What is the relationship between temporal debts and salvation?


You said in your response to articperegrine, in your analogy of the spilt orange juice, “It’s the temporal debt I owe here.” Doesn’t purgatory involve the hereafter? I was raised in the church, I am a cradle catholic for whatever value that has. I didn’t leave the Church, though I ceased to be actively involved and did become involved with a nondenominational discipleship ministry, now as I begin to re-involve myself, I find issues like purgatory very divisive, and actually not much else. I am currently reading, as per your recommendation, "The Salvation Controvery” by Jimmy Akin and he makes the same argument about temporal debts, though I notice he uses primarily Old Testament referances. I am confused, if Christ paid the penalty for our sins, the just for the unjust as we know he did, then our temporal debts are in the temporal realm, what then is the purpose of purgatory in the hereafter?
Thank you for your patience,


Dear Shamgar,

When we die we are judged not on what is to come, but on what has transpired in our temporal life here on earth. This is where we have left the mess to be cleaned up. Something is expected from us. In Mt. 5:24 we read that when bringing our gift to the altar, we remember that our brother has something against us, we must first go and be reconciled to our brother. We can’t just jump to the eternal order and have God make everything better. We must deal with the matter in the temporal order as well. In the orange juice example, I was forgiven. But justice demanded that I clean up the mess that I made. Who was going to clean it up? Certainly, my mother shouldn’t have to. Since I made the mess, it was my obligation to clean it up. This is what purgatory does. As we have seen in this passage, God expects this.

For more on this, see: %between%

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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