Purgatory and 1 cosrinthians 3:15

I just have question on Purgatory. According to Catholic doctrine, Purgatory lasts until the Last Judgement. However, 1 Corinthians 3:12-5, the verses cited for puragtroy, seem to refer to the Last Judgement (i.e. the Day). How can this verse refer to purgatory when it is supposed to end at the Last Judgement? Also, the commentary of the New American Bible even says that purgatory is not envisaged in this passage. I need a clarification because this is an objection a Protestant can bring up.

God Bless

Good question. First, remember that, while we use the New American, it’s commentaries are oftentimes not in accordance with what the church actually teaches. The authors seemed to be doing their own theology in some places.

That said, remember that the church, while defining purgatory, has never actually said if it is a location (which it probably isn’t since we exist in a spiritual state until the last judgement), a real time period, or a process. I agree that 1 Cor. seems to be talking about judgement, but it gives the fate of three people. First, it talks about those who build their foundation on Christ. Those who don’t, obviously, would go to hell. Secondly, it talks about those who build of gold, silver, and such and says they are saved. They, obviously, go to heaven. Lastly, it talks about those who are saved but suffer loss. Since we aren’t saved in hell and we don’t suffer loss in heaven, only one possibility exists, which is purgatory. It could very well happen instantly, which makes it a matter corresponding with judgment. Remembering that we will exist outside of time, your protestant friends are incorrect in trying to disprove it through chronology.

But the verse in question seems to indicate that a purgatorial process will take place at the Last Judgement. Doesn’t this seem to contradict the teaching that purgatory lasts until the Last Judgement?

God Bless

Just an added thought to awfulthings9 very fine answer, the Catholic Church doesn’t use the Bible as a proof-text for any teaching.

The Church has a limited number of verses it says must be primarily interpreted in a particular way, otherwise secondary interpretations are fine as long as they don’t conflict with the primary ones.

As to the passage being discussed, it too is not a proof-text, but a support for the teaching on purgatory, and a witness to the teaching of the Church.

Also, be sure and distinguish between the judgement of the individual and the Final Judgement when Christ returns in Triumph. Sometimes it can sound confusing.

who ever said purgatory lasts until the last judgement? None of us know how long an individual is in purgatory, if they go to purgatory at all.

The Catholic enyclopedia said so.

God Bless

please provide a link so I can read it

thank you.

i see purgatory, as kinda like being in the lobby of a theater…

it’s not as good as being in the auditorium ( heaven ), but you
will get there soon, and it’s better than still standing in line ( life ),
and infinitely better than not having a ticket and not having a chance
of ever getting one… ( hell )

i think the only punishment, if anyone receives any, is being able
to see the end, but not being there yet… like the week before
Christmas, when you are 6…


[quote=mikeledes]But the verse in question seems to indicate that a purgatorial process will take place at the Last Judgement. Doesn’t this seem to contradict the teaching that purgatory lasts until the Last Judgement?

God Bless

Good question, Mike. That’s my point about the chronology, though. In earth-time, the distance to final judgement may be thousands of years. Outside of time, however, it may be instant. What I mean is that thousands of years of time as we know it might not happen. So a purification process - purgatory - may possibly take place at the same “moment” as final judgment because after this life clocks don’t exist. What 1 Cor. clearly shows is a purification process, and even if it does take place at final judgement, we know it isn’t taking place in heaven (suffering loss) or hell (saved), so we call that “process” purgatory. Nothing the church teaches contradicts the idea that it might exist as part of final judgement. In fact, it seems to make sense that seeing the extended consequences of our sins, which is what happens at final judgment, might be a very purging experience, after all.

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