Andrew Hofer, OP The Question of Knowability In Spe salvi, Pope Benedict XVI devotes several paragraphs to the intermediate state before concluding his encyclical with attention to Mary, Star of Hope.1 First, Benedict interprets the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Lk 16:1931) as referring to "an intermediate state between death and resurrection, a state in which the final sentence is yet to be pronounced."2 According to the Pope, this early Jewish idea of an intermediate state contains the view that souls are already being punished or are experiencing provisional bliss. It also means that souls are being purified, which enables them to mature for their communion with God. Benedict notes that the early Church adopted these concepts.3 He then considers what this intermediate state may hold for the supposed great majority of people who neither go to hell nor at their moment of death are already utterly pure.4 Throughout his treatment, the Pope speaks of the intermediate state as something with various interpretations. For example, he writes, "The East does not recognize the purifying and expiatory suffering of souls in the afterlife, but it does acknowledge various levels of beatitude and suffering in the intermediate state."5
Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture – Logos: Journal of Catholic Thought & Culture
Published: Jul 9, 2009
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