Why do your suppose that Catholics believe in Purgatory

Why my friends, do you suppose that Catholics believe in Purgatory?



Maybe the catholic church realizes that one human lifetime isn’t nearly enough to reach eternal everlasting bliss, enlightenment or the kingdom or god therefore perceives the need for purification after that one life. Others believe in reincarnation or rebirth. Purgatory, reincarnation, rebirth all in my view perform the same purpose. Since Christians aren’t supposed to believe in reincarnation and rebirth, purgatory works.

Because it is referenced in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament.

Because it is tradition handed down to us from the very formation of the Church.

Because our Saints and Mystics have told us of their experiences with the Holy Souls in Purgatory and their need for our prayers.

Because it is a comforting thought that I can be clean before my Lord. That He will not just accept me, muddied and tarnished to spend all eternity before Him in that state, but He will cleanse me, He will make me worthy to be with Him.

…and I’m sure there’s more but the wife is yelling so I got to run!!!

Because it is true that it exists.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. The Church gives the name purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned” (CCC 1030–1).

The concept of an after-death purification from sin and the consequences of sin is also stated in the New Testament in passages such as 1 Corinthians 3:11–15 and Matthew 5:25–26, 12:31–32.

The doctrine of purgatory, or the final purification, has been part of the true faith since before the time of Christ. The Jews already believed it before the coming of the Messiah, as revealed in the Old Testament (2 Macc. 12:41–45) as well as in other pre-Christian Jewish works, such as one which records that Adam will be in mourning “until the day of dispensing punishment in the last years, when I will turn his sorrow into joy” (The Life of Adam and Eve 46–7). Orthodox Jews to this day believe in the final purification, and for eleven months after the death of a loved one, they pray a prayer called the Mourner’s Kaddish for their loved one’s purification.

Jews, Catholics, and the Eastern Orthodox have always historically proclaimed the reality of the final purification. It was not until the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century that anyone denied this doctrine. As the quotes below from the early Church Fathers show, purgatory has been part of the Christian faith from the very beginning.

Some imagine that the Catholic Church has an elaborate doctrine of purgatory worked out, but there are only three essential components of the doctrine: (1) that a purification after death exists, (2) that it involves some kind of pain, and (3) that the purification can be assisted by the prayers and offerings by the living to God. Other ideas, such that purgatory is a particular “place” in the afterlife or that it takes time to accomplish, are speculations rather than doctrines.

All good reasons in my book! Comforting is the biggest one for me…

The purification of a soul that is not ready to see God face to face yet is called Purgatory. (some faults and small sins that have not been dealt with).

The belief in Reincarnation is entirely different, because it teaches the transmigration of souls into a new body, another lifetime on this planet.

Thing is, many protestants believe in it too, sort of.

Heard one minister say when you get to heaven you are going to be stinking if you were a wordly Christian…obviously referring to 1 Cor 3:15. Another protestant minster talked about how painful the judgement will be and how he’s not looking forward to that day. Hmmmm, sounds awful purgatorish to me :wink:

Ste Threrese of Lisieux opined that all souls in Purgatory are volunteers. She believed we all have a moment of total clarity at or near death, in which we see every sin we ever committed in its fully odiousness. She said we will think ourselves so unworthy that we would cast ourselves into hell if we had no alternative. So we opt for something (which she did not define with precision) that gives us the opportunity to cleanse ourselves of our self-centeredness; a task which she said is not an easy one.

I can picture that without a lot of difficulty.

Long-time lurker, new poster here. (Hi!)

Catholics believe in Purgatory because it’s the only thing that makes sense theologically. If you break your neighbor’s window and are forgiven, all well and good, but that doesn’t absolve you of the need to pay for the broken window. Either God is just, or He isn’t.

Not as simple as that, though. Reincarnation / rebirth don’t make sense from a theological point of view. It’s not that we’re just “not supposed” to believe in them, it’s that they make no sense. Purgatory, however, does.

In addition to the scriptural justification, purgatory expresses a reasoned common sense.

We are not God.
We are on a journey.
Sanctity is a process of unification with God, a coming to know a person face to face. A relationship. Relationships take time. Perfect relationships…fill in the blank.

If God is radically other, coming to know God cannot be a one-shot deal. If we say him instantly as he is, we would probably vaporize. Purgatory is God mercifully allowing us a time to adjust our eyes to the light in the room.

Purgatory is opposed (must be opposed!) because it undermines the foundation of bible Christianity: the personal doctrines of Martin Luther. Destroy Luther’s doctrines, destroy Protestantism. It is a defense mechanism of theological error.

The word is charged with disputation.

Most of my protestant friends find the concept of purgatory reasonable and acceptable, but they will not swallow the word.

Purgatory, reincarnation, rebirth. None of these in my view is anymore theologically sound than the others. The are beliefs and viewpoints and none of them can be proved or disproved. We either have faith or don’t have it.
My main point is that in many traditions one lifetime is not enough to reach enlightenment, the kingdom of god, etc…

Catholicism appreciates the elements of truth found in other religions. So it’s not merely a matter of finding unsoundness, but that all people are searching for the truth.

The are beliefs and viewpoints and none of them can be proved or disproved. We either have faith or don’t have it.


My main point is that in many traditions one lifetime is not enough to reach enlightenment, the kingdom of god, etc…

Catholicism believes that each human life is unique, unrepeatable, extends past our earthly life, and,
a human being is a unity of one body and one soul. So when we talk about a human lifetime it is in that context.

But that’s just your view. Can you theologically demonstrate why they’re all equivalent to you?

The Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is enough for one lifetime on this planet.

I cannot demonstrate this or any other view of mine theologically. These are merely my views that these are all theories on ways to reach bliss after this life has ended.

Gotcha. My only point in asking is to demonstrate why Catholics believe in Purgatory and not reincarnation and other, similar ideas. It’s a matter of theological and reasonable truth, not a simple mandate that we must believe in one and not others.

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