Catholic Candle note: Catholic Candle normally examines particular issues thoroughly, at length, especially using the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas and the other Doctors of the Church. At the urging of one of our readers, we are trying new feature: CC in brief, giving an extremely short answer to a reader’s question. We invite readers to submit their own questions.
Q. In the Apostles Creed, it says Christ "descended into hell." What exactly does that mean? And if it doesn’t actually mean hell, why does it say “hell”?
A. “Hell” refers to those places where the souls of the decease are detained, that have not been admitted to heaven. “Hell” includes the place of eternal punishment suffered by the damned, but also includes Purgatory, the Limbo of the Babies and the Limbo of the Fathers. Our Lord descended into hell to free the souls of the just, who were waiting for Him in the Limbo of the Fathers.