Catholic theology says that heaven awaits the pure of heart while hell is reserved for unrepentant sinners. For the sinful but penitent middle, however, there is the option of purgatory—a bit of fiery cleansing before they are admitted to eternal bliss. Nor is inflicting pain to achieve purification restricted to the afterlife. Self-flagellation is reckoned by many here on Earth to be, literally, good for the soul.
Read the whole story: The Economist
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