Purgatory and prayer

I’m currently reading the Diary of St. Faustina Kowalska and read a section about souls in Purgatory which brought up a question in my mind. Are souls in purgatory allowed to pray for others? The Diary says they may not pray for themselves.

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Souls that are in Purgatory cannot pray for themselves, or for other Souls in Purgatory.

Obviously once they leave Purgatory and reach Heaven, they can pray for a person on earth or for a soul in Purgatory just the same as any saint in Heaven could do so.

The Church has not definitively spoken to the issue of whether souls in Purgatory can, while still in Purgatory, pray for a person on earth, such as the person who prays for them. Theologians and Doctors of the Church have had differing views on this; some say yes, some say no. This article provides a good summary of the different views in the section entitled “Intercession of Those in Purgatory”.

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Yes, they can pray for those of us here on earth. We have some great allies of our friends and relatives that may be in purgatory, if we ask them to pray for us and others here on earth.
They cannot pray for themselves or each other in purgatory, according to tradition of the Church.

Those in Puratory and in Heaven form the Communion of the Saints, together with us living here on earth. This spiritual solidarity binds us all together, just as the saints can petition and intercede for the living, the tradition is that the souls in purgatory can do the same.

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Question - is Purgatory real? When was it first mentioned in the Bible, if ever? When did it become part of Catholic teaching? Is it still?

The Catechism of the Church covers that. Do a google on it with the term ‘vatican’ at the end. You will get links to the Vatican Catechism pages

Many many things are not written in the Bible. Try to look for the word Trinity and you will not find it directly but its principle is there.
Same with Purgatory, the word is not there but in many places you can find its principles or foundations.
The Bible is not the sole source of the Christian belief, it is an important part but apart from the Church to extricate its many hidden gems we become our own popes each believing different things. This is why protestantism is so fragmented where each pastor can make his/her own theology.
Peace!

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By the time of the books of 1& 2 Maccabees we see that Jews are speaking about a resurrection as well as doing prayers for the dead. Theology develops over time, but by the time of Christ there was already some crude conception of purgatory among pious Jews.

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But the history of the doctrine is critical. For example, the Trinity was effectively a compromise among the competing Christian groups of the early Church - some said Jesus was a man, some said Jesus was God, some say another God (the Logos), and some said God was perfect and does not interact with the world - thus the Holy Spirit. The Trinity is not so much a doctrine but rather an aggregation. Whether you believe it or not, the truth is that the doctrine of the Trinity was effectively the result of a committee. This doesn’t mean it is true or not, but it does help in grounding the discussion.

In the same manner, I’d like to know the history of Purgatory. As I understand it, it is nothing more than the creation of Christian authority figures in the Middle Ages that wanted more money - you paid for ‘imdulgences’ on earth and that reduced your time (or your loved ones) in Purgatory - effectively getting to Heaven faster.

My understanding was that the Church realized this and that it is no longer (if it ever was) true doctrine. The concept of Purgatory according to the Catechism now is that it is the PROCESS of cleansing prior to entering Heaven - not a place. St Augustine said all sins must be punished - hence the realm of Purgatory. Others claim that people want to pray for the dead. But if a soul is already in Heaven or Hell, what is the point? Hence the invention of Purgatory.

Is there any more to it than the above? Certainly Christian theology is greater than just what is in the Bible. I understand that. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t require explanation and justification. In fact, because things like Hell, Purgatory, Limbo, the Trinity, and so forth are NOT in the Bible - they perhaps require MORE justification. At least with the Bible (and I don’t agree with it anyway) you can say it is the inspired word of God and we have to accept it as is.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12575a.htm

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Thanks for the links, I read through them. Seems like an incompatibility: “Hell” is no longer considered to be ‘suffering’, but rather absence of God. But the doctrine of Purgatory states that there is pain and suffering.
Are we now saying that the Catholic Church now insists purification from sin requires physical pain/suffering? I thought we were getting away from that.

A major criticism of Christianity is the absolute cruelty of the concept of Hell. You sin for a few minutes on earth, then suffer for eternity in pain, fire, ice, etc. So now we say “Hell” is the separation from God - your choice.
BUT…now we are also saying to be with God, you MUST (unless you are perfect) suffer pain. Why? This does not seem compatible with a loving God.

Absence of God is considered the worst form of suffering.

The Catholic Church does not take a definite position on whether Purgatory involves physical torment or mental torment or simply absence from God or is it a relatively pleasant place where you simply go to learn. Respected theological teachers are all over the map on this. Catholic books with imprimaturs and nihil obstats propose all kinds of viewpoints.

At the resurrection, the souls and bodies are reunited. This also allows for physical suffering (each of the condemned have a body but it is not a glorified body). Those in purgatory state are without a physical body – their person has not been reconstituted body and soul.

Catechism of the Catholic Church

1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. 606 The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire: 607

As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come. 608

606 Cf. Council of Florence (1439):DS 1304; Council of Trent (1563):DS 1820; (1547):1580; see also Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus (1336):DS 1000.
607 Cf. 1 Cor 3:15; 1 Pet 1:7.
608 St. Gregory the Great, Dial . 4,39:PL 77,396; cf. Mt 12:31.

1034 Jesus often speaks of “Gehenna” of “the unquenchable fire” reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost.614 Jesus solemnly proclaims that he “will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,” 615 and that he will pronounce the condemnation: “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!” 616

1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, “eternal fire.” 617 The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.

615 Mt 13:41-42.
616 Mt 25:41.
617 Cf. DS 76; 409; 411; 801; 858; 1002; 1351; 1575; Paul VI, CPG § 12.

I won’t quote your post, but it sounds like you believe that there clearly is physical pain and suffering, both for the eternally damned and those that must pass through Purgatory.

I am not judging in any way. I just think that is interesting because the general direction of apologetics in Christianity is to deny Hell as having any physical pain - Hell is simply your decision to spend eternity away from God. Specifically, the concept of Hell and Purgatory are incompatible with a loving God.

But you seem to disagree, and follow the more traditional and conservative approach that Hell and Purgatory are actual physical states of being with real pain and real suffering.

The reason I bring this up is that one of the primary arguments against any religion is that there is really no common religion. Every person really has their own. And you also support my point that according to the Catechism, Hell is a real place with real suffering.

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For my part, I’m older, raised by more traditiionalist Catholic parents and Catholic school teachers. I would prefer to believe that Hell is less hellish than has been taught for centuries, though.

CCC 1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:

As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.

I’m the same way. But I always liked the “new age” approach that Hell is NOT a place of torment, but rather existence away from God. This is more compatible with a loving God, and answers a major attack against Christianity. Specifically - you sin, your choice, you don’t want to be with God - as opposed to you sin, my rules, burn forever.
But now here comes this thread, and Purgatory is a cleansing - not a spiritual cleansing - a PHYSICAL cleansing of pain and suffering. And thus, Hell as well.
That’s too bad from my perspective. It shows those attacking Christianity have a point. But…as you point out, it’s hard, perhaps impossible, to change the Catechism.

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Hell and Purgatory are compatible with a loving God and are necessary for justice.

From my post it should be clear that there is no physical suffering in purgatory, since there is no body.
There is also no physical suffering in hell, before the body is resurrected at the Parousia. The physical suffering in hell need not be literally fire, but it is physical because there is then, from the Parousia, the physical body resurrected.

I don’t know…

All I do know is that to be in PURgatory is akin to having a Ticket to Eternal Life w/God

We become spiritually PURified … ultimately via having our will give full Assent to God’s Will,…

But from my research the Catechism of the Church STATES that Purgatory requires physical pain and suffering.
There are many references to this.

As I said (and you seem to agree), ‘new age’ Catholicism (my term) promotes a view of Hell as separation from God - NOT pain. I have seen many highly respected Christian apologists make this point to counter atheist claims that Hell is incompatible with a loving God.
But the Catechism states Purgatory is physical pain due to cleansing prior to entering Heaven.

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