purgatory

I have been Catholic for a number of years now and I still don’t quite understand the concept of purgatory. RCIA never made this clear maybe it was too in-depth.

Articles on Purgatory

Purgatory
catholic.com/library/purgatory.asp

Purgatory
By Rev. William G. Most
catholic.com/thisrock/1992/9204chap.asp

PURGATORY IN ALL BUT NAME
By W. ROBERT ANFILL
catholic.com/thisrock/1998/9801fea2.asp

Is Purgatory Found in the Bible?
By Christine Pinheiro and Kenneth J. Howell
catholic.com/thisrock/2005/0511sbs.asp

Purgatory? Where Is That in the Bible?
By Mark P. Shea
catholic.com/thisrock/2001/0103fea2.asp

Explaining Purgatory from a New Testament Perspective
by Victor R. Claveau
freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2033423/posts

How to Argue the Existence of Purgatory
By Jason Evert
catholic.com/thisrock/2000/0010sbs.asp

How to Explain Purgatory to Protestants
by James Akin
ewtn.com/library/answers/how2purg.htm

If any of the links are broken, just google the title and author name.

This might be a summary of all the links and articles Randy posted…:smiley:

catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0091.html

Purgatory: Holy Fire
SCOTT HAHN
Scott Hahn discusses the Catholic doctrine of purgatory and how it is necessary in understanding the application of Christ’s redemptive work in salvation. Using Scripture, Scott explains the Hebrew concept of sheol or the netherworld. He also cites passages such as Sirach 7:33, “Withhold not your kindness, O Lord, from the dead,” to show how the ancient Hebrew had an intimation that the mercy of God extended even to the dead.

This may also help. Biblical and Jewish Traditional Beliefs About Purgatory

I second the previous links and shamelessly offer my post What is Purgatory?

In my own - totally simplistic - understanding it comes down to this…

  1. Nothing impure or imperfect can enter heaven
  2. We are called to perfection (in Agape) in order to enter heaven (Mt 5:48)
  3. We seek to grow in that perfection while on earth by “purging” ourselves (through God’s grace) of all that is not of God…this is the process of sanctification.
  4. Odds are that we will not have completed the process of sanctification at the moment of death.
  5. God, in His great Love, helps us to complete this purging - this sanctification - after death.
  6. The place (or state) in which the purging occurs is called (in Latin) the Purgatorium - in in English, Purgatory.

Does this help?

Peace
James

These are common misconceptions that we want to put aside. We want to understand what the Church teaches. We want to understand why the Church teaches it, and we want to go into the Bible and into Church history to confirm the teaching. But first of all, a definition. I take this now from the New Catholic Encyclopedia: “Purgatory is the state, place or condition in the next world which will continue until the Last Judgment, where the souls of those who die in a state of grace, but not yet free from all imperfection, make expiation, that is, restitution for unforgiven venial sins and mortal sins that have already been forgiven, and by doing so, are purified before they enter heaven.”

This was from the link referencing Scott Hahn an author I am familiar with and do enjoy, this excerpt though stumped me…

Restitution for unforgiven venial sins, that makes sense on why one would be going to purgatory, also to read prior Scott explains that purgatory is not a second chance but a place for those who have been in a state of Grace with God, have Faith in God… Then Scott goes on to say mortal sins that have already been forgiven, an thus the emphasis goes back to restitution…

which brings me to Reconciliation, we are taught we are forgiven in Reconciliation and more over we are given a penance , we are taught that not only are we forgiven, but more over that is where those sins end is there in the confessional, I have always been taught that God forgives and forgets.

Scott Hahn addresses purgatory and the usage of the word Sheol, but he neglects to try and address how the author of these passages managed to spiritually or physically enter into purgatory to thus come back and write about it and Scott also does not address the off hand seemingly conflict between Reconciliation and Purgatory… The entire issue at hand comes off as being forgiven with strings attached, and if one has read this article by Scott Hahn, Sheol does not sound all that pleasant to begin with.

So if we are not deemed in full restitution after receiving forgiveness and being issued penance in the sacrament of reconciliation then why is now purgatory the place of final restitution and more over why bother with penance at all in the sacrament of reconciliation. Perhaps penance is not strict enough ?

Scott Hahn is one of the few authors in life I really do enjoy just wish I could have asked him these questions !

I don’t think I will come to terms with the existence of purgatory any time soon, but Scott Hahn does a great job at working on some of the issues that I have wondered myself.

How did Enoch and Ezekiel enter heaven then? Apparently they entered in their human body form instead of everyone else, entering in soul form only. Was this just an ‘executive decision’ of God, allowing them to bypass purgatory?

You’re not required to go through purgatory on your way to heaven. Reeeeally holy people can skip that step. Here is a diagram of the options:

Heaven
|…
|…
|…Purgatory
|…/
|…/
Death
|
|
|
|
|
Hell

Well - first of all - I don’t know that they DID bypass purgatory. They were taken up bodily, but what happened after that? Does Scripture specify?

Secondly - Randy makes the point that purgatory may not be necessary for everyone.
St Catherine of Sienna in the Dialogues explains that those who die perfected in love reach out to God’s Love and go straight to heaven. Those who die under the lordship of the devil reach out to that which they embraced in life and so go straight to hell.
Those who die with an ordinary love reach out to God’s mercy and these go to purgatory.

It’s explained more fully HERE (about 6 paragraphs down)

Peace
James

really getting weird now, God loves us all equally and individually, though sometimes finds favor in particular with certain people who in the end some how become saints, so God can do both love all equally and find favor more with someone else, and on top of that now we as frail as we are have the ability to become " more holy " by pass purgatory and slip into heaven, so some of us can and do some how Love God more than others, while the rest of us are ordinary, what a nice feeling that is to know we have classes even in our spiritual life and not just classes in the human / secular life. If it isn’t bad enough to be labeled rich or poor, smart or stupid, now some how humanity has managed to label people to have more love or less for God, and more over get to bypass what ever punishment is in store for the rest of humanity, which really isn’t punishment merely a purging.

Christ saved humanity by dieing for our sins on the Cross yet it wasn’t enough so we have Reconciliation and are given a penance afterward, but now that is not enough either so we have purgatory, and I almost got a feeling that when we now get to purgatory that wont be enough and we are going to find out we have to do something else.

But some how purgatory is acceptable as being the final place for those that were good in life, but just not good enough. Hopefully purgatory will rid those of us plagued by resentment and sarcasm when one gets there.

Not to mention one can suffer horrible in the physical world and still be a good moral person and some how still not be considered " more holy " to get into heaven.

I guess it is good to have purgatory for those who need it… but it seems to me that God could instantly have people bypass purgatory and instantly have that person be purged and come to the realization of everything that one needs to know after going through who knows what on this planet.

there is no purgatory

Just to be clear, Purgatory is a temporary state or place that the soul may need to pass through in order to cleanse any remaining temporal effects of sin.

Purgatory is NOT a final place. It’s an intermediate step in our way TO Heaven.
Only those destined to Heaven but did not complete their Sanctification here on earth will go through Purgatory. Listen to St. Paul tell us about it.

Corinthians Chapter 3

3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Fire here is used as an analogy since St Paul used: gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubbler as building materials and fire will burn all except the first 3.

These words tell us that GOD will test us. If we are found wanting of perfection but we did follow Christ albeit imperfectly we will be saved but there will be suffering involved.
And this is before we are allowed to enter Heaven.
Since nothing imperfect can enter Heaven. Indeed we have sufferings here on earth, but did we accept them willingly as Jesus did?
Probably not, we feel we do not deserve to suffer. The path to Sainthood is NOT an easy one.

Would it be so nice that GOD just forego all justice right?
Is not that what you are asking?
God should just close HIS eyes to our imperfections and just give us a free pass.
Moreover HE should do all the work for us. Not trying to be sarcastic just pointing out that Justice would not be served like that.

I’m not really clear here if you intend the above to be a straight on expression of your understanding, or if you intend an element of sarcasm in it…I’ll therefore assume a straight on statement…
I would suggest that this is not weird thought it may very well be difficult to get one’s head around. There are indeed people who seem more able to approach perfection in this life than others…of course we cannot entirely know the true state of their hearts but by all ordinary measures this seems to be the case.
As to the idea of “classes” I think that this is a bit misleading…at least as I read it. Instead I would submit that different people are simply in different stages of the journey.
We’ve all heard the comment, “Just do your best”. A parent or teacher might say this to a child / student indicating that the effort is the critical thing. The same is true in the spiritual journey.
As you say some seem to be able to be perfected, or nearly so, in this life while most of us cannot seem to achieve this. Yet the effort is the key.

Christ saved humanity by dieing for our sins on the Cross yet it wasn’t enough so we have Reconciliation and are given a penance afterward, but now that is not enough either so we have purgatory, and I almost got a feeling that when we now get to purgatory that wont be enough and we are going to find out we have to do something else.

I don’t know why you would get a feeling that there would be “something else”.
Purgatory is actually a very broad concept and each soul’s purgation is bound to be different.

But some how purgatory is acceptable as being the final place for those that were good in life, but just not good enough.

As others have pointed out - Purgatory is not a final destination.

Hopefully purgatory will rid those of us plagued by resentment and sarcasm when one gets there.

It will.

Not to mention one can suffer horrible in the physical world and still be a good moral person and some how still not be considered " more holy " to get into heaven.

When you say “considered”…I assume you mean by other living humans…
But we cannot know the true state or what happens to the person once they stand before the Lord.

I guess it is good to have purgatory for those who need it… but it seems to me that God could instantly have people bypass purgatory and instantly have that person be purged and come to the realization of everything that one needs to know after going through who knows what on this planet.

You are quite right here…
The thing is that heaven, hell, purgatory etc…all these things exist outside of our concepts of time and space. So the idea of how “long” or “short” the purgation might be is more of a device that God uses in order to communicate the concept into terms we can understand.

I think that the bottom line…the simplest approach is to take your statement above, “I guess it is good to have purgatory for those who need it”, and let it go at that.
Or perhaps…change the word “purgatory” to “purgation”.

Peace
James

I don’t understand purgatory either. I’ve learned more about purgatory(thanks to Catholic Answers and the members here :slight_smile: ) but it’s hard to envision such a place.

yup there was some sarcasm in my posting but I assure it was not aimed at anyone, and the thing is, only till recently have I really wondered about purgatory, and have had this almost resentment towards it. I know in my heart it is a good thing and place… an as I have stated earlier I do admire the writtings of Scott Hahn and his explination on purgatory, an I even spend plenty of time praying for the souls in purgatory, so I dunno where this questioning of purgatory has come from or why the feelings I have about it recently have popped up…

I should probably be greatful I do not have to explain it to others !

Ever take a shower after jogging?

Seriously, purgatory is a TEMPORARY state or place wherein we get a final cleaning before entering heaven where nothing impure is allowed.

It’s not something we do, it’s something that God does to make us ready to see His glory.

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