Who runs Purgatory? (who is the gatekeeper of Purgatory?)

At theology school, I developed an interest in various Christian doctrines. I was especially intrigued by the Catholic doctrines and the concept of Purgatory. During my research, I visited the nearby Catholic Church and learned all about Purgatory from the ever-friendly Father and the Catechist. Last week, my college theology students asked me to explain who runs purgatory. Most were thinking of Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy” and wanted to know who the gatekeeper of Purgatory was. Based on what the scriptures say and my research as a theologian, I was able to answer this question comprehensively and put all the misconceptions to rest. So, who runs Purgatory?

According to Catholic Studies, Purgatory is under the control of God. There is no evidence of any person or agency that runs purgatory, as the Catholics believe that God runs and controls the purification that takes place in Purgatory.

I invite you to continue reading this article as we delve deeper into understanding, among other things, who is the gatekeeper of Purgatory, who is the guardian of Purgatory, and whether Satan is the one who runs purgatory.

Does Satan run Purgatory?

Does Satan run Purgatory? Image source: Pixabay

No, Satan does not run Purgatory. According to Dante Alighieri, Cato is the pagan placed by God outside Purgatory to be its guardian. Dante Alighieri created a poetic synthesis of theology that depicted purgatory as a place of purification in the image and likeness of God. It is also Dante who began the perception that Satan runs hell, a concept that is disproved in Luke 12:4-5.

In the Bible Verses, Jesus says that the only one who should be feared is God, who has the authority to kill the body and also cast the body into hell.

Who is the gatekeeper of Purgatory?

According to Dante Alighieri’s poem, he casts Cato as the one placed by God to be the guardian of Purgatory. Cato is a pagan. Hence, he cannot be held accountable for Christian beliefs, particularly against suicide. He chose suicide over tyranny in the civil war against Julius Caesar. His role as the gatekeeper of Purgatory is to encourage the loitering souls in Purgatory to continue on their purgatorial journey.

Before being made the gatekeeper of Purgatory, Cato was a brave military commander. Not only was he successful, but he was also self-sacrificing. However, he did not boast of his exploits as Caesar often did. Despite being very popular then, he did not have his name engraved on monuments.

Who are the guardians of Purgatory?

Who are the guardians of Purgatory? Image source: Pixabay

Traditionally, Raphael is considered to be the guardian angel of Purgatory. Raphael is one of the highest-ranking angels in Heaven and is depicted artistically as holding a sword in one hand and a flaming torch in the other hand. The sword and the flaming touch symbolize his power to protect and cleanse. His role in Purgatory is to give guidance and support throughout the purification process.

While there is no mention of other guardians of Purgatory, Catholics believe that the Holy Souls in Purgatory still have their guardian angels. According to Paul Wilhelm’s book, The poor souls in Purgatory, a homiletic treatise with some specimen sermons (1923), The Holy Souls in Purgatory still have their guardian angels who communicate with them and give them comfort as they sojourn through their time in Purgatory.

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