When purgatory ends

I’ve heard that purgatory ends when Christ comes back to Earth (this graph also suggest this) but souls need to be purified before they can enter heaven. What happens to those who are not pure enough before the final judgment? Do they go to hell? Are they allowed into heaven dispite being impure? What about those living during the last days? Or maybe I was misled and purgatory continues after the judgment?

The Church teaches that everyone who goes to purgatory goes to Heaven (see CCC 1030). As to those who, at the time of the Last Judgment, have not been fully purified, I offer two points to consider:

– We don’t know how time works in purgatory; for all we know the intensity could be increased and completed in a shorter space of time if needed, but we shouldn’t assume an exact correlation, if any, between purgatorial time and earth time in the first place.

– St. Augustine (City of God XXI, no. 13), states that all temporal punishment is completed before the Last Judgment. I don’t know if this is merely his opinion as a theologian or if there’s a wider consensus and/or magisterial statement on the subject, but it does seem to fit with the definitive statements of Scripture about people going to their final reward at that time.

Side note: The supplement of the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas states the opinion that purgatory itself is eternal (because it is either part of, or annexed to, hell), though the punishment the elect suffer there is only temporary.

Thank you! Thread can be closed, I think, unless there’s something to add.

Is there even ‘time’ in purgation? There are no physical bodies; time is a characteristic of the physical universe.

So, presumably, a person could die an instant before the parousia, experience purgation, and be in heaven “before” the return of Christ. (Again, “before” is in quotes because… what does “time” mean in the eternity of heaven?)

Side note: The supplement of the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas states the opinion that purgatory itself is eternal (because it is either part of, or annexed to, hell), though the punishment the elect suffer there is only temporary.

By that analysis, we might also say that the Limbus Patrum likewise is eternal… although it is empty, and will stay that way forever. :shrug:

Hi!

I think that there are things that we may never know; what exactly takes place with those in Purgatory is unknown; people have speculated, as with other things Divine; some have even purported to have had vision… but only God Knows the Truth.

Purgatory and everything else will end at Jesus’s Coming since His Parousia would usher in Judgment Day, that time when Creator and Creatures will finally meet.

Yet, Purgatory is not like a financial debt/obligation where people payoff some interest and some principal and the balance is always held over their heads.

Since to God one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like yesterday… it could well be that credit for the debt will be accelerated or that the debt itself expunged… remember the parable of the workers–everyone got credited equally.

Maran atha!

Angel

FWIW, I recall Cdl. Ratzinger strongly disagreeing with the idea of a timeless purgatory.

After all, purgation is a process, a change… We all know what change requires… Time!

Except that there is no time in eternity. There is no clock. As Peter said, 2 Peter 3:8 ]

Do you have a reference? I’d love to read what he wrote!

After all, purgation is a process, a change… We all know what change requires… Time!

Physical change is what time measures…right?

Time as we know it, sure; but clearly there is a sequence of events with before and after:

– Typically a just soul is disembodied, goes to its particular judgment, is purged, rejoined to its body and undergoes the final judgment, experiences the Beatific Vision. Do these things all happen at once? Does a soul not enjoy the Beatific Vision and also enjoy it? Admittedly these questions are time-bound at least in terms of language, but I think they are still relevant.

– Take it a step further, a purely spiritual created being which never has a physical existence. If there are no before and after in the spiritual realm, then how do we explain the fall of Lucifer and the angels that followed him? Are some of the angels both in a state of grace and also in a state of mortal sin? It seems that change and sequence are somehow baked into the nature of a created being, even a purely spiritual one.

Again, I am admittedly looking at this from the vantage of time; but earth time need not be exactly the same as afterlife time or spiritual time or whatever you want to call it.

Those who are alive when Christ comes again will have lived through the great persecution, perhaps that is how they are purified.

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.