Is Purgatory New?

When we die we will go to Heaven, Hell or temporarily to Purgatory.

Before Jesus died, people couldn’t go to Heaven, they could go to Hell or Abraham’s Bosom.

Was there a Purgatory before Jesus died? If so, when they finished their time would they go to Abraham’s Bosom?

If there was no Purgatory, would only the sinless go to Abraham’s Bosom?


I was at a conservative Jewish funeral home a few years back and picked up one of their free prayer books, and in it, there was a prayer for your dead loved ones that explicitly asks God to forgive their sins and to offer up your own prayers for them in that next life (I wish I had it in front of me).

If you asked any Jewish person if they believed in Purgatory, they would say “no”, but this prayer was awfully close to our Catholic Purgatory prayers.

So no, Purgatory is in no way a “new” concept that the Catholics made up.

Nelka, I apologize–I read the subject line of your question and replied to that.

I don’t think the Church ever defined it, but in the mystical writing of Mary of Agreda, she claimed that Jesus went to both Purgatory and Limbo after His death and released everybody there to Heaven.

The only thing that is certain in this regard is that the present purgatory did not exist then (no one is still there from before the resurrection).

While not magisterial, St. Thomas Aquinas denied that there was a purgatory back then.

Note that the limbo of the fathers was not a place of supernatural perfection, but only natural, so it would not require the same level of perfection as Heaven.

Judaism believes in Purgatory but only for a limited amount of (earthly) time, that is, one year. Prayers for the dead are said by family members for a period of 11 months because it is hoped the deceased is not so bad that a full year of prayers is needed.

Nelka, it is very important that you understand two things.

Firstly, all dead went to a place called sheol. There were different states in it, but it was one.

Secondly, purgatory is not a place.

Therefore, Iso Mishiha went to sheol and put souls where they belong.

The concept of Sheol evolved in the Hebrew Bible into that of Gehinnom, that is, Purgatory, for the purpose of cleansing and atonement. Moreover, the atonement may have already begun in the form of suffering here on Earth.

I have a question. Do catholics still believe in purgatory today?

Yes, they do. (I’m almost certain about this one!)

It might be a bit out of topic, but can anyone please state the Jewish views on salvation?

That is not a Church teaching. The Church does not teach if Purgatory is a place or state or both. Please don’t mislead people.

Uh, I thought Gehenna was Hell? As for the second sentence, the CC does teach that temporal punishment can take place in this life.

Of course we do, it is mentioned in the CCC. Actually, nothing, absolutely nothing, changes regarding faith and morals.

Not ‘Almost’, be completely sure, my elder brother in faith!

For the most part, Jews believe in a World to Come, or heaven, based on Pharisaic tradition. (But not all Jews follow that tradition.) Further, the ultimate bodily resurrection of the dead is one of the thirteen articles of faith as written by Maimonides. What form the souls of the deceased will take in heaven is less well known and not specified in the Hebrew Bible. Therefore, it is generally not speculated upon too much. The focus in Judaism is on the present life and making it a good, moral life, rather than concentrating on achieving heaven. In addition, the term “salvation” is somewhat problematic for Jews since, in its Christian sense, it signifies the need for a Savior (Jesus Christ) as the mediating Son of G-d. Jews do not believe that the Messiah is meant to fulfill the function of a Savior. Individual prayer and good deeds serve the purpose of salvation, particularly in the earthly sense.

Actually, she does. She is also guided by the holy spirit whose fruits include love, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness and self control, all of which are expressed in posts that are free from uncharitable avoidable statements, lol.

See catechism textbook, syromalabar church, class 8.
And also, L’Oservatore Romano, 7 August 1999. Section titled purgatory.

The*Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, first published in 2005, is a summary in dialogue form of theCatechism of the Catholic Church. It deals with purgatory in the following exchange:

  1. What is purgatory?Purgatory is the state of those who die in God’s friendship, assured of their eternal salvation, but who still have need of purification to enter into the happiness of heaven.

Thank you

I would ask, when you leave this life and all your sin are forgiven by Jesus, are we pure enough to be in the presence of Our God who is all knowing, all loving, to a degree we will never reach on this earth, are we who are fresh from many years of self love and sin in a pure enough state to be in Gods presents. I for one want all trace of sin, even the rust of sin removed from me. Then, just maybe I’ll be worthy to be in his presence. A most joyous day will be the day I get to experience the Fire of his Love. Do I believe in purgatory, Yes?

You are the one who stated it is “not a place”. The Church does not teach that. It can be a state and place. The Church does not rule out it also being a place.


CCC 1030 All who die in God’s grace and friendship, 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.

CCC 1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:

As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.

CCC 1032 This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: “Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.” From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:

Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.

Father John Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary:

PURGATORY.** The place or condition** in which the souls of the just are purified after death and before they can enter heaven. They may be purified of the guilt of their venial sins, as in this life, by an act of contrition deriving from charity and performed with the help of grace. This sorrow does not, however, affect the punishment for sins, because in the next world there is no longer any possibility of merit. The souls are certainly purified by atoning for the temporal punishments due to sin by their willing acceptance of suffering imposed by God. The sufferings in purgatory are not the same for all, but proportioned to each person’s degree of sinfulness. Moreover, these sufferings can be lessened in duration and intensity through the prayers and good works of the faithful on earth. Nor are the pains incompatible with great peace and joy, since the poor souls deeply love God and are sure they will reach heaven. As members of the Church Suffering, the souls in purgatory can intercede for the persons on earth, who are therefore encouraged to invoke their aid. Purgatory will not continue after the general judgment, but its duration for any particular soul continues until it is free from all guilt and punishment. Immediately on purification the soul is assumed into heaven. (Etym. Latin purgatio, cleansing, purifying.)

Sorry Thistle, I have to disappoint you.

I am a student, currently studying in Grade 8. I have referred to my textbooks on this. It states:

Shudheekaranasthalam palappozhum oru sthalamayi sankalpikkapedunnundenilum athu yatharthathil oru sthalamalla, poornathayilekku neengikkondirikkunna oravasthayanu

.So Jamma, you are correct! I believe in a book written for children and examined and signed by Mar Varkey Vithayathil and Mar George Alenchery.

Sorry but nobody has shown me any Church document which states Purgatory is not a place. Being a state/condition does not preclude it from also being a place. The same applies to Hell.
Both Puragtory and Hell can be a state and a place.

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