Purgatory - Maccabees


#1

I can’t find my Catholic Bible, so feel free to find in the references.

I believe it is Maccabees 12 that is used to support the doctrine of purgatory.

Macc say God killed the people because of idolatry. And that it was good to pray for those who God killed to help them get out of purgatory and into heaven.

But, according to Catholicism, idolatry is a mortal sin and you go straight to hell if you die in a mortal sin.


#2

Well, Ginger, “mortal sin” requires three things:

Grave matter. Yes, idolatry is grave matter.

Full knowledge. The person committing the idolatry must KNOW that it is grave matter. A person who thought it was not ‘really’ idolatry, or was confused about what idolatry is, or who honestly thought he was not committing idolatry would NOT have ‘full knowledge’. Not to say he isn’t committing a grave sin, but his culpability is lessened.

Full consent of the will. A person who is ‘forced’ into an action by various threats --even less ‘visible’ threats such as the tears and pleadings of loved ones to ‘do’ the action, is not FULLY consenting. Again, lessened culpability.

And finally: the whole ‘repentence’ issue. Even if ALL THREE PARTS ABOVE ARE MET, if the person, on the point of death, has a flash of SINCERE, TRUE REPENTENCE. . .that person can be forgiven by God, as we know from Ezekiel. “If a wicked person turns from sin and repents, he shall LIVE, he shall not DIE”.

And THAT is the reason that these people are prayed for. . .because their friends and family (and those who came after), not being God, do not know 100% that these people met all the conditions for mortal sin. They cannot be sure these people did not REPENT before death. Obviously, if there was lesser sin than sin ‘to the death’, they may be prayed for; and since nothing sinful can enter heaven, they must be purified if their sin was less than mortal until they CAN leave that ‘purgatory’ and enter heaven.


#3

With the exception of cannonized saints the church does on presume anyone’s final state of salvation.

i.e. Though it is very likely that Hitler and Nero are bunk buddies in a lake of fire, the Church does not presume to know the judgment of God.

But that point aside:

Let us assume for a second that one of your loved ones has died.

Let us also assume that you “know” that they had not “accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.”

Then your postion would be “I’m certainly not going to pray that he/she obtained salvation because they are probably in hell.”

Is that really the position your taking?

Chuck


#4

While others have given a very thorough explanation of a mortal sin… here is how I define it, from a biblical perspective…

Mortal Sin = to Blaspheming HS
Why? because if you Blaspheme the HS, you are separated from Christ and there is no sacrifice left… Sounds an awful lot like mortal sin…

So, What is Blaspheming God. If you look in the OT, (i believe exodus) it talks about Blaspheming God and HOW it is done. Basically, it says in order to blaspheme god, you must KNOWINGLY be disobedient on what God asks of us.

When the NT talks about Blaspheming the HS, the Jewish people of the day knew that this meant knowing disobedience as it was part of their culture

While the Catholic definition is more detailed, the premise is all right there in the bible…

In Christ


#5

This passage is not held out a a direct reference to praying for those in “Purgatory,” rather it demonstrates a biblical belief in the validity of praying for the dead, which of course would make even more sense to do for someone in Purgatory than for someone in Sheol.

Chuck

For your reference: 2 Maccabees: 12:38-45

"Then Judas assembled his army and went to the city of Adullam. As the seventh day was coming on, they purified themselves according to the custom, and they kept the sabbath there.

On the next day, as by that time it had become necessary, Judas and his men went to take up the bodies of the fallen and to bring them back to lie with their kinsmen in the sepulchres of their fathers. Then under the tunic of every one of the dead they found sacred tokens of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. And it became clear to all that this was why these men had fallen. So they all blessed the ways of the Lord, the righteous Judge, who reveals the things that are hidden; and they turned to prayer, beseeching that the sin which had been committed might be wholly blotted out. And the noble Judas exhorted the people 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. He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin."


#6

Here is the passage in question, from 2 Maccabees 12:39-46

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.
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.
They all therefore praised the ways of the Lord, the just judge who brings to light the things that are hidden.
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.
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; for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death.
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.
Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.

Properly speaking, the passage is referenced, not to “support the doctrine of purgatory” but to show that this belief, that has from the beginning been held by Christians, and practically speaking by the Jews as well, is also biblical.

Macc say God killed the people because of idolatry. And that it was good to pray for those who God killed to help them get out of purgatory and into heaven.

But, according to Catholicism, idolatry is a mortal sin and you go straight to hell if you die in a mortal sin.

Actually, the passage says nothing about idolatry, i.e., the worship of false gods or idols. No mention is made of these men engaging in this practice, and Judas and his men were not in a position to read their souls. All the passage says is that they found amulets on the bodies of the dead soldiers which, at the most, could indicate the venial sin of superstition. This is the sin that Judas and his men prayed and made offerings for, and the type of sins that are purged away in Purgatory.


#7

For scriptural references relating to purgatory:

scripturecatholic.com/purgatory.html


#8

Would dying in the cause of protecting and preserving the worship of the true God make them martyrs and thus forgiven of their sins? :confused:


#9

Quote from post #6 “they found amulets on the bodies of the dead soldiers which, at the most, could indicate the venial sin of superstition.”

God struck them all dead for a venial sin? Is there anywhere else in the Bible where God strikes someone dead over a venial sin?

Quote post #6 "the passage says nothing about idolatry"
Maccabees 12: “hey found amulets sacred to the idols of Jamnia,”

Since the pendants were sacred to idols, doesn’t that it had something to do with idolatry?


#10

of Jamnia,"

Since the pendants were sacred to idols, doesn’t that it had something to do with idolatry?Why yes…Acts 5.


#11

Church Militant, Are you saying lying to God is a venial sin?

ACTS: "Thou hast not lied to men, but to God.

Notice a distinction was made between a venial sin - lying to humans, and a mortal sin - lying to God.

Trying to deceive God is a mortal sin. That is why they were struck dead.

Do you also believe this passage has nothing to do with idolatry?


#12

, but to God.

Notice a distinction was made between a venial sin - lying to humans, and a mortal sin - lying to God.

Trying to deceive God is a mortal sin. That is why they were struck dead.

Do you also believe this passage has nothing to do with idolatry?Is it? Lying per se is a venial sin, and nothing in Acts 5 says otherwise. God’s judgement by the word of Peter is the difference.


#13

Never mind. I think this will take us off track.

Do you also believe this passage has nothing to do with idolatry?


#14

Just to be on the careful side here, a lie might not always be mortal, but is certainly can be.

All lies are intrinsically evil though they may not all send you to hell.

Gingers distinction that a lie to God is Mortal and a lie to man is not, is likely a very dangerous error to make.

Chuck


#15

clmowry,

Acknowledged! You can’t lie to God, anyway.

And I would like to keep things on track.

Do you also believe this passage in Macc 12 has nothing to do with idolatry?


#16

I think this passage has more to do with God’s kindness. And our ability to repent before death.


#17

How do you think it relates to repenting before death. There is no indication that these men repented before God struck them dead, and if they had, it would be very likely that God would not have killed them. (ie Ninevah)


#18

Keep in mind the conditions that make a sin “mortal”. Unless every one of these conditions are present, a given act is not a mortal sin.

Even if it is clear that act of keeping “amulets sacred to the idols of Jamnia” is grave matter (1st condition), we are unable to evaluate whether they were committed with full knowledge (2nd condition) and deliberate consent (3rd condition).

We are unable to evaluate the second and third conditions because we are unable to read hearts.

Since we are unable to read hearts, charity proposes that we give others the benefit of the doubt.

In our prayers, we entrust even those who have committed disordered acts – no matter how grave – to the justice and *mercy *of God.


#19

Well, this is were we believe God and God alone knows our hearts. We hope as Judas hoped that those who have died repented before their death and there for are in need of our prayers.

From the Douay_Theims Bible:

45 And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them.

45 “With godliness”… Judas hoped that these men who died fighting for the cause of God and religion, might find mercy: either because they might be excused from mortal sin by ignorance; or might have repented of their sin, at least at their death.

46 It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.

As Catholics we believe that God is all merciful and therefor we can only hope that at ones death he would repent of their sins and be speared the fires of hell. But just because one repents it does not mean they have a clean slate, they must now go through a cleansing period (purgatory) and that is were our prays come in. So as Catholics we do what the bible tells us and we pray for those who have died.


#20

“Even if it is clear that act of keeping “amulets sacred to the idols of Jamnia” is grave matter (1st condition), we are unable to evaluate whether they were committed with full knowledge (2nd condition) and deliberate consent (3rd condition).”

These were Hebrews. The Hebrew people were set apart from other cultures. How could they possibly claim ignorance?

With the criteria set forth so far, I see no point to discussing this chapter. My interest centers around idolatry.
The only other question I have concerning Maccabees is chapter 15, verse 38 (I think) to the end. I can’t remember the exact words, but it seems to me this is denying divine inspiration.

Any thoughts?


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.