According to the Catholic Encyclopedia article on Hell, the damned also suffer various "accidental" punishments, one of them being that "[t]he reprobate must live in the midst of the damned; and their outbursts of hatred or of reproach as they gloat over his sufferings, and their hideous presence, are an ever fresh source of torment."
How far back in Church History can we find a mention of this particular torment of hell?
In the book The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Hell, Heaven by Fr. Martin Von Cochem O.S.F. (1625-1712), a book highly recommended by the likes of the great Doctor of the Church St. Alphonsus Liguori, Section V. On the Company of Hell says in PART III. ON HELL:
There are many bold sinners who, when they are punished for their
crimes and threatened with Hell-fire are wont audaciously to answer:
"Wherever I go, I shall at any rate not lack company," as if the
presence of others could afford any solace to them, or any alleviation
of their torment. In order that these shameless sinners may see how
wrong they are to speak thus, and how little cause they have to
anticipate any relief from the company in which they will find
themselves, this chapter shall be devoted to showing them how woeful
that company will be, and how it will aggravate their misery.
The society of the damned consists of devils and lost souls. Both of
these are countless in number. As for the society of the devils, this
is so detestable that it may be reckoned as the worst penalty of the
lost in Hell. The place of torment would be far less deserving of this
name were there no devils in it. On account of the multitude of demons
there, such confusion, such grief, such misery, such tyranny prevails,
that it is heartbreaking even to think of it.
We mortals have no worse enemy than the devil, who hates us with so
intense a hatred that he longs every moment to hurl us down into the
abyss of perdition. And when at length he has got some one into his
power, he deals with him more barbarously than savage despot ever
dealt with his deadliest foe.
All the envy and hatred which at the time of his fall he conceived
against God, and which he cannot vent upon Him, he vents upon the
damned, tormenting them with plagues the very thought of which makes a
man s blood run cold. Even if he were not to do any harm to the
damned, the mere fact of his dwelling with them for all eternity would
be such terrible misery for the unhappy sinners, that the horror of
their position would be like a continual death to them.
Of all the fallen spirits, not one is so abominable as the chief of
all, the haughty Lucifer, whose cruelty, malice and spite render him
an object of dread not merely to the damned, but also to the devils
subject to him. This Lucifer is called by various names in Holy
Scriptures, all indicating his malignity. On account of his
repulsiveness he is called a dragon; on account of his ferocity, a
lion; on account of his malice, the old serpent; on account of his
deceitfulness, the father of lies; on account of his haughtiness, king
over all the children of pride; and on account of his great power and
might, the prince of this world.
Listen to what the Fathers of the Church and some expositors of Holy
Scriptures say of the dreadful appearance that Satan presents: they
apply to him the description given of the leviathan in the book of
Job: "Who can discover the face of his garment, or who can go into the
midst of his mouth? Who can open the doors of his face? his teeth are
terrible round about. His body is like molten shields, shut up close
with scales pressing one upon another. One is joined to another, and
not so much as any air can come between them. His sneezing is like the
shining of fire, and his eyes like the eyelids of the morning. Out of
his mouth go forth lamps, like torches of lighted fire. Out of his
nostrils goeth smoke, like that of a pot heated and boiling. His
breath kindleth coals, and a flame cometh forth out of his mouth.
In his neck strength shall dwell, and want goeth before his face. His
heart shall be as hard as a stone, and as firm as a smith’s anvil.
When he shall raise him up, the Angels shall fear and, being
affrighted, turn to God for protection. He shall make the deep sea to
boil as a pot; there is no power upon earth that can be compared with
him who was made to fear no one. He beholdeth every high thing ; he is
king over all the children of pride" (Job xli.).
It is the opinion of St. Cyril, St. Athanasius, St. Gregory and other
learned expositors of both the Greek and Latin Churches, that although
this description, taken literally, is that of a monster of the sea,
yet it is intended, in its mystic sense, to apply to Lucifer. And if
one compares what is said of the leviathan with the attributes
ascribed to the prince of darkness, it is impossible to deny their
coincidence; moreover, one knows as a general fact that evil things
have their types and figures in the natural world as well as good
things, the one serving us for warning, the others for an example.
Therefore Fr. Martin has the Fathers of the Church e.g. St. Cyril, St. Athanasius, and St. Gregory, giving a description of Lucifer from the book of Job which is a type and figure, and warning from the natural world.
The father then continues:
Besides the prince of darkness there are hundreds of thousands of
inferior devils, which though less bad and abominable than himself,
are yet so wicked and horrible that one could hardly look upon them
St. Antony relates that one of the Brothers of his Order uttered a
piercing scream at the sight of a devil who appeared to him. His
fellow-monks, running to him in alarm, found him more dead than alive.
After giving him something to revive and strengthen him, they asked
him what was the matter. Then he told them that the devil had appeared
to him, and terrified him so that all the life had gone out of him.
And on their inquiring what the devil looked like, he answered: "That
I really cannot say; I can only say that if the choice were given me I
would rather be put into a red-hot furnace, than look again at the
countenance of the demon."
We read much the same thing in the life of St. Catharine of Sienna.
She too declared that she had rather walk through a flaming fire than
gaze for one instant at the devil.
If the mere sight of the evil one is so appalling that the Saints
think it more intolerable than the pain of exposure to a burning fire,
what, my God, must be the fear and horror of the damned, dwelling
forever in the midst of countless fiends!
How terrified thou wouldst be if a mad dog were suddenly to spring
upon thee, pull thee to the ground, and begin to tear thee with his
teeth ! Do not imagine that the devil will fall upon the damned with
less fury, or treat them more mercifully. The account Job gives of his
persecutors describes very accurately the state of a lost soul in
"My enemy hath gathered together his fury against me, and threatening
me he hath gnashed with his teeth upon me; he hath beheld me with
terrible eyes. They have opened their mouth upon me and reproaching me
they have struck me on the cheek, they are filled with my pains. He
hath taken me by my neck, he hath broken me, and hath set me up to be
his mark. He hath compassed me round about with his lances, he hath
wounded my loins, he hath not spared. He hath torn me with wound upon
wound, he hath rushed in upon me like a giant" (Job xvi. 10-15).
This passage will give us some idea of the awful character of the company the damned will find themselves among in Hell.
Read the rest here.