Belief of purgatory


Hello. I’m one year old as a catholic and I struggle to believe in purgatory. I believe God is good and loves us, and that he brings us to Heaven after our lives on earth. I want to stay with the Church teachings and believe in Purgatory but I struggle a bit. Are Purgatory a doctrine which we as catholics are obligied to believe in? And why do you believe in Purgatory?

Thanks & God bless!


Everybody in Purgatory goes to Heaven.

Sin is caused by being irrationally attached to certain things and we fail to love God and neighbor. Those type of attachments can lead us to more sins if we hold on to them after confession. Some people have not let go and need to be freed or purified. This can happen by acts of perfect love here on earth or after death, and then the person goes straight to heaven. I believe Purgatory is a firm doctrine.

I would like to be ready to see God face to face, but if I’m not quite there not quite pure, God will fix me up. :sunglasses:

It is Hell that doesn’t go away or empty out, if someone is there.


This was one of the issues that I struggled with myself when I became a Catholic. Scott Hahn is a great resource for this topic and helped me greatly on my journey.


I see. I will try working with myself and believe it fully. Thanks to both of you! God bless!


There’s a strong book out called “ Purgatory “
It’s by Fr. F. X . Schouppe

It has many real life documented encounters.
Hold on to your seat as you read.
It actually scared me, as if I read a horror book !

#6 has some wonderful resources regarding all sorts of catholic topics, including Purgatory. I found this which gives you some biblical support to the concept. While the word “purgatory” may not be in the Bible, the concept certainly is.

"Christ refers to the sinner who “will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matt. 12:32), suggesting that one can be freed after death of the consequences of one’s sins. Similarly, Paul tells us that, when we are judged, each man’s work will be tried. And what happens if a righteous man’s work fails the test? “He will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” (1 Cor 3:15). Now this loss, this penalty, can’t refer to consignment to hell, since no one is saved there; and heaven can’t be meant, since there is no suffering (“fire”) there. The Catholic doctrine of purgatory alone explains this passage.

Then, of course, there is the Bible’s approval of prayers for the dead: “In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if he were not expecting the dead to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin” (2 Macc. 12:43–45). Prayers are not needed by those in heaven, and no one can help those in hell. That means some people must be in a third condition, at least temporarily. This verse so clearly illustrates the existence of purgatory that, at the time of the Reformation, Protestants had to cut the books of the Maccabees out of their Bibles in order to avoid accepting the doctrine.

Prayers for the dead and the consequent doctrine of purgatory have been part of the true religion since before the time of Christ. Not only can we show it was practiced by the Jews of the time of the Maccabees, but it has even been retained by Orthodox Jews today, who recite a prayer known as the Mourner’s Kaddish for eleven months after the death of a loved one so that the loved one may be purified. It was not the Catholic Church that added the doctrine of purgatory. Rather, any change in the original teaching has taken place in the Protestant churches, which rejected a doctrine that had always been believed by Jews and Christians."


I’ve always liked C.S. Lewis’ explanation:


Are you perfect right now? Do you expect to be perfect when you die?

Revelations 21:27 tells us that nothing impure will enter heaven.

If you’re not perfect when you die, but you end up in heaven, then something has to happen in order to purify you, right?

We call that ‘something’ Purgatory. It’s merely a process of purification. Nothing more, nothing less.

Is there something about this concept that seems difficult for you?


I see your point. Nobody is perfect.

Thank you all for answering me.


I would add to what others have said that Purgatory is Biblical:
‘He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.’ 2 Maccabees 12:43-45


I think this sermon is particularly helpful to those who struggle with the heresy of universal salvation:

‘Our chronicles relate an even more dreadful happening. One of our brothers, well-known for his doctrine and holiness, was preaching in Germany. He represented the ugliness of the sin of impurity so forceful that a woman fell dead of sorrow in front of everyone. Then, coming back to life, she said, ‘When I was presented before the Tribunal of God, sixty thousand people arrived at the same time from all parts of the world; out of that number, three were saved by going to Purgatory, and all the rest were damned’ .’

On the Little Number of the Saved
St. Leonard of St. Maurice

St. Aquinas, St. Jerome, and many of the Fathers of the Church come to the same conclusion as he.

Read it through, beginning to end, say a decade of the rosary, and perhaps God will lead you to truth.

God Bless you in your pursuit of the faith. Do not be discouraged! Trust that God and the truth will prevail.


Father Benedict Groeschel said the best book on Purgatory is by St. Catharine of Genoa.

Such things should not be written like a horror story.


Yes. Purgatory is a dogma.

Purgatory is a great grace. It shows that God loves us.


Yes, we must believe in purgatory. However, we are free to accept different views of purgatory.

For me, I don’t see it as punishment. I see it as Mercy. God is cleansing us though fire so that we are worthy of entering Heaven.

As the Bible teaches, nothing impure may enter the Kingdom of Heaven. And honestly, we are all impure.


BTW - perhaps the best Biblical text for Purgatory is 1 Corinthians 3:11-15

For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble—each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

God Bless!


I may not have read enough posts, but I don’t think anyone mentioned that the grace the Lord purchased for us by his Cross and Resurrection can be received in the sacraments and can bring us on the journey where we will be one with God while still in the flesh.

So, why not strive to be a saint? They have gone through their purification while on earth. Read some good spiritual books, get advice from holy priests,
work on improving your prayer life with good spiritual direction. And be at peace. God’s grace is available.

God bless you on your journey with our Lord Jesus Christ.


It was a horror story to me -
reading about all the various accounts -
I did, I felt a genuine - fear of God !

And I certainky felt a dread of possibly dying - and going there.
It rattled my cage, you could say.
Even the book - black and white - with “Purgatory” in orange !

I have it in my bedroom bookshelf -
Only my top 20 religious books are there -
Five feet away from my bed -

It’s not a book - for the casual Catholic - that’s for sure - lol


I believe in it because sin causes us to remain in a prison to it, and the word prison is used in scripture to describe it. We may be forgiven by God but that doesn’t mean we can forget what we’ve done in life. Purgatory comes from the word purge or wash. So we need this cleansing or washing away of our sins, and the feelings we have from sins, so Jesus will unlock the door and we can enjoy heaven in it’s glory!


Okay. To the book’s credit it puts the fear of offending God in them. That is not a bad thing. It is good to focus on the Lord’s mercy as well.

Thank the Lord for the sacraments!



Thank you all for good answers and advice. You guys are helping me with finding out what is right and what is not. I’m so thankful toward the Lord that I’m given the opportunity to connect with so many other catholics and get good advice and answers to my questions.

God bless you all❤

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