What does "He descended into hell" mean?


When we say that Jesus descended into hell we mean that after His death on the cross, while His body remained in the tomb, Jesus' soul descended "into the lower parts of the earth." Since the gates of heaven were closed with Adam's original sin, and could not be reopened until the Redemption, the patriarchs and other just of the Old Testament (i.e., all people since Adam) who were not condemned to the hell of eternal punishment were sent to the so-called vestibule of hell, what Catholic Tradition calls the Limbo of the Fathers.