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164

Part One

A

rticle

5

HE DESCENDED INTO HELL; ON THE THIRD

DAY HE ROSE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD

631

Jesus “descended into the lower parts of the earth. He who

descended is he who also ascended far above all the heavens.”

476

The Apostles’ Creed confesses in the same article Christ’s descent

into hell and his Resurrection from the dead on the third day,

because in his Passover it was precisely out of the depths of death

that he made life spring forth:

[T]he one Morning Star who never sets,

Christ your Son, who, coming back from death’s domain,

has shed his peaceful light on humanity,

and lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

477

Paragraph 1. Christ Descended into Hell

632

The frequent New Testament affirmations that Jesus was

“raised from the dead” presuppose that the crucified one sojourned

in the realm of the dead prior to his resurrection.

478

This was the first

meaning given in the apostolic preaching to Christ’s descent into hell:

that Jesus, like all men, experienced death and in his soul joined the

others in the realm of the dead. But he descended there as Savior,

proclaiming the Good News to the spirits imprisoned there.

479

633

Scripture calls the abode of the dead, to which the dead

Christ went down, “hell”—

Sheol

in Hebrew or

Hades

in Greek—

because those who are there are deprived of the vision of God.

480

Such is the case for all the dead, whether evil or righteous, while

they await the redeemer: which does not mean that their lot is

identical, as Jesus shows through the parable of the poor man

Lazarus who was received into “Abraham’s bosom”:

481

“It is pre-

cisely these holy souls, who awaited their Savior in Abraham’s

bosom, whom Christ the Lord delivered when he descended into

hell.”

482

Jesus did not descend into hell to deliver the damned, nor

to destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone

before him.

483

476

Eph

4:9-10.

477

Roman Missal,

Easter Vigil 19,

Exsultet.

478

Acts

3:15;

Rom

8:11;

1 Cor

15:20; cf.

Heb

13:20.

479 Cf.

1 Pet

3:18-19.

480 Cf.

Phil

2:10;

Acts

2:24;

Rev

1:18;

Eph

4:9;

Pss

6:6; 88:11-13.

481 Cf.

Ps

89:49;

1 Sam

28:19;

Ezek

32:17-32;

Lk

16:22-26.

482

Roman Catechism

I, 6, 3.

483 Cf. Council of Rome (745): DS 587; Benedict XII,

Cum dudum

(1341): DS.

1011; Clement VI,

Super quibusdam

(1351): DS 1077; Council of Toledo IV

(625): DS 485;

Mt

27:52-53.

1033