Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-2pzkn Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-24T05:31:47.422Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false


Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2024


I say briefly what the Catholic Church now teaches about Purgatory. I offer an account of time which allows the purgatorial process to be genuinely temporal, but not precisely quantifiable or temporally relatable to processes and events in our space-time. I examine ancient, Enlightenment and modern notions of punishment, connect them with a theory of the relation of right and wrong to law and with the conception of a faculty of will, and argue that purgatorial process need not be considered punitive. I suggest it might consist in coming to share God's divine knowledge, and consider how prayers for the dead might help them.

Original Article
Copyright © 2020 Provincial Council of the English Province of the Order of Preachers

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


1 Vol. 4 p. 865. Si la foi de l’ Église est maintenant fixée en ce qui concerne l'existence d'un purgatoire, elle est peu explicite sur la nature de ce feu, sur sa durée et sur son efficacité propre.

2 Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, Scholium to the Definitions.

3 New Blackfriars 100 1087 (2019) pp. 264-83.

4 I defend this view in ‘Time’, Philosophy 56 (1981) (149-60).

5 Metaphysics and Grammar, London: Bloomsbury 2014, 117-9Google Scholar; ‘Speaking and Signifying’, Philosophy 94 (2019) 3-25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

6 As Colin Strang calls them in ‘Plato and the Instant’, Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 48 (1974). 62-79).Google Scholar

7 A Treatise of Human Nature 2.3.3; ed. L.A. Selby-Bigge p. 415.

8 ‘Two Theories of Soul’, New Blackfriars 90 (2009) 424-40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar