Need help explaining.

I was just at a pro life event, and I was talking to my good friend who used to be catholic. I asked her why she switched, and she said she didn’t like some of the teachings. For ex. purgatory, she said Catholics were spitting on the bible saying Jesus didn’t do enough to get us to heaven. I believe in purgatory, but I didn’t know how to word it other than saying it does exist. That God made purgatory to save mankind, of coarse if you are truly sorry you can enter heaven but it wouldn’t be fair if you got right in. You have to go somewhere to be cleansed, well she just argued. So I was wondering how do you combat such an argument?

This tract may help:

You could tell her that Jesus did more than enough for us to enter heaven. It is we who have not completely cooperated.

Tell her to remember that nothing imperfect enters Heaven when we enter it we need to be PERFECT just as our Father is perfect.
Jesus did all that was necessary to save us that does NOT give us a free pass.
We need to cooperate with Him.
The scriptures over and over reiterate that. So ask her if she is now “PERFECT” no blemishes of any kind. Be charitable, before you ask her tell her that you yourself is not perfect.
Unless she likes to fool herself she will recognize that there are issues she will need to address before she can present herself to GOD the Father.
Purgatory is that step. While you are at it remind her that there are sins that are mortal to our souls. That result in us being cut off from the grace of GOD.
If we die unrepentant of those sins we will NOT go to or through the process of Purgatory.

Peace. :thumbsup:

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you." …]

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you?" …] “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them."

From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

Then Jesus said to the twelve: “Will you also go away?”

And Simon Peter answered him: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. And we have believed and have known, that you are the Christ, the Son of God.”

By showing her the apostolic faith from Sacred Scripture (see here) and from Sacred Tradition (see here).

And remind her that Catholics made the Bible (see here).

Be patient and charitable, but firm. Those who walk away from Holy Church have profound reasons that they are unlikely to reveal, because it takes a significant act of will to walk away from Christ in the Eucharist.

Sounds to me like there is something else going on. Don’t argue with her but don’t allow her to disturb your own faith. Attend to your spiritual life dutifully, perhaps seeing you live your faith will bring her back.


I won’t argue with people like that, and I definitely won’t let them affect my faith. Immediately after I said a prayer that she come back to the faith, especially after todays homily. The pathway to heaven is very narrow, and there is no room for mistakes. God bless.

Hmm… that’s interesting. Perhaps she might like to explain why Paul “was spitting on the Bible”, since he himself said, “in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of … the church” (Colossians 1:24).

I shared this with my friend in hopes of getting her to come home, this is what she said.

I have so much respect for the thinking in the church I just don’t understand this teaching. Help me understand this in scripture

Luke 23:32-43, (NAS95) 32 Two others also, who were criminals, were being led away to be put to death with Him. 33 When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. 34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. 35 And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!” 38 Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, "Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, *************************today **************************you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

How should I answer her?

You might get some help from this article on my blog. Biblical and Jewish Traditional Beliefs About Purgatory

You might also invest in a supply of these excellent Catholic tracts to use from now on.

Top Ten Questions Catholics are Asked

                                                                        CIL Sampler Pack (set of 25)


You might point out to her that that occurred before Christ had even died on the cross, so it’s a special case. Point out that despite the constant emphasis on baptism in the New Testament, this too was waived.

The case for purgatory is far stronger and more scriptural than most n-Cs have ever even dared to examine, and most are ignorant of the scriptures that support Catholic teachings. Most know very little about the writings of the early church and what was taught.

John Martignoni has some excellent notes on this.

Thank you for the advice, I am so close to get her to coming back I feel. I just really don’t want to mess it up!

There are a couple of points to be made here.

First, I think her question is flawed in that it is looking at things from a temporal perspective to which we are not bound after death. I’ll address this more later, but even assuming that we could look at this from a temporal perspective, it does not follow that Christ’s telling the good thief “today you shall be with Me in Paradise” disproves the existence of purgatory. I would start by asking her whether Jesus went to heaven on the same day that he died. According to Scripture the answer is “no.” 1 Peter 3:19 says that he “went to preach to the spirits in prison”:

[quote=1 Peter 3:18-20]For Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the spirit. In it he also went to preach to the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient while God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water.

This passage is referring to the “bosom of Abraham,” which is a place of natural happiness where those who died in friendship with God in the days before Jesus went to await the opening of the gates of Heaven through Jesus’ death and resurrection. This is why the Apostle’s Creed states that Jesus “was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;” As this Creed, which virtually all Christians accept as orthodox teaching, makes clear, Jesus did not ascend into heaven until after his death and resurrection.

So, from a temporal perspective, when Jesus says to the good thief “today you shall be with Me in Paradise” he either wasn’t speaking literally, or he was referring to somewhere other than Heaven, since on that day, Jesus himself never went to Heaven. So where might have He been referring? Jews of Jesus’ time also referred to the “bosom of Abraham” mentioned above as “paradise.” So, it is possible Jesus meant the thief would be joining Him there to await the opening of the gates of Heaven.

However, as I said earlier, I think looking at it from a purely temporal perspective is a flawed presupposition. Heaven, hell, and purgatory all exist outside of time and space. They are states of being, not physical places, and exist in eternity where past, present, and future are all present at once. So, when Jesus says “today you shall be with Me in Paradise” it is entirely consistent that the thief could still have gone to purgatory and been with Jesus in Heaven “today,” since his “time” in purgatory is not the same as earthly time. It’s a bit confusing but I hope that helps.

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