains of Purgatory?

Is purgatory a place of suffering?
What are the pains of Purgatory? Image source: Pixabay

Pain of sense

It is believed that Souls in Purgatory go through sensible pain. This is basically the purification process. The purification is done by fire, and it is suggested that the intensity of the fire in Purgatory is so close to the fire in Hell. However, it is still unclear whether these fires are literal fires; what is known is that the souls sense the pain inflicted by fire.

Pains of loss

It is also suggested that the Souls in Purgatory are denied the beatific vision. They are alienated from God, and it is the most painful thing. These souls are consciously aware of their connection to God. They know they were so close to God in their previous lives and were called Children of God. Even in Purgatory, they are aware of their relationship with God, but now, they are temporarily alienated from God, which is considered the worst pain. As suggested, they suffer but cannot reach God for help.

Is the pain of purgatory physical?

Some people argue that the pain of Purgatory is not physical because there is no physical body. The pain of fire that the souls feel is said to be burning within them that seek God’s love. However, this is opposite to what other Saints suggest. They suggest that the souls undergo pain they can sense even though they are in spirit form. The pain they sense is said to be caused by a fire close to Hell’s fire. Therefore there is no clarity about physical or total spiritual pain in Purgatory.

How much do we suffer in Purgatory?

Is purgatory painful?
How much do we suffer in Purgatory? Image source: Pixabay

It is suggested that the suffering in Purgatory is more painful than we have ever experienced on Earth and close enough to the pain in Hell. The difference is that the pain in Hell is permanent, while the pain in Purgatory is temporary. The pain is intense because the Souls are separated from God, something they have never experienced because God has never been far from their reach. In addition, the souls feel the pain of the blazing fire, yet they cannot reach anyone for help.

What is the punishment for Purgatory?

It is believed that souls in Purgatory are being punished for venial sins. The venial sins include Lust, Wrath, Pride, Gluttony, Sloth, Envy, and greed. It is further suggested that each soul falls into groupings according to their sins. For example, souls guilty of pride are at the bottom of the Purgatory Mountain. They are followed by souls that are guilty of greed and so on. Each Venial sin has its different punishment.

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