I’m new around here. I had a question. I have been reading God and the World by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Peter Seewald
In it the Pope (then Cardinal) says of Purgatory:
"There will be few people whose lives are pure and fulfilled in all respects…In any case, we need a final cleansing, a cleaning b y fire, to be exact, in which they gaze of Christ, so to say, burns us free from everything, and only under this purifying gaze are we, as it were, fit to be with God and able, then, to make our home with him.
Purgatory basically means that God can put the pieces back together. That he can cleanse us in such a way that we are able to be with him and can stand there in the fullness of life.
I would say that from the human point of view one of the functions of purgatory is to get rid of these particularist attitudes. It strips off from one person what is unbearable and from another the inability to bear certain things, so that in each of them a pure heart is revealed, and we can see that we all belong together n one enormous symphony of being.
As far as the Buddhists are concerned…even here, though in a quite different way of looking at things-is to be found something like a hope for an ultimate rightness of being."
God and the World (Ignatius 2002), 129-30.
I’m confused because this goes against what I’ve always heard about purgatory. Also I looked at what some councils said about purgatory and this doesn’t seem to jibe. Here’s what I found about what Trent said:
The Council of Trent
The Sixth Session
CANON XXX.-If any one saith, that, after the grace of Justification has been received, to every penitent sinner the guilt is remitted, and the debt of eternal punishment is blotted out in such wise, that there remains not any debt of temporal punishment to be discharged either in this world, or in the next in Purgatory, before the entrance to the kingdom of heaven can be opened (to him); let him be anathema.
It seems as though the Cardinal is saying that purgatory serves two or three functions. It “basically” means that God can put the pieces back together. Likewise, it’s an extension of sanctification—a finish process that completes the work of sanctification. Finally, it’s a leveling or democratizing process.
Ratzinger speaks of purgatory as being a place not only of Catholics. Indeed, it holds out hope for the Buddhist.
This seems to go against traditional Catholic dogma, according to which purgatory is reserved for Roman Catholics who died in a state of grace, and are consigned to purgatory in order to remit the penal debt of temporal guilt.
Is this a logical development of dogma? It seems to run counter to traditional dogma.
I’m confused, Can anyone explain this?