SPLIT, & Edited Title : Purgatory:A Catholic Second Chance?


Hey CentralFLJames, just exactly how do you release someone from purgatory? I don’t think I’ve read that in my Bible? I have read:
Luk 16:20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
Luk 16:21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
Luk 16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
Luk 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
Luk 16:24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
Luk 16:25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
Luk 16:26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
Luk 16:27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:
Luk 16:28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
Luk 16:29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
Luk 16:30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
Luk 16:31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

Why wasn’t Lazarus instructed to pray the rich man out of purgatory?


Purgatory is for those who, after their personal judgment, if they are granted Heaven, must suffer for the sins on earth to become perfect. If you are sentenced to Hell, you are not in Purgatory.

The Rich Man was in Hell. Thats why he doesn’t have a name as well.


b2 - first of all this is getting off topic. But let me briefly explain some things.

Firstly you have two fundamental errors in your assumptions here. Firstly the rich man is in hell - once in hell a soul is dead forever. There is no way to even reduce their suffering. They are outside of our domain and can not be helped - they chose spiritual death.

Secondly, you are asking me to explain God’s mind. No one can do that. All we can do is state what He has revealed to us. The Holy Spirit has revealed to the Catholic Church through scripture, tradition, revelation and inspired reason the doctrine of purgatory. We know from scripture itself that we can help those in purgatory. But we can not “pray them out” in exactly the manner as you put it.

When we are in a state of grace God honors His Church and its members and permits us to petition Him with worthy prayers and acts of supplication to request God to avail the infinite merits of His Son’s suffering and obedience and those of The Church (the spiritual treasures we build up through obedient suffering, persecution, mortification, obedience and prayer) to apply the necessary graces to progress and promote needing souls into heaven. God does not always fully honor these prayers - depending on our own spiritual state. But God will always do something to benefit a soul in need if we ask Him.

Do you doubt the power of God and the power of prayer?

If you do I urge you to read the material at this link. It could change your life.


God Bless,


I’m sorry, but almost all my Non-Catholic Christian friends have informed me that the Catholic Church teaches that Purgatory is a second chance - a “get out of jail free” card. :wink: So you must be mistaken, James.


Because the Rich man was in hell not in purgatory.
[FONT=Palatino Linotype]
[/FONT]Biblical and Jewish Traditional Beliefs About Purgatory



Well, we really should not expect those that can not interpret scripture properly to be able to understand Catholic teaching since it all comes right out of the same bible.

What Protestants fail to grasp is that Purgatory is a manifestation of God’s Mercy that permits Him to reconcile His Justice.

I can just imagine how the script is going to be for 99.99% of all Protestants on their day of judgement as they stand before God:

God: “You were a patriotic person and that was nice. You worked hard and paid your taxes and stopped at all traffic lights and stop signs. That is nice. You threw a few bucks into the Salvation Army collection box at Christmas - very nice. But let’s get to the bottom line to what matters - why did you not go to Church and confess your many sins”.
Protestant:"But I did go to church and I told you everytime after I sinned that I was sorry"
God: Did you hear the words "you are forgiven of your sins?"
Protestant:"Ah, not exactly, but You and I are buddies and I always tell You that I am sorry right after I sinned and You being God have to forgive me right?"
God: "Ah, no - sorry, you never did any acts of repentance and you presumed on my forgivness and did not petition my mercy from a contrite heart nor approach me in reverence through the prescribed means of my Holy Priests who are subordinate mediators and earthly representatives of my beloved Son."
Protestant: "But you have to admit that I did go to Church!"
God: "Well, I see that on some Sundays when you were not attending sporting events and going on outings you did attend an assembly in your community that sung pretty songs, clapped hands and read from the bible. But why did you not attend mass at My Church and receive My Son’s sacraments as He commanded you?"
Protestant: "You mean Catholic Mass? Those papists are all devils using pagan rituals!"
God: "Who told you that?"
Protestant: “Well, the bible tells me that you told me that”.
God: "I did not. This is a grave matter. Fortunately, many of your Catholic brothers have prayed to me unceasingly every day of their lives that I would show Mercy to those who were misled by the errors of Luther and his confused followers. You have 2 choices: 1) Hell 2) Purgatory."
Protestant: “Purgatory is a myth!”.
God: "So you choose Hell then?"
Protestant: "Ahem, well how hot is a myth and are there any Catholics there who are going to torment me and tell me ‘I told you so?’ "
God: "Wrong answer & you have just made your choice for the company you would like to keep for eternity"
Protestant: “Wait! It’s not fair, I despise Catholics and anyone trying to tell me how to read the bible and how to worship You. You made me free to do as my own private conscience dictates!”
*God: “I see that this ‘protest thing’ and scorn for My People has been the problem all along (nods to St. Peter).” *
St. Peter: "I am Catholic, and I have the universal keys that unbind you from sin. Unfortunately, they only work when you use them while alive on earth."
Satan: “I have a key that always works Peter. God gave Him to me - all fair and square. I will take care of him from here (winks)”.
St. Peter: sigh…
Protestant: :eek: :crying:



To be honest with you, I don’t try to dwell too much on Purgatory. It’s one of those things like describing that all matter is composed of atoms. You can disbelieve it or you can believe it, and it really doesn’t matter. There are still atoms.

Although I do laugh to myself every time I picture a Protestant who just arrived in Purgatory thinking, “*Oh ****! Those crazy Catholics were right all the time! And now I’m going to spend more time in Purgatory for saying ‘*****’!” :wink:


But you are required to believe in purgatory! It is Catholic doctrine is it not? :eek:


I thought the Orthodox believed in something very much like “Prugatory” but use a different name for it. No?



Purgatory is not a “Catholic second chance.” It’s the first chance in progress.

In the simplest terms:
The state of your soul upon death determines whether you go to heaven or hell. Purgatory is for those who are going to heaven. It is a process of purification (not a process of sanctification) prior to entering heaven.

And yes, purgatory is Catholic doctrine.




Well if this article is remotely accurate, you might understand my confusion.



Purgatory refers to a doctrine in the Roman Catholic Church which posits that those who die in a state of grace undergo a purification in order to achieve the holiness necessary to enter heaven (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1030).[1]
The Orthodox Church has neither explicitly recognized the term “purgatory” nor officially accepted such a state, which is distinct from the more general being “asleep in the Lord.” In his book entitled ‘Why Do We Reject Purgatory?’, Coptic Pope Shenouda III presents many theological and biblical arguments against the Purgatory. For example, he refers to 1 Thess 4:16,17, “And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord”, in which Paul describes the Last Day saying that those faithful who are still alive will meet the Lord with those who rise from the dead and then remain with Him always, and wonders, “Are these faithful (alive on the Last Day) exempt from Purgatory? Or is God showing partiality towards them?”[2]
That said, Eastern Orthodox Bishop Kallistos Ware acknowledges several schools of thought among the Orthodox on the topic of purification after death. This divergence indicates that the Catholic interpretation of purgatory, more than the concept itself, is what is universally rejected. Also, there are Orthodox sources that indicate some sins can be forgiven after death[3];(Mt 12:32) but which also reject the notion of purgatory because of the indulgences and idea of purgatorial fire that are tied to it.
Some Eastern Orthodox sources, including the Ecumenical Patriarchate, consider Purgatory to be among “inter-correlated theories, unwitnessed in the Bible or in the Ancient Church” that are not acceptable within Orthodox doctrine,[4] and hold to a “condition of waiting”[5] as a more apt description of the period after death for those not borne directly to heaven. This waiting condition does not imply purification, which they see as being linked to the idea “there is no hope of repentance or betterment after death.” Prayers for the dead, then, are simply to comfort those in the waiting place.
Other Orthodox believe in the “toll gate” theory by which the dead go to successive “toll gates” where they meet up with demons who test them to determine whether they have been guilty of various sins during life and/or tempt them to further sin.[6] If they have not repented and been absolved of those sins, or if they give in to sin after death, they will be taken to Hell.


Of course I am and I do. But whether there is a Purgatory or not doesn’t affect my life on this earth. I will strive to get to heaven just as diligently whether there’s a pit stop on the way or not.

Whether Baptism saves me or not is a different story.

So, if someone tries to stick to Purgatory to criticize the Catholic Church, I try to steer it toward a difference that we can work on.


Or this, let’s see. They are not in heaven or hell, they are in “the place of waiting”.

**The Coptic Orthodox view on the Prayer for the Departed

**We pray for those who departed from this world not because we believe in the purgatory but following St. Paul who prayed for Onesiphorus saying, “The Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord in that Day” (2 Tim 1:18). In that Day meant in the Day of Judgment, as he said “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Tim 4:8) St. Paul was not asking for mercy in the purgatory but on the Day of Judgment when he stands before the Just Judge. We pray for the departure that God may grant them rest in the place of waiting for the Day of Judgment has not come yet. Those departed are awaiting without worry or unrest. The litany for the departed does not mention the purgatory at all. We pray saying, “Sustain them in a green pasture, by the water of rest in the paradise of joy, the place out of which grief, sorrow and groaning have fled away” This is definitely not the description of the purgatory for the purgatory contrarily is a place of grief, sorrow and groaning.

Our Church absolves the soul of the departed during the prayer. She absolves her from all the sins she committed while in the flesh. We say to God, 'this soul has departed from us absolved by the church. We do not retain any sin for her … we intercede for her for You O Lord know the weakness of man.


Thanks for the clarification.


So let’s see. For this guy it looks like we’ve got exactly 40 days of something that doesn’t sound all that different from purgatory followed by a long time waiting on the second coming?


**Question: I read the response to the question regarding purgatory. I was under the impression from my Grandmother (who was deeply religious) and from murals I saw in a cathedral in Ukraine, that under the Orthodox religion, when someone dies you do not go to heaven or hell. Rather, you either go to the left side of God or the right side of God (I am not sure which side is the “good” side or the “bad” side) and that it is only when the end of earth has occurred that you go to heaven or hell. Have I misunderstood this somehow? **
**Answer: You provide a very interesting illustration of the Orthodox perspective of what happens to souls after death. Your Grandmother was quite right -perhaps she was a theologian? **The Orthodox Church has a very holistic view of the human person. We are a tripartite composite with body, soul and spirit united as one. In Christ, we are saved as such, as whole human beings, matter and spirit. Death is simply the disruption of this unity, of this integral wholeness.
Our body in the grave, along with our spirit at the side of God, awaits the Final Day of Judgement, the Second Coming of our Lord, God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, when we will be judged as a whole person, with body, soul and spirit.
This theology is contained in the services for the reposed. The soul is commemorated for forty days after death, but especially, following St Macarius of Egypt, on the Third Day when it is shown a vision of Christ and Heaven, on the ninth day when it experiences something of the joys of heaven, and then on the fortieth day when it is assigned a place until the Second Coming of Christ.
**So the souls after death come into the “Forecourt of Heaven” or the “Forecourt of hell.” We pray for all the souls of the faithful departed that God may have mercy on them since no one who lives is without sin, as our liturgy sings. ****Dr. Alexander Roman ****alex@unicorne.org**


Ooh! You were ready for my response. :smiley:

I’ve seen this rebuttal many times Chuckie.

There is no “doctrine” of purgatory in Holy Orthodoxy. There are theological opinions–such as toll houses–but no defined doctrines. It is sort of like the RCC theological opinion of Limbo. :wink:


The whole situation is kind of confusing:

Most Orthodox vehemently deny any belief in Purgatory or anything like it, despite the fact that their belief in praying sinners out of “Hell” can be reconciled with the Catholic notion of Purgatory. The problem here is that the Orthodox don’t really understand what Catholics mean by the term. They seem to hold a very Dante-esque view of the Catholic purgatory, and are bent on the idea that we are required to believe in this physical, torture chamber-like version, even though they are repeatedly shown that the official doctrine is much less specific and open to a certain degree of interpretation. Of course while the “literal fire” view of purgatory to which they object is permissible for Catholics to hold, it is far from the only view allowed.

There is also evidence that the Orthodox once accepted the same purgatory which they now deny. In the Synod of Jerusalem in 1672, Greek Orthodox Patriarch Dositheos put forth 18 decrees of the Orthodox faith in response to the Calvinist heresy. These decrees, known as the Confessions of Dositheus, sound very Catholic in their tone. Decree XVIII in particular discusses something which sounds very close to purgatory. You can view them here:

The EO deny that this supports an Orthodox belief in purgatory, claiming that it only sounds like it does because the Patriarch wrote it using western terminology (an argument which doesn’t make much sense to me, but then I’m not an expert theologian).

None of this post is meant to be confrontational. It is simply meant to express the great cultural and linguistic differences that create obstacles between our Churches. A Catholic who has studied the Orthodox view of the afterlife will see a completely complementary system which includes purgation, while an EO will reject that complementarity based on a very narrow view of the Catholic doctrine.


Forty days of prayer is Tradition. It has nothing to do with the doctrine of a place or state of purification by fire or suffering (purgatory). Your Eastern Catholic Church subscribes to the same understanding–and many if not most–will not commit to a belief in purgatory. :shrug:

Got anything else Chuckie?


Hey Mickey,

How are things? It’s been a while.

Your response is what I find so confusing. There are certain Catholic views of purgatory that would be acceptable opinions in Orthodoxy. So why the constant debate? It’s almost as if the fact that the Catholic Church has defined something as doctrine makes it instantly wrong in EO eyes, even if the EO themselves see it as an acceptable belief?

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