Can people sin in Purgatory?


Why or why not?




That would be my knee-jerk reaction too, but I can’t think of any way to support the notion. Certainly people cannot sin mortally in purgatory, but in the process of their purification do they instantly reject any and all sin? I don’t know, and I don’t know any definitive Church teaching on the question (but I’m open to learn of any).

It may even be an error to talk in terms of time. If the purification process is outside of time then maybe the option to sin can’t even come up.


Interesting question. With no real basis other than my opinion, I would have to answer negatively, no sin in Purgatory. If one is being purified, cleansed, it seems logical that one cannot be sinning more, right? The idea is to be purified and cleansed, not to be in need of more cleansing.


I would say no, since the people in purgatory are those who have died in God’s grace and friendship, but just need a final purification. Also, the soul does not sin - it is the body that sins and the soul is corrupted by the sin of the body. Since only the soul will be in purgatory, sin is not possible. Even if sin was possible, who, when they are so close to Heaven, would risk being parted from God one second longer than they have to?


NO because once you reach Purgatory you are saved. Once you are saved you cannot sin. Purgatory is a purification process from which you can go to Heaven only. You cannot go the other way!


No, because, for humans, unless the soul and (mortal or glorified) body are united our free will is “nullified” (made inert).

Those on earth are mortal body and soul united, and can exercise their free will.

Those in heaven (the Saints) are “at” eternity and are soul and glorified body united, giving them free will again, and have a complete lack of “effectiveness” in doing evil.

Those in hell are “at” eternity and being soul and “glorified” (“damnified”?) body united, have free will, and have an utter lack of “effectiveness” in doing good.

Those in purgatory are not soul and body united, and have no effective free will whatsoever.

The mortal body gives humans changable free will (repentence is possible).

The glorified body gives humans unchangable free will (repentence is NOT possible), like the free will of the angels whose will cannot be repentent (or more properly “repented of”).

(( Repentence means, “turning from [evil] and turning toward [good]”. ))


No. They are being purged of sin. How can you be purged of sin if you can commit sins? So, no, the Church Suffering cannot sin.


The people in Purgatory have already been judged and are being perfected. They are free of any attachment to sin.


One important difference between here and purgatory is that there we know we’re saved and here we don’t know for sure. We may be; we just don’t know yet. In both cases, however, we’ve not yet attained to perfection unless we’re a saint. This would mean, I think, that we can still sin, at least in thought-or else we would be perfect.

Well, somebody had to take the other side.


True. But WHY can you not sin in heaven?

My answer: Because humans in heaven have free will but like the angels have the “version” of free will where every decision is unrepentable, and since they have already chosen (willed freely) to do only God’s will (His commandments), which is what “being in heaven means”, we simply can’t sin again as that choice is not do-able.

Even though Adam/Eve were souls and “glorified” bodies united they could sin because they hadn’t yet (before the fall) chosen to obey God utterly, and were allowed to sin.

Those in the “old holding bin”, sheol, also couldn’t sin, or effectively will freely in any way, because they were not soul and body (of any sort) united.


I think the process of purification and perfecting means we will finally no longer *want *to sin, not because the free will is different but rather because our wills are perfected by the trials of this life and purgatory combined with grace.


I think something along these lines is the answer. As I also noted, one cannot sin mortally in purgatory. But is it even possible that one could sin venially while at the same time it being impossible to sin mortally? I’m not at all sure such a thing is possible.


It is a good idea to notice that they are without a body. A spirit like Lucifer can sin without a body. But then, we are not by nature just spirit, so that may not be relevant. Also, I wonder if the souls in hell before the resurrection can desire with malice or will with evil. Offhand, I would have said that they did. But they have no body at that time.

Even if sin was possible, who, when they are so close to Heaven, would risk being parted from God one second longer than they have to?

I know what you are saying here, but this would require that they are more rational than we are. Perhaps they are, being less distracted.

This reminds me of Dives and Lazarus, the poor man with sores. Dives tries to intercede for his relatives after he dies. But this may just be metaphoric or something, to teach us something, and not really representative of what a soul without a body can do.


Perhaps this lack of “effectiveness” is not the result of a lack of will but a lack of actual grace for that particular purpose. Like, God simply doesn’t supply the damned with the actual grace or whatever type of physical support is needed for them to do anything decent like pray or praise him. Perhaps, though, they are supported enough to freely choose between different ways of cursing him. I don’t know.


No. We can no longer sin once we die physically. Once life on earth ends, our humanity no longer exists. We have begun our eternal life though we endure a process of refinement so that we can be immaculate in the Lord’s house.

:slight_smile: Peace


I completely agree that all merit and demerit ceases upon death. I was taught that somewhere along the line. Thus, you cannot change your fate in any way. But, I was wondering about meritless good/bad actions.

For example, these days it seems some people believe that the poor souls can pray for members of the Church Militant. Although praying is objectively good, it gets them no merit. So I was wondering about wishing someone ill or something, which would be objectively wrong, although it would carry no demerits with it.

I also agree with VociMike, they clearly cannot sin mortally.


I know this is a stupid question, but what is attachment to sin? Is that like an unhealthy attachment to creatures, a phrase that the CCC uses to describe the results/entails of sin that must be purified here or in Purgatory? Attachment to creatures it would seem does not end until you are out of Purgatory?

It uses the phrase here:

[. 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.

**1472**double consequenceevery 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](“http://javascript%3Cb%3E%3C/b%3E:openWindow%28%27cr/1472.htm%27%29;”)



Couldn’t it be said that the reason they’re in purgatory is because they haven’t lost their desire to sin? What does it mean to be perfected? Isn’t it to be perfected in love which means to look only to God and no longer to anything besides Him?

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