Purgatory, Luther, and the Church


#1

The inspired writers of the Old Testament had a great perception of the majesty, the awful holiness of God. They knew that nothing defiled can stand before him. Yet we know from Paul (1 Cor. 13:12) that in heaven the soul has a vision of God, sees him face to face. That is metaphorical language (a soul has no eyes, God no face), yet it conveys awesome truth. It means the soul will know God directly.

How could that be? When we see someone on this earth, we take into our eyes and brain an image of him. That works well enough, for although any image is finite or limited, so is the person doing the imaging. But what image could make God known? None, of course. So the soul must know God without an image. This can be only if God directly joins himself to that soul, to do what an image would do in seeing others.

God will not join himself to anything defiled, yet that is precisely what Luther thought, what they think who claim infallible salvation. Luther claimed (in Epistle 501,written to Melanchthon), “Even if you sin greatly, believe more greatly.” The man may be (and really is) total corruption, according to Luther, but God does not mind that. The Holy Spirit could even dwell within total corruption, said Luther wrongly.

He thought justification was not a real cleansing–it was just that the merits of Christ, like a white cloak, would be thrown over the sins of the sinner. God would not look under the cloak, but the sinner would remain totally corrupt.

All this is impossible (nothing unclean shall enter heaven, says Revelation 20:27), so there must be some means of purgation after death, if the soul is not fully pure. There must be a purgatory.

Logically,if one follows out Luther’s fancy, a man who goes out and kills several others and then turns the gun on himself should go at once to be joined to the infinite purity of God! Luther wrote, “Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly…No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day.”

Judas Maccabeus was quite right in having sacrifices offered in the Temple for the souls of those fallen in battle who had sinned by wearing amulets (2 Mac. 12:42-46). But, our Protestant friends will object, that book is not in the Bible! To which we reply: A prominent Baptist professor, Gerald Burney Smith, in 1929 surveyed every means he could think of to determine which books are inspired and which are not. He found no possible way unless there would be a divinely-protected teaching authority to decide. Of course, he denied there was such an authority. He reported that Luther said that, if a book strongly preaches justification by faith, the book is inspired. But that cannot be true. Luther never proved that was the criterion, and, further, he could write such a book himself (and so could I), and it would not be inspired. Besides, many books of the Bible do not preach justification by faith at all, yet they are inspired.

Catholics have the sort of teaching authority Burney lacked. It is the Catholic Church, as we find from a study of apologetics. That teaching authority has determined that the Books of Maccabees are inspired. (Really, no Protestant should quote Scripture at all, for he has no means of determining which books are inspired --unless, of course, he accepts the authority of the Catholic Church!)


#2

…and I forgot to mention that this was written by Rev. William G. Most.


#3

I have a few questions, but some I just don’t have the background to know what you mean.

[quote=E.E.N.S.]The inspired writers of the Old Testament had a great perception of the majesty, the awful holiness of God. They knew that nothing defiled can stand before him. Yet we know from Paul (1 Cor. 13:12) that in heaven the soul has a vision of God, sees him face to face. That is metaphorical language (a soul has no eyes, God no face), yet it conveys awesome truth. It means the soul will know God directly.

How could that be? When we see someone on this earth, we take into our eyes and brain an image of him. That works well enough, for although any image is finite or limited, so is the person doing the imaging. But what image could make God known? None, of course. So the soul must know God without an image. This can be only if God directly joins himself to that soul, to do what an image would do in seeing others.

[/quote]

Exactly. I think this is the core of the apophatic tradition of the Church, which roughly includes such topics as contemplative prayer (CCC 2697-2724) and the classic book the Cloud of the Unknown, the Little Way of St. Teresa, etc.

The kataphatic tradition does its best to preserve the absolute truth to the best degree any human language can, to describe what we profess to know or optionally believe, and ought to behave toward God. Ultimately these are objective to God but not discernable with 0.00000% chance of error to human beings, who must judge from time to time to preserve order and truth, but must always look beyond their own perception of the truth

The apophatic tradition is the one that believes that whatever we know about God, it is incomplete because it can only perceive a shadow of God.

Like the shadow of a great tree, we can see the great tree and enjoy the shade and its life giving fruit, but have no clue how the tree actually works the way for example a botanist does, and even then the more they know the more they marvel.

Einstein was credited with saying, “Science without religion is blind. Religion without science is lame.” also he said something like “the more I learn about this universe the more the creator reveals his splendor” or something that has about that meaning.

God … corrupt.

I’m not knowledgeable to comment on that,

All this is impossible (nothing unclean shall enter heaven, says Revelation 20:27), so there must be some means of purgation after death, if the soul is not fully pure. There must be a purgatory.

O believe purgation is purgation, and the key is to obey Christ’s command to go into you “inner room” and “deny yourself” meaning you practice quiet prayer, without thinking any particular thoughts or satanic mantra or anything awfuyl like that. For example, sitting quietly, and appreciatively, but not pondering anything in particular but the beauty of the sacrament in adoration can, afa I’m concerned, invite the Holy Spirit to start cleanising your soul here before you even leave the earth.

I kind of like that idea cause i’m impatient and want to taste the beautiful fruits of the spirit so i’m a sucker for anything that invites the spirit, and not much does other than absolute quiet as much as you can make it under your circumstances. A cloister, adoration, or even an employee break room in an emergency case. Always know how to quiet your mind, and your emotions will gradually get under control. I know this is at least possible because I used to be extremely emotional and now I’m not.

Logically … day."

Not qualified to comment.

(Really, no Protestant should quote Scripture at all, for he has no means of determining which books are inspired --unless, of course, he accepts the authority of the Catholic Church!)

It seems to me like for Protestants, the Bible is a bit like the Constitution. It is empowered by the consensus of the people of that particular religion, and the heirarchy such as it is has some degree of control of that doctrine. They have their own way of looking at things, and of their priorities.

If they believe the Bible is inspired by God, then before we challenge them to believe the rest of the Catholic Church, then let’s warmly welcome them into the People Who Wish To Love Christ In Their Own Way club, at least, before we force them into the inner sanctum of Full Mental Assent land.

That is, bring them into the fraternity/sorotity of our parish/diocese/world Catholic family one intitiation step at a time.

The first step is whatever bait they will fall for. Get them to agree that no matter what else, neither of them desire to do anything but Christ’s work. That establishes that you both claim to be in the Body of Christ, regardless if the baptism is formal. Next see what else you agree on, and then take a break and celebrate unity, agreing that you do have issues but you are willing to delay them until you have celebrated, rested, and prepared to discuss those issues under the spirit of friendship.


closed #4

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