Time, Judgment, and Competitive Spirituality: A Reading of the Development of the Doctrine of Purgatory

  title={Time, Judgment, and Competitive Spirituality: A Reading of the Development of the Doctrine of Purgatory},
  author={John E. Thiel},
  journal={Theological Studies},
  pages={741 - 785}
Why has purgatory virtually disappeared from Catholic belief and practice since Vatican II? A competitive spirituality, gravitating around the religious vocation of ascetics from the late Middle Ages, enabled the doctrine by extending the temporal horizon within which God's favorable judgment could be secured, first, in the lifelong practice of ascetics in their spiritual competition with martyrs, and then into a supernatural time required for laypersons and ascetics who could not meet the… Expand
2 Citations


The Divine Comedy, 6 vols
  • 1973
The French Marianist H. Faure portrays purgatory as a place of the "most profound, the most absolute peace" and its inhabitants as souls "in pressing need . . . [who] cannot help themselves
  • A pious book from the early 20th century shows his same tension between the passivity and activity of the suffering souls
  • 1958
Sociological and historical studies of Catholic belief and practice since the council so completely assume its disappearance that it is not considered to be an illuminating site of investigation
  • The Gallup Poll Index from 1935-1997 makes no mention of purgatory (Alec M. Gallup, The Gallup Poll Cumulative Index, Public Opinion
  • 1935
Poor Souls in Purgatory 78
    This calm and peace [of those who die in a state of grace] is not, in the case of the Holy Souls, a passing, but a permanent state, it lasts as long as they remain in the holy prison of Purgatory
    • Poor Souls in Purgatory 76. The counterposition is clearly expressed in an earlier work by