Purgotory to believe or not to believe


#1

hello there…im new to the boards and i am not a catholic…although i was born and raised catholic, went to catholic school…baptised as a baby…etc…i have not been to a catholic church since my teen years, i am now 33 years old…i did go to a few Protestant churches beacuse i do belive in jesus christ as my savior and lord…last year some time i started looking into the catholic church teachings…etc…the doctrine they teach and belive…and i guess i became anti catholic sorta speak…i guess i fell into the trap sorta speak…for instance i truly thought and believed in the notion that peter was never in rome…beacuse the bible never said he did nor paul never mentioned him in his writings but only mentionong luke as being with him…and when he mentions the church leaders in rome, he mentions 25 of them but no peter…but now as of recently ive come to the conclusion peter was in rome as thought beacuse of early church reports and even pauls disclosuer in scripture by saying he did not want to go and preach on or where the word is already being taught, Hence peter was there already…so u can see i have been thinking diffrently than a catholic and now i still seem to have Purgotory unsure…to me it seems this…to beliveve in purgotory is to beliveve christs death on the cross was not sufficient enough is how i feel at this moment…maybe im off, maybe one can explain to me this purgotory which isnt scriptural people say…the thief on the cross was told of christ today u will be with me in paradise not in purgotory…and the rich man and the beggar lazarus…well lazarus died and went into abrhams bosom ( which is paradise) and the rich man was in hell being tormented which is why he spoke and said can the tip of the beggars finger quench the torment…i come with an open heart, if one can explain to me purgotory give it a shot…thanks


#2

Well to understand Purgatory you need to first understand “Prayers for the Dead”. If prayers for the dead are efficacious, then you have a building block upon which you can understand the necessity for a Purgatorial state.

As far as the thief on the Cross, I would say that what Jesus did was exceptional, but hey, he’s GOD, and he can do anything…even bypass the natural way of things for most of us human beings. (Like, for example, Mary being miraculously preserved from the stain of original sin)

I welcome any other comments on this topic.


#3

Hello Marc,

In the first place, I expect that this thread will quickly get moved by a moderator to the Apologetics section, so just be aware of that.

Now, you say that Purgatory implies that Christ’s death on the cross was “not sufficient”. Would you also say that the requirement that we must have faith implies that Christ’s death on the cross is not sufficient? If Christ’s death was sufficient for us to enter heaven, why does not everybody go to heaven?

The way to think of Purgatory is that it is God’s final mercy to us sinners who love him, however imperfectly. Even though we ignore time and again in this life those graces and chances that God presents to us for our sanctification, God grants us the final mercy that we who are still impure at death can be made pure in order to enter heaven. Purgatory is just God keeping his promise, the promise that we can gain heaven without being perfect. But since nothing imperfect can enter heaven, something has to change between death and heaven. That something is Purgatory. It need not involve a place, or the passage of time. It is best understood simply as the process where God finishes our perfection, removing from us every inclination to sin.

Ask yourself two questions:

  1. Am I perfect now, without sin or any inclination to sin?
  2. Will I be perfect in heaven, without sin or any inclination to sin?

If you answered NO and YES, then what will have changed? What changed is God’s gift of Purgatory.


#4

And also the thief on the cross was already doing his “time” in purgatory by his suffering on the cross. I guess Jesus felt his crucifixion was enough to cleanse his soul.

And also, the Book of Revelation says that nothing unclean can enter Heaven (sorry, I’d have to look up the verse). But if nothing unclean can enter Heaven, and there’s no Purgatory, then most of us here have a problem.

You may have committed sins and repented, and even went to Confession. But can you honestly say that your soul is clean and fit to see God? Purgatory is that process which makes us fit for Heaven.


#5

And maybe this may help…

scripturecatholic.com/purgatory_qa.html


#6

Christ died for the forgiveness of our sins. However, sin leaves a stain on our soul that requires cleansing before we are to be in God’s presence face-to-face. Christ’s death is sufficient for our salvation, but we are still accountable for our sins.

From Catholic Answers website:

“Purgatory Not in Scripture”

Some Fundamentalists also charge, as though it actually proved something, “The word purgatory is nowhere found in Scripture.” This is true, and yet it does not disprove the existence of purgatory or the fact that belief in it has always been part of Church teaching. The words Trinity and Incarnation aren’t in Scripture either, yet those doctrines are clearly taught in it. Likewise, Scripture teaches that purgatory exists, even if it doesn’t use that word and even if 1 Peter 3:19 refers to a place other than purgatory.

Christ refers to the sinner who “will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matt. 12:32), suggesting that one can be freed after death of the consequences of one’s sins. Similarly, Paul tells us that, when we are judged, each man’s work will be tried. And what happens if a righteous man’s work fails the test? “He will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” (1 Cor 3:15). Now this loss, this penalty, can’t refer to consignment to hell, since no one is saved there; and heaven can’t be meant, since there is no suffering (“fire”) there. The Catholic doctrine of purgatory alone explains this passage.

Then, of course, there is the Bible’s approval of prayers for the dead: “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 dead 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” (2 Macc. 12:43–45). Prayers are not needed by those in heaven, and no one can help those in hell. That means some people must be in a third condition, at least temporarily. This verse so clearly illustrates the existence of purgatory that, at the time of the Reformation, Protestants had to cut the books of the Maccabees out of their Bibles in order to avoid accepting the doctrine.

Prayers for the dead and the consequent doctrine of purgatory have been part of the true religion since before the time of Christ. Not only can we show it was practiced by the Jews of the time of the Maccabees, but it has even been retained by Orthodox Jews today, who recite a prayer known as the Mourner’s Kaddish for eleven months after the death of a loved one so that the loved one may be purified. It was not the Catholic Church that added the doctrine of purgatory. Rather, any change in the original teaching has taken place in the Protestant churches, which rejected a doctrine that had always been believed by Jews and Christians.


#7

Another thing to consider is that we here on earth are limited by our perceptions of time and space. Purgatory may very well exist ‘outside of’ that earthly perception. We tend to think of purgatory as a prison with early release for indulgences but for all we know purgatory is an instantaneous experience.

Also, however much the suffering might be in purgatory, it is a place of and for the saved.


#8

Keep in mind that purgatory is a gateway to heaven. Those in purgatory are already saved, being purified in joyful expectation of full union with Christ. St. Paul gives an intimation of this in 1 Cor 3:15.


#9

Every non-catholic I have ever talked to has believed in Purgatory they just don’t want to admit it. Now before you go nuts listen and give me a minute to explain…

The way to explain it first to never mention the word. It is a Catholic word so never mention it.
First ask the person believes they are washed in the Blood of Jesus? Everyone believes that, yes?
Now if they are washed in the Blood of Jesus what does that mean?
Jesus purifies us, Yes?
Now if I am saved does sin matter to God at all? Of course but we are washed in the Blood of Jesus.
Do we need to repent, of course but our sins are forgiven through the Blood of Jesus.
Now Christians believe that sins matter and you can’t go into heaven with sin on you.
(some extremists think it doesn’t matter and you can sin all you want, but lets ignore that for the moment) Most Christians believe that sin is something you should avoid.

Are you perfect or do you sometimes sin right now? Are you going to sin in Heaven? So God does something to you after you die before you enter Heaven so you are not like you are now. Is your soul perfect, no it is made perfect by God.
He makes you perfect so you do not sin in heaven, you do not want to sin and you don’t suffer for your sins that you have commited. (I feel shame sometimes for things I have done and suffer by feeling bad) That wont happen in heaven, there is not feeling bad.

Nothing unclean shall enter Heaven, so what must happen before?
We are washed in the Blood of Jesus, or purified.

Purgatory comes from the old word for cleansing in Latin.
God Bless
Scylla


#10

The way I explain it with simple logic is that here you are on earth, subject to sinning. Even those who are followers of Christ are still subject to sin while on earth. So after those people die they will no longer be subject to sin. So right there you can see that there has to be a transformation after death, just to change our nature.

And from there you can learn more details about Purgatory just knowing that a purification must exist.


#11

Here’s the verse from several translations.

Rev 21:27

(ASV) and there shall in no wise enter into it anything unclean, or he that maketh an abomination and a lie: but only they that are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

(DRB) There shall not enter into it any thing defiled or that worketh abomination or maketh a lie: but they that are written in the book of life of the Lamb.

(ESV) But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

(ISV) Nothing unclean, or anyone who does anything detestable, and no one who tells lies will ever enter it. Only those whose names are written in the lamb’s Book of Life will enter it.

(KJV) And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

(MKJV) And there shall in no way enter into it anything that defiles, or any making an abomination or a lie; but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

(MSG) Nothing dirty or defiled will get into the City, and no one who defiles or deceives. Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will get in.

(NASB) and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

(NKJV) But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

(RV) and there shall in no wise enter into it anything unclean, or he that maketh an abomination and a lie: but only they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.


#12

What’s really wierd is to run into Protestants who insist that they are perfect here and now, so they will need no purgation at death. How do you argue against someone who claims they are now without sin and without inclination to sin?


#13

MarkG,
You should believe it.
Biblical and Jewish Traditional Beliefs About Purgatory


#14

I guess tell them to read 1 John 1:8 ? :shrug:


#15

We are always told to repent. Each repentance is cleansed by the Blood of Christ. But lets just say you have a tiny envious thought towards another just before you die and you had
no time to think about it and confess to Christ. What happens to you? Well it has to be cleansed somehow and that is one reason why Purgatory is there. Gets rid of all those tiny unconfessed sins for us so we may enter the Gates of Heaven in our pearly white gowns heheh.

Here is another way to think about it. When we sin we still have to be held accountable for our own actions. Ok Christ cleans us of the sin. Agreed. He pays for our sin debt through His Blood. The sin that would other wise keep us from Paradise is taken away by Christ if we repent. BUT we are not saying that this Forgiven sin is what sends us to Purgatory. It’s the consequences of this forgiven sin that gets us there.

11 …you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of our God.

This is true. We are washed and sanctified and justified. We have no more sin on us after we confess them. We will be Just and deserving of Heaven. It’s the when that we are talking about. The sin is washed away. The due effects of it are not always though.

So purgatory has two purposes.

  1. The cleansing of minor unforgiven sins
  2. Temporal punishment for the due effects of washed aways sins. These effects are not sin don’t forget.

#16

" If Christ’s death was sufficient for us to enter heaven, why does not everybody go to heaven?" Good point, I got to remember that one.:thumbsup:


#17

I am a “cradle catholic” and have been greatly helped by much of the apologetics online. I want to accept all Roman Catholic doctrine, since I believe that I should not receive communion until I do, and am still working on some that trouble me. Purgatory is one of them.

There are a couple of scriptures that concern me and I haven’t found them addressed in searches. I can’t give you chapter and verse and these are paraphrases, but am hoping you can explain:

Paul said: “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” It doesn’t sound here as though there is an inbetween state. One might say Paul knew he was already perfect, but there are other scriptures that negate that thought.

In one of the Epistles it is stated, “When we see him we will be like him.” This sounds as though seeng his beauty and holiness banishes all that is unholy in us. I suppose that could be delayed while there is a time of purging, but why would that be said if we become perfectly holy in purgatory before we see him? We would already be like him. It also could fit into the instant purification theory, but then what would be the use of prayers for the dead?

(Like someone else in one of the threads mentioned, I also have wondered if God would apply prayer retroactively, knowing before the person died that it would be prayed. In that case it could even effect salvation after a loved one died. Is this against our doctrine or theology? I have never heard it mentioned by anyone before I saw it in the other thread.)

This is especially important for me now because I recently lost my mother who had a great love for the Lord. She suffered physical pain for many years and intense pain in the weeks before her death. I found myself assuring her that she would go straight to be with the Lord since she had suffered her purgatory on earth. But the best I can do in praying is, “Lord, if there is a purgatory, and my mother and/or father are there, please bring them quickly into your presence.”

Hope you can help me understand purgatory in the light of these scriptures.
Thank you!


#18

I think of purgatory as something like what happens in Isaiah 6:1-7.

I know there’s more to it than that, but it’s a simple introduction to the concept that works well for me.


#19

God is perfection, so to be united with him we must be perfected. To approach him with imperfections is to have those imperfections burned away in the very approach to him. That is purgatory.

And yes, I have no doubt that God who exists outside of time, can apply prayers as and when they are needed, even if that is at a point in time that from our point of view is ‘retroactive.’

This is especially important for me now because I recently lost my mother who had a great love for the Lord. She suffered physical pain for many years and intense pain in the weeks before her death. I found myself assuring her that she would go straight to be with the Lord since she had suffered her purgatory on earth. But the best I can do in praying is, “Lord, if there is a purgatory, and my mother and/or father are there, please bring them quickly into your presence.”

Your mother obviously suffered some purgatory during this life. I’m sure that God hears your prayers for her and applies them as and when needed. He might even apply them at the point of her death or during her earthly suffering.


#20

I don’t know how anyone can claim this. They’re fooling themselves.


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.