Need help explaining Purgatory


Hi all, I’ve been having an online discussion over Facebook with another Catholic about Purgatory. He basically says that almost all Christians, except those who die before the age of discernment or who are martyred will end up in Purgatory (assuming they don’t die in a state of mortal sin). I countered (citing CCC 1023) that it is possible that we could be purified while we were alive and that it is at least theoretically possible that we can go directly to heaven even if we didn’t meet one of those two conditions he listed.

I also tried explaining about indulgences and how they can partially or fully remove temporal punishment and thus shorten or eliminate our time in Purgatory (citing CCC 1471-1479), though he doesn’t seem to believe in indulgences (he holds the common misunderstanding that indulgences are an attempt to buy one’s way into heaven).

I was wondering if anyone had any other official sources that explicitly support the idea that it IS possible that one could go straight to heaven without making a stop in Purgatory.


How many saints has the Church canonized?
Can a saint in purgatory interviene to God for miracles? So obviously, your friend must concede to include canonized saints where the Church has accepted the evidence of them being in heaven. In addition, it is safe to assume there must be other saints in heaven who have gone unnoticed.

You can at least concede that a majority of Christians will have a purgation to some degree. (pun)

I suspect your friend has been reading Protestant literature, and may not be strong enough in the faith, his knowledge of Catholic teaching on purgatory and indulgences is less than juvenile, making him/her vulnerable to wolves in sheep skin.


Read this:

I’d send it to him as well. It’s a very nice article.


Thanks for the help. I just checked his last post; he doesn’t seem interested in understanding the Truth of Catholic teaching, and quite honestly his reasoning is…well…not there at all in his points :stuck_out_tongue: He said something about not using “scholarly sources” (i.e. like I did with the Catechism). Here’s his last post:

" No no no no no! I don’t typically use scholarly sources (except for the Bible on occasion) to back up arguments, I tend to go with reason rather and here’s why: I hate religion and politics because they just make people hate each other. To me, religion does not equal faith. I am not part of the Christian religion. I have Christian faith. There’s a difference. Jesus is my indulgence. There. . .enjoy"

Interesting, because he didn’t really reason anything in his first post, he just claimed that pretty much every Christian goes to Purgatory :confused:

So I guess he really isn’t a Catholic, even though the name of the group is “You might be hardcore Catholic if…” :frowning:

So I just said that if you want to keep your own opinion and not engage in this discussion, it’s up to you, but that I felt obliged to provide the Catholic viewpoint on a Catholic board, especially in case others had questions. I guess I’ll just pray that he comes to a better understanding of the Faith. :slight_smile: Thanks again!


I don’t know if this will help you, but here is the simplest thing I have NEVER heard anyone even begin to refute:

a. While on earth, we are still prone to sin.
b. Heaven is incompatible with any degree of sin, and we will not be prone to sin there.
c. So how will our nature get from a to b.

They must either deny one of the premises, which is easy enough to refute from Scripture. Or they must admit a transformation will occur at death to remove any attachment to sin. Or they must recognize that only a person who has perfected himself on earth can circumvent purgatory.

Usually they will reflexively throw out, Jesus did it all for my sins. But that does not address the a-b-c. :o


This might help:


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