Insight Wanted


#1

I will post this same question here in case the Apologetics dont answer. I am starting to get interested in the Catholic religion. There are however a few things holding me back. I guess my main things are Purgatory and the Pope. But I will focus on one question for this post.My questions about Purgatory are, for instance, why if everyone must be “purified” through the fire did Jesus tell the theif hanging on the cross next to him, “This day you will be with me in Paradise”? Why would he say that if that person weren’t going straight there? Why would Jesus have to sacrifice himself, which was supposed to cleanse us through His blood, if we were still going to have to be RE-purified in Purgatory? I thought the reason for Jesus’ sacrifice was to spare us from further agony after death? The passage from the Bible, though the exact chapter eludes me at this moment, that says the foundation upon which a man builds his house will be put through the test of fire and if it weren’t constructed with the right materials(a relationship with God) it will perish. That is the closest I’ve come to getting an example of Purgatory from the Bible. I also know the whole arguement about the fact that there are many things that are not mentioned specifically in the Bible (i.e. The Trinity) that are still taught it Protestant religions. I also know the verse that says Truely I say to you, you will not be free until you have paid the last penny. I interpret both those passages to mean not Purgatory but that if you try to a build a life with something other than God and expect it to last, you will be sorely dissapointed. I also interpret that paying to the last penny means that our lives here on earth as christians will not be easy and we will be put to the test repeatedly even when we feel we have done nothing wrong or don’t deserve it. We will all pay the last penny. The bible leaves much room for interpretation which in a way is unfortunate but then again if it came right out and gave us every answer to the tee there would be no faith. I would love some Catholic wisdom spread on my beliefs in a positive manner. Hope to hear from you soon. :confused: :slight_smile:


#2

From here:
The beautiful recounting of the words of Jesus to the good thief (Luke 23:43), to whom legend gives the name St. Dismas, tells us nothing about purgatory, either for the thief or for us. It is possible the suffering of the thief on the cross and his intense contrition and love were sufficient to expiate all the temporal punishment that was due to his sins. Also, we have no idea about he duration of purgatory in temporal terms. Jesus said “Amen I say to you, this day you will be with me in paradise”. But the Bible says, “… one day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8) How long in our kind of measurement was “this day” of which Christ spoke? Jesus Himself ascended into heaven only forty days after His resurrection (Acts of the Apostles 1:3). Your Protestant friends are off the mark in their efforts to disprove what Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture clearly affirm, the existence of purgatory.

Read about purgatory in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (numbers 1030-1032).

More reading:
Catholic Information Network
Purgatory: The Purifying Fire
This is interesting
CatholicBridge.com


#3

Hello there. Due to time constraints, I’m not going to tackle all the points you raised in your post. But I would like to respond to this one:

[quote=Curious101] why if everyone must be “purified” through the fire did Jesus tell the theif hanging on the cross next to him, “This day you will be with me in Paradise”? Why would he say that if that person weren’t going straight there?
[/quote]

The Catholic Church does not teach that everyone goes to purgatory. Only people who die in a state of grace but have not yet paid off their debt of temporal punishment due to sin go to purgatory. Purgatory is not the only way that the temporal punishment due to sin can be remitted. It can also be remitted in this life through our suffering and good works. God can purify us with a single act of His divine will as well. This was probably the case with the thief hanging on the cross next to Christ.

One other quick point. Anyone who goes to purgatory is already saved. Every single person in purgatory is definitely, without a doubt, going to heaven. It is simply the process through which God cleans us up before we enter into the wedding banquet.


#4

[quote=atsheeran]One other quick point. Anyone who goes to purgatory is already saved. Every single person in purgatory is definitely, without a doubt, going to heaven. It is simply the process through which God cleans us up before we enter into the wedding banquet.
[/quote]

Well said. And to add to that, exactly what or how purgatory works is a mystery. There are prevailing thoughts, but we are free to hypothesize to a large degree. (Not on if purgatory exists, but in how.) For instance, many believe it is not a PLACE but a PROCESS–which could be instantaneous even. This belief (though not the most popular among laity you might discuss it with) would not be un-Catholic.


#5

Why would Jesus have to sacrifice himself, which was supposed to cleanse us through His blood, if we were still going to have to be RE-purified in Purgatory?

They are not being re-purified. Purgatory is the final purification where Christ’s blood cleanses us. Some believe that Jesus’s blood covers all your sins. We believe it actually cleanses all sins. But we cannot be fully cleansed until after we die. And as Forest-Pine mentioned, the Church has not said whether or not purgatory is instantaneous or very long. I believe that it could be both depending on the person, the life they lived and how they died. But either (or both;) ) can be believed from a Catholic perspective.

from CA This Rock catholic.com/thisrock/1998/9801fea2.asp
The holy souls in purgatory are not experiencing a different or additional cleansing, but only the final effects of the one cleansing in the blood of Christ, since nothing unclean shall enter heaven (Rev. 21:27). Those who are being purified beyond death are not the unbelieving and the impenitent, who will go to hell; the souls in purgatory are those who have already been justified by grace and are at peace with God at their life’s end.

posted by Curious 101
The passage from the Bible, though the exact chapter eludes me at this moment, that says the foundation upon which a man builds his house will be put through the test of fire and if it weren’t constructed with the right materials(a relationship with God) it will perish. That is the closest I’ve come to getting an example of Purgatory from the Bible.

I am not sure is this is the one you meant, but…

1 Cor. 3:15 – “if any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”

from here scripturecatholic.com/purgatory.html
Hence, this verse proves that there is an expiation of temporal punishment after our death, but the person is still saved. This cannot mean heaven (there is no punishment in heaven) and this cannot mean hell (the possibility of expiation no longer exists and the person is not saved).

There are many more verses specifically addressing most all of your post. I hope you go to scripture catholic yourself scripturecatholic.com/purgatory.html

There are also many articles at the CA home, but I think you will find exactly what you need at the scripture catholic.

God Bless,
Maria


#6
  • Purgatory is not the only way that the temporal punishment due to sin can be remitted. It can also be remitted in this life through our suffering and good works.*

I was always taught that good works did not make you right with God or get you into heaven in anyway. I was taught that the good deeds of man were like a dirty rag in the eyes of God. I also know we suffer here and I would assume this to be punishment through seperation from God’s holy presence. It just seems to me the idea of a place like Purgatory would in effect question the reasoning for the crucifixtion. Why would God sacrifice His only Son to shed his blood through pain and suffering and then to descend into Hell if despite all this our repentance here on Earth for our sins was still not going to be enough to get us DIRECTLY into Heaven? To me it all just seems to be a bit much suffering to come directly from the Word of God. I know through suffering is glory but to suffer on Earth then suffer before one gets into Heaven also? The idea hurts me. On that note I want to address my questions about the Pope. The only reason I don’t agree with having a Pope is because I feel like a hierarchy that is as powerful as the one the Catholic church exercises denotes from the glory of God. I feel that during some points in time too much attention has been focused on electing a Pope and preserving his sanctity. That seems a little extreme and for someone who isn’t even a saint…I’m not saying the Pope isn’t a Godly man but I was taught most truely Godly men pursued a relationship further with God through modesty and poverty. The Pope is far from all those things. It would seem harder for such a wealthy highly respected man to not lose himself in the power. I also feel that Catholocism in Rome has turned into more of a form of government than a form or religion. Maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about, lol, so any more insight? :confused:


#7

Good works do not save you. However, If you are truly sorry for your sins, do you do anything about it?

For example, you steal a car, get caught. Is it enough that you are sorry and won’t ever do it again? No, you go to jail. God forgives you the instant you repent, but you still have to serve out your sentence in jail.

When we sin, it is as if we drive nails into our flesh. Jesus died on the cross for us and pulled the nails out. But the sin leaves holes in our soul, purgatory is where the holes are healed.

David, was sorry for his sin but God still punished him after he repented. There are consequences to sin, even after we repent of that sin.

Did you look a Scripture Catholic and the scripture on purgatory?

God Bless,
Maria


#8

You guys have helped me a lot. I guess I never really wanted to believe that even though I’ve repented of my sins that I would still be “punished” (even though I don’t like that word) for the marr sin had left on my soul. Protestant religion teaches that once your except Christ as Lord and Saviour, when you die you go STRAIGHT to heaven. Catholocism preaches that even a saved soul must be purified of its earthly marks left by sin before it can enter the gates of Heaven. I guess the latter makes sense if you think about it but even though it may be hard one must look at it from a Protestant raised point of view. That is quite a stretch from what I used to. It will be hard for me to accept. I can fathom it though I may not want to. I have just been pre conditioned to see Catholics as religious monsters who preach fire and brimstone andif you stray from their ways even a little you will surely burn in hell. I don’t know…my best friend recently started RCIA in TX and she is becoming Catholic. Our religious convo’s prompted by curiousity. Everyone else in my family thinks I’m nuts. LOL. Will anyone please read my last post and shed some light on my questions about the Pope? I have read the articles and stuff but I find talking to someone who can correct my misinterpretations more helpful. Hope to hear from you guys soon. :stuck_out_tongue:


#9

[quote=Curious101]I’m not saying the Pope isn’t a Godly man but I was taught most truely Godly men pursued a relationship further with God through modesty and poverty. The Pope is far from all those things. It would seem harder for such a wealthy highly respected man to not lose himself in the power. I also feel that Catholocism in Rome has turned into more of a form of government than a form or religion. Maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about, lol, so any more insight? :confused:
[/quote]

  1. The Vatican is a City-State. It is a full-fledged government. The pope is a world leader and is rightfully addressed as such.

  2. Catholicism is a religion comprised of 24 (maybe 22 or 23, I need to remember this) different churches. Each has its own head. Pope Benedict is the head of the Latin Church. Right now a synod of bishops is ongoing in Rome with the bishops all coming together and discussing the needs of all Catholicism–all 20-something churches–and deciding what they want to do. The pope has spoken to the synod once. He isn’t a “dictator.”

  3. The pope is not the only one who can speak ex cathedra on matters of faith and morals. The bishops together and ecumenical councils are more likely historically to do so.

  4. The Vatican City-State is not all that wealthy. As a matter of fact, I don’t think they are doing all that great right now.

  5. The pope lives in one small apartment in the Vatican. Many Vatican staffers are afforded this same “luxory.”

  6. One thing that seems odd to Americans is the idea of a “summer residence” or regular, lengthy “vacations” from home. We must keep in mind that this is VERY common in Europe and is not a “luxory” of only the rich and famous. My good friend from Eastern Europe was of a pretty low class and her family still took two months to go to the beach every year.

  7. The Vatican buildings were built many, many, many years ago during a time when the prevailing thought was that God was worthy of the biggest and best, that it was an outward sign of how important what was housed within was. The current push for minimalistic architecture must be kept in context. No matter what you think of the architecture, you must realize that it is bought and paid for and would be beyond silly not to continue using it.

  8. Have you seen the clothes the pope wears? Have you heard him speak? I don’t think anyone could ever rightfully complain of him being immodest.

  9. Having the weight of being the top person charged with the job of tending a flock of millions is not an easy task. As a matter of fact, Cardinal Ratzinger I believe asked to retire many years ago and Pope John Paul II wouldn’t let him. He wanted to peacefully retire and work on his writings in peace. His brother (a priest) begged him to turn down the election if he was chosen. He knows he will be pope until the day he dies, and it wasn’t his “dream” of retirement so to speak. But when the cardinals asked him to take on the job, he answered the call and put aside his personal desires for the sake of us all. How humble of him! How very selfless!


#10

You’re right, good works do not save us. No amount of good works can put you from a state of mortal sin to a state of grace. Only God’s mercy can do that. However, once you are in a state of grace, good works can help heal and improve the damage done to your relationship with God. That’s all that purgatory does.


#11

The good thief was experiencing his own purgatory even as Jesus was speaking to him. Not many of us will experience crucifixion, but our own sufferings, like the good thief’s, are not wasted if they are offered to God. Jesus did not come to save us from suffering. He did say, “you must pick up your cross and follow me.”


#12

1 Corinthians 3:10-15 (New Living Translation)
10Because of God’s special favor to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. 11For no one can lay any other foundation than the one we already have–Jesus Christ. 12Now anyone who builds on that foundation may use gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. 13But there is going to come a time of testing at the judgment day to see what kind of work each builder has done. Everyone’s work will be put through the fire to see whether or not it keeps its value. 14If the work survives the fire, that builder will receive a reward. 15But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builders themselves will be saved, but like someone escaping through a wall of flames.

To me… this passage is saying nothing about purgatory. When we talk about the foundation that is being laid and what is being built apon it is the Faith that we build apon Jesus and His teachings. When Judgement Day comes our Faith and all we have done in the name of that Faith will be judged (i.e. put through the flames). Anything that is not of Pure Holy Substance will burn up in that judgement because it is flimsy and not ‘fire-proof’, meaning it didn’t come from God. The believer will make it through that judgement because God knows their heart and knows that they were trying to do His will, they were just a little misguided, but their work will be demolished. This is what I get from that passage. Nothing about Purgatory though… :slight_smile:


#13

posted by Curious 101

On that note I want to address my questions about the Pope. The only reason I don’t agree with having a Pope is because I feel like a hierarchy that is as powerful as the one the Catholic church exercises denotes from the glory of God. I feel that during some points in time too much attention has been focused on electing a Pope and preserving his sanctity. That seems a little extreme and for someone who isn’t even a saint…I’m not saying the Pope isn’t a Godly man but I was taught most truely Godly men pursued a relationship further with God through modesty and poverty. The Pope is far from all those things. It would seem harder for such a wealthy highly respected man to not lose himself in the power. I also feel that Catholocism in Rome has turned into more of a form of government than a form or religion. Maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about, lol, so any more insight? :confused:

Do you understand the Scriputure behind the authority of the Pope? Your problem is the pomp and ceremony around the pope?

:hmmm: I don’t know if I am the best one for this, but I would suggest you just start a new thread labeled “Insight wanted II: The Pope” or some such thing so those who are more articulate on this subject can help.

The only thing that jumps out at me is the Godly man part. While the current and last pope were certainly men of God, there have been some real horrible people who were popes. God did not promise that whoever was pope would be a good person, He just promised that the person who was pope would never officially teach doctrine that was false, keeping His Scripture true, “the church is the pillar and foundation of truth”.

I truly do not have words of insight for the cermony part, but I would encourage you to start a new thread labeled with “pope” to help attract some slightly more intelligent comments than mine.

God Bless,
Maria

BTW - It takes a lot to admit and understand that some of your problems are not necessarily with the doctrine itself, but your “preconditioning”.

I pray you will continue to seek, question and grow in your faith in Christ.

**Wow, I am a really slow typer. No one had answered when I started writing this:p **


#14

Come to think of it, you know what I think would convince you of the true life of the pope? Read some encyclicals and books written by either Pope John Paul II or Pope Benedict. You will see how these men think and conduct their lives. You will see what they are working on during their “free time.” You will see that it is not the equivalent life of Queen Elizabeth or other modern monarchs, heads of state or religion, etc.

Here are some: rc.net/rcchurch/vatstmts/

Here’s a list of books by and about Pope Benedict: catholic-pages.com

Here’s a list of all sorts of spoken and written addresses of Pope John Paul II: Holy See

And one for Benedict XVI: Holy See


#15

Many people have a problem with the Pope as he is portrayed by people outside the Church.

Once you are inside the Church it is a very different perception. I think of the Pope as part of my family, my spiritual father. Just like the rest of Catholics\ and separated Christians as my brothers and sisters in Christ. We also have mothers like Mother Angelica and others…

Who wouldn’t want to treat your father with respect and love, we do not worship or detract from God in this way but give him honor which is just honoring one of God’s creatures.

In Catholicism we don’t believe that honor to others detracts from God’s Glory but rather gives more to God. It is not love God or others but both love God and everything He has created.

Now that being said there have been Popes who are not the best fathers and who have probably been bad men, that doesn’t mean that they still wouldn’t be Pope. Just like if I had an alcoholic father who sinned greatly, I would still try and love him as he still is my father. (“Pope” is just a way of saying father.)

Most attacks on the validity of the Pope focus on bad Popes without realizing that that proves the power of God and the institution of Pope even more, as flawed as these men were, for 2000 years none have taught officially taught heresy. A good book to read on this is Pope Fiction by Patrick Madrid.
Here is a link to an atricle here about popes,
catholic.com/library/Papal_Infallibility.asp

Even our first Pope, Peter who was hand picked by Jesus rejected Him 3 times, which illustrates how men are weak, yet the institution is guaranteed by Jesus. He is a visible sign of unity, which we profess, one faith.

There are several articles explaining more, but we do try to take care of our spiritual father. Most people don’t realize that the job is really just a position of service, he is there to guard the faith, serve the people and shephard, which is a lot of work, not really a sit back, relax and enjoy type of job.

Hopefully I answered your question ok, feel free to ask more,
God Bless
Scylla


#16

[quote=Singinbeauty]1 Corinthians 3:10-15 (New Living Translation)
10Because of God’s special favor to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. 11For no one can lay any other foundation than the one we already have–Jesus Christ. 12Now anyone who builds on that foundation may use gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. 13But there is going to come a time of testing at the judgment day to see what kind of work each builder has done. Everyone’s work will be put through the fire to see whether or not it keeps its value. 14If the work survives the fire, that builder will receive a reward. 15But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builders themselves will be saved, but like someone escaping through a wall of flames.

To me… this passage is saying nothing about purgatory. When we talk about the foundation that is being laid and what is being built apon it is the Faith that we build apon Jesus and His teachings. When Judgement Day comes our Faith and all we have done in the name of that Faith will be judged (i.e. put through the flames). Anything that is not of Pure Holy Substance will burn up in that judgement because it is flimsy and not ‘fire-proof’, meaning it didn’t come from God. The believer will make it through that judgement because God knows their heart and knows that they were trying to do His will, they were just a little misguided, but their work will be demolished. This is what I get from that passage. Nothing about Purgatory though… :slight_smile:
[/quote]

\

That is exactly what purgatory is. It purifies us and burns up anything that is not holy. Only those destined for heaven experience purgatory, it is not a second chance to make it to heaven, (just an instantaneous or more prolonged, the church does not specify which), time of burning up that which is not Godly.

So while you don’t “see” purgatory, you describe it pretty well.:smiley:

What do you (did you?) think purgatory is? Just curious.

God Bless,
Maria


#17

I just wanted to add that I find the idea of purgatory to be very comforting. I don’t relish the idea of going there, and I hope I will make it straight to heaven. However, I also know that heaven is a place for perfection, and I am far from perfect. I would hate to die, be judged and be told if my soul were perfectly clean, I could enter heaven, but since it isn’t, I’m going to hell. I’m glad that God has given us an opportunity to purify our souls even after death.


#18

[quote=Singinbeauty] Anything that is not of Pure Holy Substance will burn up in that judgement because it is flimsy and not ‘fire-proof’, meaning it didn’t come from God. The believer will make it through that judgement because God knows their heart and knows that they were trying to do His will, they were just a little misguided, but their work will be demolished. This is what I get from that passage. Nothing about Purgatory though… :slight_smile:
[/quote]

:rotfl: You just described a belief in purgatory beautifully, SingingBeauty!

Curious, as I mentioned before, what exactly purgatory is is totally up to speculation. There are many who believe in more of a process (as SingingBeauty described) than a place. This is completely in line with Catholic theology. All we are required to believe is that nothing unclean can enter heaven, so there must be some way of purification between death and entrance to heaven. We call this purgatory.


#19

About 30 years or so after St.Peters death some one was buried in the catacombs, and their inscription was ‘pray for me’, no point to that Christian practice if they are in heaven or hell.
But purgatory is in this life also, as each soul is being perfected gradually for a life in heaven, any final perfecting of the soul which is still wanting is completed after death, before the soul will enter heaven.


#20

[quote=Forest-Pine]:rotfl: You just described a belief in purgatory beautifully, SingingBeauty!

Curious, as I mentioned before, what exactly purgatory is is totally up to speculation. There are many who believe in more of a process (as SingingBeauty described) than a place. This is completely in line with Catholic theology. All we are required to believe is that nothing unclean can enter heaven, so there must be some way of purification between death and entrance to heaven. We call this purgatory.
[/quote]

As many of you have said… It is looking more and more like I am more catholic than I originally thought!!! :bigyikes: I always thought that catholics believed that purgatory was a place that you had to spend time in in order to be cleansed. I had no idea that they thought like I did. I believe, though, that it will be instantaneous when Judgement Day comes you will be judged for your life here on earth and then it’s DONE. Everyone will pass through judgement. Some may have a quick go at it and some may have to stand in front of God for a while listening to the list of sins they have piled up. I hope I am of the former! :slight_smile:


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.