The answer to the question “Do protestants go to purgatory?” seems self evident but when speaking to one who believes that we will be instantly accepted into heaven when saved by the blood of Jesus it seems a problem. Is there a penalty for not beleiving in purgatory?
It’s true that denying the existence of purgatory doesn’t change the reality of its existence. It’s a dogmatic teaching of the Church that all those who have died in need of purification, whether Catholic or non-Catholic, are in purgatory. That’s why the Church urges us to pray for all who die in God’s grace and friendship (CCC 1039), to offer prayers, “above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God.”
It’s also true that all who die in God’s grace and friendship (“saved by the blood of Jesus” Catechism no. 1992), but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven (Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 1030). Purgatory is not a middle destiny (CCC 1030-1032). For each soul at the very moment of his death will be judged (particular judgment): either entrance into the blessedness of heaven-through purification or immediately, or immediate and everlasting damnation (Catechism no. 1022). (CCC 1030-1032). What’s more, all souls in purgatory are saved! And, they are all saved by the Blood of Jesus!
Is there a penalty for not believing in purgatory? If you’re asking if there’s a penalty after death for not believing in purgatory, the answer depends on the culpability of the individual. On the other hand, if you’re asking if there’s a penalty for those who reject the Church’s teaching on purgatory, the Council of Trent says,
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.
I suggest that you read Jimmy Akin’s excellent article “How to Explain Purgatory to Protestants” at