Purgatory

(The Lamentation Of Christ)"Now there is no need to pray for the dead who are in Heaven, for they are in no need; nor again for those who are in Hell, because they cannot be loosed from sins. Therefore after this life, there are some not yet loosed from sins, who can be loosed therefrom; and the like have charity, without which sins cannot be loosed, for 'charity covereth all sins' [Prov. 10:12]. Hence they will not be consigned to everlasting death, since 'he that liveth and believeth in Me, shall not die for ever' [Jn. 11:26]: nor will they obtain glory without being cleansed, because nothing unclean shall obtain it, as stated in the last chapter of the Apocalypse (verse 14). Therefore some kind of cleansing remains after this life.  Further, Gregory of Nyssa [De iis qui in fide dormiunt] says: 'If one who loves and believes in Christ,' has failed to wash away his sins in this life, 'he is set free after death by the fire of Purgatory.' Therefore there remains some kind of cleansing after this life.  From the conclusions we have drawn above it is sufficiently clear that there is a Purgatory after this life. For if the debt of punishment is not paid in full after the stain of sin has been washed away by contrition, nor again are venial sins always removed when mortal sins are remitted, and if justice demands that sin be set in order by due punishment, it follows that one who after contrition for his fault and after being absolved, dies before making due satisfaction, is punished after this life. Wherefore those who deny Purgatory speak against the justice of God: for which reason such a statement is erroneous and contrary to faith. Hence Gregory of Nyssa, after the words quoted above, adds: 'This we preach, holding to the teaching of truth, and this is our belief; this the universal Church holds, by praying for the dead that they may be loosed from sins.' This cannot be understood except as referring to Purgatory: and whosoever resists the authority of the Church, incurs the note of heresy." - St. Thomas Aquinas ("Summa Theologica" 13th century A.D.)


"And making a gathering, he sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection. For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead, and because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. With godliness... Judas hoped that these men who died fighting for the cause of God and religion, might find mercy: either because they might be excused from mortal sin by ignorance; or might have repented of their sin, at least at their death. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins." - 2 Maccabees 12:43-46

"For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." - 1 Corinthians 3:11-15

"I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite." - Luke 12:59

"And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the [world] to come. Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by [his] fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment." - Matthew 12:32-36


What the Catechism of the Catholic Church says on "Purgatory:"

1031. "The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. [Cf. Council of Florence (1439): DS 1304; Council of Trent (1563): DS 1820; (1547): 1580; see also Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus (1336): DS 1000.] The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire. [Cf. 1 Cor 3:15; 1 Pet 1:7.] As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come. [St. Gregory the Great, Dial. 4, 39: PL 77, 396; cf. Mt 12:32-36.]"

1472. "To understand this doctrine and practice of the Church, it is necessary to understand that sin has a double consequence. Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the 'eternal punishment' of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the 'temporal punishment' of sin. These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin. A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain. [Cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1712-1713; (1563): 1820.]"


"The souls who are in Purgatory cannot, as I understand, choose but be there, and this is by God's ordinance who therein has done justly." - St. Catherine of Genoa ("A Treatise On Purgatory" 15th century A.D.)


COMMENTS

Nothing impure can enter into the Kingdom of God (Revelations 21:27).

Every person will have to pay for their sins to "the very last penny" (Luke 12:59).

I'll use somewhat of a parable to explain purgatory. God is just per Scripture (John 5:30), correct? Now, let's say you have one man who leads a saintly life and another who leads a sinful life, but sincerely repents of his sins on his death bed. According to Protestants, both these men go straight to Heaven after death. Is this just? I would have to answer in the negative. According to Catholic belief, the saintly man would go straight to Heaven whereas the repentant man would have to be cleansed of the temporal (not eternal) punishment for his sins before entering Heaven. Where is this done? He can't be sent to Hell because Hell is eternal per Scripture (Matthew 25:46; Mark 3:29). There has to be a "middle ground" so to speak. This "middle ground" is Purgatory.  We must suffer for our sins just as Christ suffered for them (Romans 8:17; 2 Corinthians 1:5-7).  If this suffering is not in this life, it has to be in the next.

Protestants say that since Purgatory is not mentioned "by name" in the Holy Bible, it doesn't exist. But the "Trinity" is not mentioned in the Bible either yet almost all mainstream Protestant denominations believe in it.  Unfortunately, the King James version of the Bible mistakenly omits the Books of Maccabees. These books were decided by the Church Fathers to be inspired of God.  The Twelve Apostles used the Septuagint (Greek) canon - almost every single quote from the Old Testament that is cited in the New is from the Septuagint - this canon includes the First and Second Books of Maccabees (as well as five others). It is clear that praying for the dead to release them from the reparation of their sins is good according to the first Biblical verse quoted at the top of this page.

With repentance comes reparation for sins such as "sackcloth and ashes" (Matthew 11:21; Luke 10:13).

Why did God give St. Paul the pain of the stigmata (Galatians 6:17) if there is no reparation for sins?  Why did St. Paul pray for a dead friend (Onesiphorus), if there is no Purgatory (2 Timothy 1:16-18)?

--- Chris                             


FOR THE SOULS IN PURGATORY

O gentle Heart of Jesus, ever present in the Blessed Sacrament, ever consumed with burning love for the poor captive souls in Purgatory, have mercy on them. Be not severe in Your judgments, but let some drops of Your Precious Blood fall upon the devouring flames. And, Merciful Savior, send Your angels to conduct them to a place of refreshment, light and peace. Amen.


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Biblical quotations on this web site are either from the King James Version or the Douay-Rheims Version of the Bible.

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