Recently I was having a discussion with a Roman Catholic about purgatory and he brought up an interesting verse from the scriptures which he claims is evidence of purgatory (2 Maccabees 39-46):
"39 On the following day, since the task had now become urgent, Judas and his men went to gather up the bodies of the slain and bury them with their kinsmen in their ancestral tombs.
40 But under the tunic of each of the dead they found amulets sacred to the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. So it was clear to all that this was why these men had been slain.
41 They all therefore praised the ways of the Lord, the just judge who brings to light the things that are hidden.
42 Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out. The noble Judas warned the soldiers to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen.
43 He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view;
44 for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death.
45 But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought.
46 Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin. "
The bolded areas are the areas brought up in the discussion.
My question was “how can this passage be referring to Purgatory, when these people clearly performed the mortal sin of idolatry? Doesn’t Catholic theology teach that those who commit mortal sin and are unrepentent will go to hell? Was Judas praying for those who went to hell according to Catholic teaching?”
To this no answer was given. My aim is not disprove the Catholic faith by this post, but to seek clarity on this issue from a Catholic perspective.
Thankyou and God bless.