Summa - Supplement 1927
Objection 1: It would seem that an aureole is not due to doctors. For every reward to be had in the life to come will correspond to some act of virtue. But preaching or teaching is not the act of a virtue. Therefore an aureole is not due to teaching or preaching.
Objection 2: Further, teaching and preaching are the result of studying and being taught. Now the things that are rewarded in the future life are not acquired by a man's study, since we merit not by our natural and acquired gifts. Therefore no aureole will be merited in the future life for teaching and preaching.
Objection 3: Further, exaltation in the life to come corresponds to humiliation in the present life, because "he that humbleth himself shall be exalted" (Mt 23,12). But there is no humiliation in teaching and preaching, in fact they are occasions of pride; for a gloss on Mt 4,5, "Then the devil took Him up," says that "the devil deceives many who are puffed up with the honor of the master's chair." Therefore it would seem that an aureole is not due to preaching and teaching.
On the contrary, A gloss on Ep 1,18-19, "That you may know . . . what is the exceeding greatness," etc. says: "The holy doctors will have an increase of glory above that which all have in common." Therefore, etc.
Further, a gloss on Canticle of Canticles 8:12, "My vineyard is before me," says: "He describes the peculiar reward which He has prepared for His doctors." Therefore doctors will have a peculiar reward: and we call this an aureole.
I answer that, Just as by virginity and martyrdom a person wins a most perfect victory over the flesh and the world, so is a most perfect victory gained over the devil, when a person not only refuses to yield to the devil's assaults, but also drives him out, not from himself alone, but from others also. Now this is done by preaching and teaching: wherefore an aureole is due to preaching and teaching, even as to virginity and martyrdom. Nor can we admit, as some affirm, that it is due to prelates only, who are competent to preach and teach by virtue of their office. but it is due to all whosoever exercise this act lawfully. Nor is it due to prelates, although they have the office of preaching, unless they actually preach, since a crown is due not to the habit, but to the actual strife, according to 2Tm 2,5, "He . . . shall not be [Vulg.: 'is not'] crowned, except he strive lawfully."
Reply to Objection 1: Preaching and teaching are acts of a virtue, namely mercy, wherefore they are reckoned among the spiritual alms deeds [*Cf. SS, Question , Article ].
Reply to Objection 2: Although ability to preach and teach is sometimes the outcome of study, the practice of teaching comes from the will, which is informed with charity infused by God: and thus its act can be meritorious.
Reply to Objection 3: Exaltation in this life does not lessen the reward of the other life, except for him who seeks his own glory from that exaltation: whereas he who turns that exaltation to the profit of others acquires thereby a reward for himself. Still, when it is stated that an aureole is due to teaching, this is to be understood of the teaching of things pertaining to salvation, by which teaching the devil is expelled from men's hearts, as by a kind of spiritual weapon, of which it is said (2Co 10,4): "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but spiritual" [Vulg.: 'but mighty to God'].
Objection 1: It would seem that an aureole is due to Christ. For an aureole is due to virginity, martyrdom, and teaching. Now these three were pre-eminently in Christ. Therefore an aureole is especially due to Him.
Objection 2: Further, whatever is most perfect in human things must ne especially ascribed to Christ. Now an aureole is due as the reward of most excellent merits. Therefore it is also due to Christ.
Objection 3: Further, Cyprian says (De Habit. Virg.) that "virginity bears a likeness to God." Therefore the exemplar of virginity is in God. Therefore it would seem that an aureole is due to Christ even as God.
On the contrary, An aureole is described as "joy in being conformed to Christ." Now no one is conformed or likened to himself, as the Philosopher says (Metaph., lib. ix, 3). Therefore an aureole is not due to Christ.
Further, Christ's reward was never increased. Now Christ had no aureole from the moment of His conception, since then He had never fought. Therefore He never had an aureole afterwards.
I answer that, There are two opinions on this point. For some say that Christ has an aureole in its strict sense, seeing that in Him there is both conflict and victory, and consequently a crown in its proper acceptation. But if we consider the question carefully, although the notion of aurea or crown is becoming to Christ, the notion of aureole is not. For from the very fact that aureole is a diminutive term it follows that it denotes something possessed by participation and not in its fulness. Wherefore an aureole is becoming to those who participate in the perfect victory by imitating Him in Whom the fulness of perfect victory is realized. And therefore, since in Christ the notion of victory is found chiefly and fully, for by His victory others are made victors---as shown by the words of Jn 16,33, "Have confidence, I have overcome the world," and Apoc. 5:5, "Behold the lion of the tribe of Juda . . . hath prevailed"---it is not becoming for Christ to have an aureole, but to have something from which all aureoles are derived. Hence it is written (Ap 3,21): "To him that shall overcome, I will give to sit with Me in My throne, as I also have overcome, and am set down in My Father's throne [Vulg.: 'With My Father in His throne']." Therefore we must say with others that although there is nothing of the nature of an aureole in Christ, there is nevertheless something more excellent than any aureole.
Reply to Objection 1: Christ was most truly virgin, martyr, and doctor; yet the corresponding accidental reward in Christ is a negligible quantity in comparison with the greatness of His essential reward. Hence He has not an aureole in its proper sense.
Reply to Objection 2: Although the aureole is due to a most perfect work, yet with regard to us, so far as it is a diminutive term, it denotes the participation of a perfection derived from one in whom that perfection is found in its fulness. Accordingly it implies a certain inferiority, and thus it is not found in Christ in Whom is the fulness of every perfection.
Reply to Objection 3: Although in some way virginity has its exemplar in God, that exemplar is not homogeneous. For the incorruption of God, which virginity imitates is not in God in the same way as in a virgin.
Objection 1: It would seem that an aureole is due to the angels. For Jerome (Serm. de Assump. [*Ep. ad Paul. et Eustoch. ix]) speaking of virginity says: "To live without the flesh while living in the flesh is to live as an angel rather than as a man": and a gloss on 1Co 7,26, "For the present necessity," says that "virginity is the portion of the angels." Since then an aureole corresponds to virginity, it would seem due to the angels.
Objection 2: Further, incorruption of the spirit is more excellent than incorruption of the flesh. Now there is incorruption of spirit in the angels, since they never sinned. Therefore an aureole is due to them rather than to men incorrupt in the flesh and who have sinned at some time.
Objection 3: Further, an aureole is due to teaching. Now angels teach us by cleansing, enlightening, and perfecting [*Cf. I 111,1] us, as Dionysius says (Hier. Eccles. vi). Therefore at least the aureole of doctors is due to them.
On the contrary, It is written (2Tm 2,5): "He . . . shall not be [Vulg.: 'is not'] crowned, except he strive lawfully." But there is no conflict in the angels. Therefore an aureole is not due to them.
Further, an aureole is not due to an act that is not performed through the body: wherefore it is not due to lovers of virginity, martyrdom or teaching, if they do not practice them outwardly. But angels are incorporeal spirits. Therefore they have no aureole.
I answer that, An aureole is not due to the angels. The reason of this is that an aureole, properly speaking, corresponds to some perfection of surpassing merit. Now those things which make for perfect merit in man are connatural to angels, or belong to their state in general, or to their essential reward. Wherefore the angels have not an aureole in the same sense as an aureole is due to men.
Reply to Objection 1: Virginity is said to be an angelic life, in so far as virgins imitate by grace what angels have by nature. For it is not owing to a virtue that angels abstain altogether from pleasures of the flesh, since they are incapable of such pleasures.
Reply to Objection 2: Perpetual incorruption of the spirit in the angels merits their essential reward: because it is necessary for their salvation, since in them recovery is impossible after they have fallen [*Cf. I 64,2].
Reply to Objection 3: The acts whereby the angels teach us belong to their glory and their common state: wherefore they do not merit an aureole thereby.
Objection 1: It would seem that an aureole is also due to the body. For the essential reward is greater than the accidental. But the dowries which belong to the essential reward are not only in the soul but also in the body. Therefore there is also an aureole which pertains to the accidental reward.
Objection 2: Further, punishment in soul and body corresponds to sin committed through the body. Therefore a reward both in soul and in body is due to merit gained through the body. But the aureole is merited through works of the body. Therefore an aureole is also due to the body.
Objection 3: Further, a certain fulness of virtue will shine forth in the bodies of martyrs, and will be seen in their bodily scars: wherefore Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xxii): "We feel an undescribable love for the blessed martyrs so as to desire to see in that kingdom the scars of the wounds in their bodies, which they bore for Christ's name. Perchance indeed we shall see them, for this will not make them less comely, but more glorious. A certain beauty will shine in them, a beauty, though in the body, yet not of the body but of virtue." Therefore it would seem that the martyr's aureole is also in his body; and in like manner the aureoles of others.
On the contrary, The souls now in heaven have aureoles; and yet they have no body. Therefore the proper subject of an aureole is the soul and not the body.
Further, all merit is from the soul. Therefore the whole reward should be in the soul.
I answer that, Properly speaking the aureole is in the mind: since it is joy in the works to which an aureole is due. But even as from the joy in the essential reward, which is the aurea, there results a certain comeliness in the body, which is the glory of the body, so from the joy in the aureole there results a certain bodily comeliness: so that the aureole is chiefly in the mind, but by a kind of overflow it shines forth in the body.
This suffices for the Replies to the Objections. It must be observed, however, that the beauty of the scars which will appear in the bodies of the martyrs cannot be called an aureole, since some of the martyrs will have an aureole in which such scars will not appear, for instance those who were put to death by drowning, starvation, or the squalor of prison.
Objection 1: It would seem that the three aureoles of virgins, martyrs, and doctors are unfittingly assigned. For the aureole of martyrs corresponds to their virtue of fortitude, the aureole of virgins to the virtue of temperance, and the aureole of doctors to the virtue of prudence. Therefore it seems that there should be a fourth aureole corresponding to the virtue of justice.
Objection 2: Further, a gloss on Ex 25,25: "A polished crown, etc. says that a golden [aurea] crown is added, when the Gospel promises eternal life to those who keep the commandments: 'If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments' (Mt 19,17). To this is added the little golden crown [aureola] when it is said: 'If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor'" (Mt 19,21). Therefore an aureole is due to poverty.
Objection 3: Further, a man subjects himself wholly to God by the vow of obedience: wherefore the greatest perfection consists in the vow of obedience. Therefore it would seem that an aureole is due thereto.
Objection 4: Further, there are also many other works of supererogation in which one will rejoice in the life to come. Therefore there are many aureoles besides the aforesaid three.
Objection 5: Further, just as a man spreads the faith by preaching and teaching, so does he by publishing written works. Therefore a fourth aureole is due to those who do this.
I answer that, An aureole is an exceptional reward corresponding to an exceptional victory: wherefore the three aureoles are assigned in accordance with the exceptional victories in the three conflicts which beset every man. For in the conflict with the flesh, he above all wins the victory who abstains altogether from sexual pleasures which are the chief of this kind; and such is a virgin. Wherefore an aureole is due to virginity. In the conflict with the world, the chief victory is to suffer the world's persecution even until death: wherefore the second aureole is due to martyrs who win the victory in this battle. In the conflict with the devil, the chief victory is to expel the enemy not only from oneself but also from the hearts of others: this is done by teaching and preaching, and consequently the third aureole is due to doctors and preachers.
Some, however, distinguish the three aureoles in accordance with the three powers of the soul, by saying that the three aureoles correspond to the three chief acts of the soul's three highest powers. For the act of the rational power is to publish the truth of faith even to others, and to this act the aureole of doctors is due: the highest act of the irascible power is to overcome even death for Christ's sake, and to this act the aureole of martyrs is due: and the highest act of the concupiscible power is to abstain altogether from the greatest carnal pleasures, and to this act the aureole of virgins is due.
Others again, distinguish the three aureoles in accordance with those things whereby we are most signally conformed to Christ. For He was the mediator between the Father and the world. Hence He was a doctor, by manifesting to the world the truth which He had received from the Father; He was a martyr, by suffering the persecution of the world; and He was a virgin, by His personal purity. Wherefore doctors, martyrs and virgins are most perfectly conformed to Him: and for this reason an aureole is due to them.
Reply to Objection 1: There is no conflict to be observed in the act of justice as in the acts of the other virtues. Nor is it true that to teach is an act of prudence: in fact rather is it an act of charity or mercy---inasmuch as it is by such like habits that we are inclined to the practice of such an act---or again of wisdom, as directing it.
We may also reply, with others, that justice embraces all the virtues, wherefore a special aureole is not due to it.
Reply to Objection 2: Although poverty is a work of perfection, it does not take the highest place in a spiritual conflict, because the love of temporalities assails a man less than carnal concupiscence or persecution whereby his own body is broken. Hence an aureole is not due to poverty; but judicial power by reason of the humiliation consequent upon poverty. The gloss quoted takes aureole in the broad sense for any reward given for excellent merit.
We reply in the same way to the Third and Fourth Objections.
Reply to Objection 5: An aureole is due to those who commit the sacred doctrine to writing: but it is not distinct from the aureole of doctors, since the compiling of writing is a way of teaching.
Objection 1: It would seem that the virgin's aureole is the greatest of all. For it is said of virgins (Ap 14,4) that they "follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth," and (Ap 14,3) that "no" other "man could say the canticle" which the virgins sang. Therefore virgins have the most excellent aureole.
Objection 2: Further, Cyprian (De Habit. Virg.) says of virgins that they are "the more illustrious portion of Christ's flock." Therefore the greater aureole is due to them.
Objection 3: Again, it would seem that the martyr's aureole is the greatest. For Aymo, commenting on Apoc. 14:3, "No man could say the hymn," says that "virgins do not all take precedence of married folk; but only those who in addition to the observance of virginity are by the tortures of their passion on a par with married persons who have suffered martyrdom." Therefore martyrdom gives virginity its precedence over other states: and consequently a greater aureole is due to virginity.
Objection 4: Again, it would seem that the greatest aureole is due to doctors. Because the Church militant is modelled after the Church triumphant. Now in the Church militant the greatest honor is due to doctors (1Tm 5,17): "Let the priests that rule well be esteemed worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine." Therefore a greater aureole is due to them in the Church triumphant.
I answer that, Precedence of one aureole over another may be considered from two standpoints. First, from the point of view of the conflicts, that aureole being considered greater which is due to the more strenuous battle. Looking at it thus the martyr's aureole takes precedence of the others in one way, and the virgin's in another. For the martyr's battle is more strenuous in itself, and more intensely painful; while the conflict with the flesh is fraught with greater danger, inasmuch as it is more lasting and threatens us at closer quarters. Secondly, from the point of view of the things about which the battle is fought: and thus the doctor's aureole takes precedence of all others, since this conflict is about intelligible goods. while the other conflicts are about sensible passions. Nevertheless, the precedence that is considered in view of the conflict is more essential to the aureole; since the aureole, according to its proper character, regards the victory and the battle, and the difficulty of fighting which is viewed from the standpoint of the battle is of greater importance than that which is considered from our standpoint through the conflict being at closer quarters. Therefore the martyr's aureole is simply the greatest of all: for which reason a gloss on Mt 5,10, says that "all the other beatitudes are perfected in the eighth, which refers to the martyrs," namely, "Blessed are they that suffer persecution." For this reason, too, the Church in enumerating the saints together places the martyrs before the doctors and virgins. Yet nothing hinders the other aureoles from being more excellent in some particular way. And this suffices for the Replies to the Objections.
Objection 1: It would seem that one person has not the aureole either of virginity, or of martyrdom, or of doctrine more perfectly than another person. For things which have reached their term are not subject to intension or remission. Now the aureole is due to works which have reached their term of perfection. Therefore an aureole is not subject to intension or remission.
Objection 2: Further, virginity is not subject to being more or less, since it denotes a kind of privation; and privations are not subject to intension or remission. Therefore neither does the reward of virginity, the virgin's aureole to wit, receive intension or remission.
On the contrary, The aureole is added to the aurea. But the aurea is more intense in one than in another. Therefore the aureole is also.
I answer that, Since merit is somewhat the cause of reward, rewards must needs be diversified, according as merits are diversified: for the intension or remission of a thing follows from the intension or remission of its cause. Now the merit of the aureole may be greater or lesser: wherefore the aureole may also be greater or lesser.
We must observe, however, that the merit of an aureole may be intensified in two ways: first, on the part of its cause, secondly on the part of the work. For there may happen to be two persons, one of whom, out of lesser charity, suffers greater torments of martyrdom, or is more constant in preaching, or again withdraws himself more from carnal pleasures. Accordingly, intension not of the aureole but of the aurea corresponds to the intension of merit derived from its root; while intension of the aureole corresponds to intension of merit derived from the kind of act. Consequently it is possible for one who merits less in martyrdom as to his essential reward, to receive a greater aureole for his martyrdom.
Reply to Objection 1: The merits to which an aureole is due do not reach the term of their perfection simply, but according to their species: even as fire is specifically the most subtle of bodies. Hence nothing hinders one aureole being more excellent than another, even as one fire is more subtle than another.
Reply to Objection 2: The virginity of one may be greater than the virginity of another, by reason of a greater withdrawal from that which is contrary to virginity: so that virginity is stated to be greater in one who avoids more the occasions of corruption. For in this way privations may increase, as when a man is said to be more blind, if he be removed further from the possession of sight.
In due sequence we must consider those things that concern the damned after the judgment: (1) The punishment of the damned, and the fire by which their bodies will be tormented; (2) matters relating to their will and intellect; (3) God's justice and mercy in regard to the damned.
Under the first head there are seven points of inquiry:
(1) Whether in hell the damned are tormented with the sole punishment of fire?
(2) Whether the worm by which they are tormented is corporeal?
(3) Whether their weeping is corporeal?
(4) Whether their darkness is material?
(5) Whether the fire whereby they are tormented is corporeal?
(6) Whether it is of the same species as our fire?
(7) Whether this fire is beneath the earth?
Objection 1: It would seem that in hell the damned are tormented by the sole punishment of fire; because Mt 25,41, where their condemnation is declared, mention is made of fire only, in the words: "Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire."
Objection 2: Further, even as the punishment of purgatory is due to venial sin, so is the punishment of hell due to mortal sin. Now no other punishment but that of fire is stated to be in purgatory, as appears from the words of 1Co 3,13: "The fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is." Therefore neither in hell will there be a punishment other than of fire.
Objection 3: Further, variety of punishment affords a respite, as when one passes from heat to cold. But we can admit no respite in the damned. Therefore there will not be various punishments, but that of fire alone.
On the contrary, It is written (Ps 10,7): "Fire and brimstone and storms of winds shall be the portion of their cup."
Further, it is written (Jb 24,19): "Let him pass from the snow waters to excessive heat."
I answer that, According to Basil (Homilia vi in Hexaemeron and Hom. i in Ps 38), at the final cleansing of the world, there will be a separation of the elements, whatever is pure and noble remaining above for the glory of the blessed, and whatever is ignoble and sordid being cast down for the punishment of the damned: so that just as every creature will be to the blessed a matter of joy, so will all the elements conduce to the torture of the damned, according to Sg 5,21, "the whole world will fight with Him against the unwise." This is also becoming to Divine justice, that whereas they departed from one by sin, and placed their end in material things which are many and various, so should they be tormented in many ways and from many sources.
Reply to Objection 2: It is because fire is most painful, through its abundance of active force, that the name of fire is given to any torment if it be intense.
Reply to Objection 2: The punishment of purgatory is not intended chiefly to torment but to cleanse: wherefore it should be inflicted by fire alone which is above all possessed of cleansing power. But the punishment of the damned is not directed to their cleansing. Consequently the comparison fails.
Reply to Objection 3: The damned will pass from the most intense heat to the most intense cold without this giving them any respite: because they will suffer from external agencies, not by the transmutation of their body from its original natural disposition, and the contrary passion affording a respite by restoring an equable or moderate temperature, as happens now, but by a spiritual action, in the same way as sensible objects act on the senses being perceived by impressing the organ with their forms according to their spiritual and not their material being.
Objection 1: It would seem that the worm by which the damned are tormented is corporeal. Because flesh cannot be tormented by a spiritual worm. Now the flesh of the damned will be tormented by a worm: "He will give fire and worms into their flesh" (Jdt 16,21), and: "The vengeance on the flesh of the ungodly is fire and worms" (Si 7,19). Therefore that worm will be corporeal.
Objection 2: Further, Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xxi, 9): . . . "Both, namely fire and worm, will be the punishment of the body." Therefore, etc.
On the contrary, Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xx, 22): "The unquenchable fire and the restless worm in the punishment of the damned are explained in various ways by different persons. Some refer both to the body, some, both to the soul: others refer the fire, in the literal sense, to the body, the worm to the soul metaphorically: and this seems the more probable."
I answer that, After the day of judgment, no animal or mixed body will remain in the renewed world except only the body of man, because the former are not directed to incorruption [*Cf. Question , Article ], nor after that time will there be generation or corruption. Consequently the worm ascribed to the damned must be understood to be not of a corporeal but of a spiritual nature: and this is the remorse of conscience, which is called a worm because it originates from the corruption of sin, and torments the soul, as a corporeal worm born of corruption torments by gnawing.
Reply to Objection 1: The very souls of the damned are called their flesh for as much as they were subject to the flesh. Or we may reply that the flesh will be tormented by the spiritual worm, according as the afflictions of the soul overflow into the body, both here and hereafter.
Reply to Objection 2: Augustine speaks by way of comparison. For he does not wish to assert absolutely that this worm is material, but that it is better to say that both are to be understood materially, than that both should be understood only in a spiritual sense: for then the damned would suffer no bodily pain. This is clear to anyone that examines the context of his words in this passage.
Objection 1: It would seem that the weeping of the damned will be corporeal. For a gloss on Lc 13,28, "There will be weeping," says that "the weeping with which our Lord threatens the wicked is a proof of the resurrection of the body." But this would not be the case if that weeping were merely spiritual. Therefore, etc.
Objection 2: Further, the pain of the punishment corresponds to the pleasure of the sin, according to Apoc. 18:7: "As much as she hath glorified herself and lived in delicacies, so much torment and sorrow give ye to her." Now sinners had internal and external pleasure in their sin. Therefore they will also have external weeping.
On the contrary, Corporeal weeping results from dissolving into tears. Now there cannot be a continual dissolution from the bodies of the damned, since nothing is restored to them by food; for everything finite is consumed if something be continually taken from it. Therefore the weeping of the damned will not be corporeal.
I answer that, Two things are to be observed in corporeal weeping. One is the resolution of tears: and as to this corporeal weeping cannot be in the damned, since after the day of judgment, the movement of the first movable being being at an end, there will be neither generation, nor corruption, nor bodily alteration: and in the resolution of tears that humor needs to be generated which is shed forth in the shape of tears. Wherefore in this respect it will be impossible for corporeal weeping to be in the damned. The other thing to be observed in corporeal weeping is a certain commotion and disturbance of the head and eyes, and in this respect weeping will be possible in the damned after the resurrection: for the bodies of the damned will be tormented not only from without, but also from within, according as the body is affected at the instance of the soul's passion towards good or evil. In this sense weeping is a proof of the body's resurrection, and corresponds to the pleasure of sin, experienced by both soul and body.
This suffices for the Replies to the Objections.
Objection 1: It would seem that the damned are not in material darkness. For commenting on Jb 10,22, "But everlasting horror dwelleth," Gregory says (Moral. ix): "Although that fire will give no light for comfort, yet, that it may torment the more it does give light for a purpose, for by the light of its flame the wicked will see their followers whom they have drawn thither from the world." Therefore the darkness there is not material.
Objection 2: Further, the damned see their own punishment, for this increases their punishment. But nothing is seen without light. Therefore there is no material darkness there.
Objection 3: Further, there the damned will have the power of sight after being reunited to their bodies. But this power would be useless to them unless they see something. Therefore, since nothing is seen unless it be in the light, it would seem that they are not in absolute darkness.
On the contrary, It is written (Mt 22,13): "Bind his hands and his feet, and cast him into the exterior darkness." Commenting on these words Gregory says (Moral. ix): If this fire gave any light, "he would by no means be described as cast into exterior darkness."
Further, Basil says (Hom. i in Ps 28,7, "The voice of the Lord divideth the flame of fire") that "by God's might the brightness of the fire will be separated from its power of burning, so that its brightness will conduce to the joy of the blessed, and the heat of the flame to the torment of the damned." Therefore the damned will be in material darkness.
Other points relating to the punishment of the damned have been decided above (Question ).
I answer that, The disposition of hell will be such as to be adapted to the utmost unhappiness of the damned. Wherefore accordingly both light and darkness are there, in so far as they are most conducive to the unhappiness of the damned. Now seeing is in itself pleasant for, as stated in Metaph. i, "the sense of sight is most esteemed, because thereby many things are known."
Yet it happens accidentally that seeing is painful, when we see things that are hurtful to us, or displeasing to our will. Consequently in hell the place must be so disposed for seeing as regards light and darkness, that nothing be seen clearly, and that only such things be dimly seen as are able to bring anguish to the heart. Wherefore, simply speaking, the place is dark. Yet by Divine disposition, there is a certain amount of light, as much as suffices for seeing those things which are capable of tormenting the soul. The natural situation of the place is enough for this, since in the centre of the earth, where hell is said to be, fire cannot be otherwise than thick and cloudy, and reeky as it were.
Some hold that this darkness is caused by the massing together of the bodies of the damned, which will so fill the place of hell with their numbers, that no air will remain, so that there will be no translucid body that can be the subject of light and darkness, except the eyes of the damned, which will be darkened utterly.
This suffices for the Replies to the Objections.
Summa - Supplement 1927