Paying for souls in Purgatory

Any help appreciated. Is it true and if so how do I justify to a non believer the practice of paying the church to get your relatives out of purgatory. The fee is not guaranteed to go to the correct soul so it is said that paying weekly is going to give you, or rather your deceased relative, a greater chance of gaining release.So the more money you pay, the odds are that you will be successful eventually. A quote from the bible was mentioned also ‘Don’t let false teachers make merchandise out of you’. Thanks in advance.

We, pray for the Soul,s in Purgatory,so that those that are in Purgatory,will be able too some day,be released, when Jesus decides, they have pay their debt,and wecome them into his Fathers Kingdom.

The Church has no power or authority to release souls from purgatory. God releases them after they have completed their temporal punishment due to sin, and no amount of money used by mankind will make one bit of difference. If you are referring to the stipend offered when a Mass is requested for the benefit of a soul in purgatory, that amount is very small (usually 10 dollars or less) and goes to the priest, who is not allowed to accept more one per day.

I have to admit, I struggle with the idea of purgatory. Here is just one reason why.

Hebrews 10:17-18

17 Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”

18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.

So if God ‘remembers them no more’, how can there be any punishment given to us, ie purgatory? Purgatory is a tough one for me :confused:

Because “nothing impure will ever enter heaven.” If I die with impurities, I can’t take those impurities with me. I need to have a way to rid myself of my final imperfections if I don’t manage to do it in this life.

I don’t “pay” the church for a get-out-of-Purgatory card for my relatives.

I can make an offering to a priest for saying a Mass for my intentions, just like I might give the priest an offering for presiding over a funeral or a wedding. The organist or the cantor or the choir might come with a flat fee; the priest, not so much.

If you’ve ever donated to a charitable organization, you’ll find yourself on the mailing list of a hundred different other charitable organizations. :slight_smile: Some might ask for a charitable donation of $5, of $10, of $15. A few are ambitious and start their requests around $25, $50, $100. But the key is— they’re asking for a gift, and the amount of that gift is totally up to you.

The one place where I see this changes a bit is when you’re looking into Gregorian Masses. Here, you have someone committing to pray for your intentions at Mass for 30 consecutive days. If they miss day #25, they are obliged to start all over again. So it’s quite the time commitment, and the number of people who can commit to spending 30 consecutive days praying for the same intention is relatively limited. I used to go through an organization that requested a $90 ($3 x 30!) donation. Now, the best I can find is $120-$150. Are you obliged to get someone to offer a Mass for 30 days in a row? Not at all, but if you do, it’s polite to give $4 for the trouble. I can’t get through the drive-thru at McDonald’s for less than that. :wink:

I know that my prayers are never wasted. God will apply my prayers where they need to go. My job is to pray. You don’t need to request a Mass for your intentions; we all offer our Masses for our private intentions every time we go there. But if you want your intentions to be publicly prayed for— that’s when you formally open them up to the community and pray for thanksgiving, for rain, for the repose of someone’s soul.

As in all cases like this, the onus is on the accuser to supply the evidence. If the person is referring to a stipend that is given to a church or individual priest for celebrating a Mass that can be easily explained that it is going to the priest and/or parish and in hardship cases no money is needed.

This is simply a case of misunderstanding the procedure from the outside or deliberate stereotyping to prove a point. If it is the first it can be easily explained. If the person does not believe you, you can explain that this is NOT Catholic theology by any stretch of the imagination.

But don’t be surprised if it makes no difference to the individual. People are often comfortable in their prejudices, stereotypes, and misunderstandings about others because it makes THEM feel superior. The truth will only get in their way.

Many thanks!
My friend has many queries regarding the church that I cannot always answer. The big one that I used to answer quite well I think, relates to the wealth of the church, do I start another thread?

Yup. It keeps the conversation focused. :slight_smile:


the verse you cited is surrounded by other verses that help understand some of what it means.

for example, in verses 26 and 27 of the same chapter, paul writes, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.”

also, as someone else mentions, the pure of heart will see God. if we still have disordered desires for any creaturely thing(s), be it comfort or pleasure or revenge or our TV sets or our hobbies or whatever it might be, these disordered desires to creaturely things must be eliminated from our souls if they are to be pure before we enter heaven. how many people die without any disordered attachment to creaturely things? that is the number of people who avoid purgatory, the place where we spend our time eliminating our disordered attachments to creaturely things. Jesus did not teach that He will wave a magic wand to purify all souls at the moments of their deaths.

I wonder if the OP was speaking of when the Church allowed one to purchase indulgences. That was a very long time ago and I am not sure of how that wholwe thing came to be. One can’t hold us, or ask us to explain why, accountable for the events that led to the Civil War (for example). In the same sense, we cannot be expected to explain the reasoning behind paying for indulgences many generations ago.

I, too, have a difficult time with the prosperity of our Church when we are constantly being asked to give to various causes and missions. I see this much like I look at our government and the extremely wealthy…we will all have to answer one day. I wonder, at times, how a Pope will have answered that question…or I (who is not wealthy but not destitute, either).

Thanks for the comment. Re your query, I believe my friend was referring to a practice that was common in Ireland probably in the '40s. Very poor housewives, putting the name of a deceased relative in an envelope along with cash, and giving it to the parish priest. And after being told that the prayer may not reach the correct soul, would continue the practice, I imagine in the hope of increasing their chances.

We can pray for the souls in purgatory and also they can pray for us.

Um… The Church never “allowed one to purchase indulgences”.

Some myths just never die.

However we can be expected to know about a subject before posting something as a fact.

Getting some exposure to your parish and diocesan finance councils will go a long way to helping you bust this myth too.

=vstead;13379643]Any help appreciated. Is it true and if so how do I justify to a non believer the practice of paying the church to get your relatives out of purgatory. The fee is not guaranteed to go to the correct soul so it is said that paying weekly is going to give you, or rather your deceased relative, a greater chance of gaining release.So the more money you pay, the odds are that you will be successful eventually. A quote from the bible was mentioned also ‘Don’t let false teachers make merchandise out of you’. Thanks in advance.

The clearest Bible referencnce was taken out of the Bible [one of the seven missing booksdeleated by Martin Lutehr; precisely bcause it was so clear:

2nd Macabees: 12: 39-45
"And the day following Judas came with his company, to take away the bodies of them that were slain, and to bury them with their kinsmen, in the sepulchres of their fathers. And they found under the coats of the slain some of the donaries of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbiddeth to the Jews: so that all plainly saw, that for this cause they were slain.Then they all blessed the just judgment of the Lord, who had discovered the things that were hidden… And so betaking themselves to prayers, they besought him, that the sin which had been committed might be forgotten. But the most valiant Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves from sin, forasmuch as they saw before their eyes what had happened, because of the sins of those that were slain**. And making a gathering, he sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection, (For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead,) And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep [died] with godliness, had great grace laid up for them.

And these NT passages support Purgatory also: All based on the Fact that because God is “Perfect” so too must all Souls be in order to enter into heaven.:thumbsup:

Rev. 21: 27 “But nothing unclean shall enter it, nor any one who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

Mt. 5: 26 truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.

Matt.5: 48 “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Heb. 2: 10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering.

1John.3: 2 to 3 “Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.”

God Bless you,


I am not sure why this ruffled your feathers. It has been long thought that in the Middle Ages, I believe, there were religious who took money in exchange for indulgences. I have no idea what the money was used for and it may have gone back into the Church but Catholic theologians generally acknowledge that this occurred. Catholics are human, too, and if this did happen then I feel certain that God has already dealt with them.

I do think our Church is prosperous (the Catholic Church, not necessarily my parish) and you can look to Rome for evidence of that. I love our pope and I don’t think he buys into all that grandeur but that doesn’t mean that some of the “excess” that may exist couldn’t be sold and used more mercifully.

I don’t have ruffled feathers.

That is not what you asserted.

You said “when the Church” allowed people to buy indulgences. The Church never did any such thing. A rogue priest does not equal the Church. The Church has never sold indulgences, nor had any teaching that one may buy an indulgence.

Acknowledge what? That the Church sold indulgences or that some people sold them contrary to Church teaching or that some people conflated alms giving with purchasing?

Yes, by all means look there, what you will find is a balance she in the red.

By all means, point out this “excess”.

I suggest you read the CAF article on the supposed “wealth” of the Church.


I am so tired of some people complaining about the riches of the Vatican and the Pope. The Vatican is filled with treasures that were gifts to the Church down through the ages and is part of the history and heritage of the Catholic Church. However, the Popes have lived in very small apartments sparingly furnished. Most of us would complain that we would have to live like misers if we had to exchange our homes/apartments/condos for theirs.

As to the “treasures” of the Vatican, if the Church would sell them for some millions of dollars and took care of the poor, when that ran out who would then take care of the poor? The Catholic Church takes care of the poor, hungry and sick throughout the world more than any other church/religion. These same complainers never even think to ask all the great museums of the world to shut down and sell all their treasures to help the poor. Why not? Why not ask the government to shut down the Whitehouse and sell their riches and give it all to the poor.

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