Elements of Catholicism in PP

by Shalaka Damle

Overview/Connection to Novel

  • Catholicism remains largest religion in Mexico
  • dominates rural areas
  • continues to spread in these regions
  • has lost some followers overall in Mexico

  • Father Rentería is a Catholic priest
  • Purgatorial elements
  • Comala's geographical location never specified, remains ambiguous
  • "the coals of the earth, at the very mouth of hell" (6)


  • purgatory defined as "a place or state of suffering inhabited by the souls of sinners who are expiating their sins before going to heaven"
Is purgatory a physical place?
  • modern Catholics attribute purgatory as an abstract state of existence where the soul undergoes betterment
  • main 2 purposes: temporal punishment for sin and cleansing from attachment to sin
  • essentially purifies soul before reaching heaven
  • not everyone goes to purgatory, nor is it a hell


  • temporal punishment and eternal punishment are onset by mortal sin
  • eternal punishment is remitted usually through confession to God or sacrament of reconciliation
  • remaining temporal punishment can be alleviated


  • Catholics make distinction between two types of sin
  • mortal sin - not forgiven
  • venial sin - can be forgiven

Pain and fire

  • has been believed that it involves pain of the senses
  • different theories about the fire
  • "purgatorius ignis" - purifying fire

Prayer for dead

  • typically prayed for by living
  • masses
  • believed to reduce duration of time spent in purgatory

Road to Salvation

  • not all sins condemn one to Hell, but they must be expiated
  • Holy Scripture states that "perfection" and "completion" are needed
  • death can occur before perfection is reached
  • "'If the baptized person fulfills the obligations demanded of a Christian, he does well. If he does not — provided he keeps the faith, without which he would perish forever — no matter what sin or impurity remains, he will be saved, as it were, by fire; as one who has built on the foundation, which is Christ, not gold, silver, and precious stones, but wood, hay, straw, that is, not just and chaste works but wicked and unchaste works.'" - Augustine

Works Cited

Cho, Song H. "The Catholic and Nahuatl Elements in Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Páramo." Thesis.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, n.d. Print.

Eckert, Ken. "Christian Purgatory and Redemption in Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Páramo." Thesis. Keimyung University, 2011. Print.

Is Purgatory a Physical Place? YouTube, 7 Oct. 2010. Web. 3 Dec. 2014. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCKs6on7hxw>.

"Tracts." Purgatory. Catholic Answers, n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2014. <http://www.catholic.com/tracts/purgatory>.

Très Riches Heures Du Duc De Berry. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2014. <http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/53/Folio_113v_-_Purgatory.jpg/431px-Folio_113v_-_Purgatory.jpg>.