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A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

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DESCENT INTO HELL

The coming of Christ before his resurrection to deliver the souls of the just detained in the limbo of the Fathers. The purpose of this coming of Christ's soul was to deliver all the saved who had died before then by applying the fruits of the Redemption. they were immediately given the beatific vision. The doctrine is taught in all the early creeds and was defined by the Fourth Lateran Council (Denzinger 429).

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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