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The Doctrine of Purgatory
http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Eschatology/Eschatology_006.htm ^ | Unknown | Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J

Posted on 01/29/2007 6:45:51 AM PST by stfassisi

The Doctrine of Purgatory by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

God created man that he might possess his Creator forever in the beatific vision. Those who die in the state of enmity toward God are deprived of this happiness. Between these extremes are people who are neither estranged from God nor wholly dedicated to Him when they die. What will be their lot after death?

The response of faith is that nothing defiled can enter heaven (Rev 21:27), and therefore anyone less than perfect must first be cleansed before he can be admitted to the vision of God.

If this doctrine of Catholicism is less strenuously opposed than the one on hell, over the centuries it has nevertheless become something of a symbol of Rome. Historically, the Reformation was occasioned by a dispute over indulgences, with stress on indulgences for the souls in purgatory. Since that time, the existence of an intermediate state between earth and heaven has remained a stumbling block to reunion and its final acceptance by the Protestant churches would mean a reversal of four hundred years of divergence.

Too often the eschatology of the Catholic Church is considered her own private domain, when actually the whole of Eastern Orthodoxy subscribes (substantially) to Catholic teaching on the Last Things, including the doctrine on purgatory.

Those in Purgatory When we speak of the souls of the just in purgatory we are referring to those that leave the body in the state of sanctifying grace and are therefore destined by right to enter heaven. Their particular judgment was favorable, although conditional: provided they are first cleansed to appear before God. The condition is always fulfilled.

The poor souls in purgatory still have the stains of sin within them. This means two things. First, it means that the souls have not yet paid the temporal penalty due, either for venial sins, or for mortal sins whose guilt was forgiven before death. It may also mean the venial sins themselves, which were not forgiven either as to guilt or punishment before death. It is not certain whether the guilt of venial sins is strictly speaking remitted after death, and if so, how the remission takes place.

We should also distinguish between the expiatory punishments that the poor souls in purgatory pay and the penalties of satisfaction which souls in a state of grace pay before death. Whereas before death a soul can cleanse itself by freely choosing to suffer for its sins, and can gain merit for this suffering, a soul in purgatory can not so choose and gains no merit for the suffering and no increase in glory. Rather, it is cleansed according to the demands of Divine Justice.

We are not certain whether purgatory is a place or a space in which souls are cleansed. The Church has never given a definite answer to this question. The important thing to understand is that it is a state or condition in which souls undergo purification.

The Catholic practice of offering prayers and sacrifices for the dead is known as offering suffrages. These suffrages are offered both by the individuals and by the Church. They are intended to obtain for the poor soul, either partial or total remission of punishment still to be endured.

Who are the faithful that can pray effectively for the poor souls? They are primarily all baptized Christians but may be anyone in a state of grace. At least the state of grace is probably necessary to gain indulgences for the dead.

The angels and saints in heaven can also help these souls in purgatory and obtain a mitigation of their pains. When they do so, the process is not by way of merit or of satisfaction, but only through petition. A study of the Church’s official prayers reveals that saints and the angelic spirits are invoked for the Church Suffering (i.e., those in purgatory), but always to intercede and never otherwise.

Contrary Views Since patristic times there have been many who have denied the existence of purgatory and have claimed it is useless to pray for the dead. Arius, a fourth-century priest of Alexandria who claimed that Christ is not God, was a prime example. In the Middle Ages, the Albigenses, Waldenses, and Hussites all denied the existence of purgatory. Generally, the denial by these different groups of heretics was tied in with some theoretical position on grace, or merit, or the Church’s authority. But until the Reformation, there was no major reaction to Catholic doctrine on the existence of purgatory.

With the advent of the Reformers, every major Protestant tradition—the Reformed (Calvinist), Evangelical (Lutheran), Anglican (Episcopal), and Free Church (Congregational)—took issue with Roman Catholicism to disclaim a state of purification between death and celestial glory.

John Calvin set the theological groundwork for the disclaimer, which he correctly recognized to be a part of the Protestant idea that salvation comes from grace alone in such a way that it involves no human cooperation:

We should exclaim with all our might, that purgatory is a pernicious fiction of Satan, that it makes void the cross of Christ, that it intolerably insults the Divine Mercy, and weakens and overturns our faith. For what is their purgatory, but a satisfaction for sins paid after death by the souls of the deceased? Thus the notion of satisfaction being overthrown, purgatory itself is immediately subverted from its very foundation. It has been fully proved that the blood of Christ is the only satisfaction, expiation, and purgation for the sins of the faithful. What, then, is the necessary conclusion but that purgation is nothing but a horrible blasphemy against Christ? I pass by the sacrilegious pretences with which it is daily defended, the offences which it produces in religion, and the other innumerable evils which we see to have come from such a source of impiety. Institutes of the Christian Religion, III, 5. Calvin’s strictures have been crystallized in the numerous Reformed Confessions of Faith, like the Westminster Confession of the Presbyterian Church. “Prayer is to be made,” says the Confession, “for things lawful, and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter; but not for the dead, nor for those of whom it may be known that they have sinned the sin unto death” (Chapter XXI, Section 4).

In the Augsburg Confession of the Lutheran churches, it is stated that “the Mass is not a sacrifice to remove the sins of others, whether living or dead, but should be a Communion in which the priest and others receive the sacrament for themselves” (Chapter XXIV, The Mall).

The Thirty-nine Articles of the Anglican Communion, which in the United States is the Protestant Episcopal Church, are equally clear. They place the existence of purgatory in the same category with image worship and invocation of the saints:

The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well as images of Relics, and also Invocation of Saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God. (Article XXII). Standard formularies of the Free Church tradition simply omit mention of purgatory from their Confessions of Faith, with a tendency in the United Church of Christ towards universalism. Thus life everlasting is univocally equated with blessedness, the “never-ending life of the soul with God,” which means “the triumph of righteousness (in) the final victory of good over evil, which must come because God wills it” (Christian Faith and Purpose: A Catechism, Boston, p. 21).

A fine testimony to the ancient faith in purgatory occurs in the authoritative Confession of Dositheus, previously referred to. This creed of the Orthodox Church was produced by a synod convened in Jerusalem in 1672 by Patriarch Dositheus. The occasion for the creed was Cyril Lucaris, who had been elected Patriarch of Alexandria in 1602 and of Constantinople in 1621, Lucaris was strongly influenced by Protestantism and especially by Reformed theology. His Protestant predilections aroused the opposition of his own people. He was finally strangled by the Turks, who thought he was guilty of treason.

The Confession of Dositheus defines Orthodoxy over against Protestantism. It is the most important Orthodox confession of modern times:

We believe that the souls of those that have fallen asleep are either at rest or in torment, according to each hath wrought. For when they are separated from their bodies, they depart immediately either to joy or to sorrow and lamentation; though confessedly neither their enjoyment nor condemnation are complete. For, after the common resurrection, when the soul shall be united with the body, with which it had behaved itself well or ill, each shall receive the completion of either enjoyment or of condemnation. Such as though involved in mortal sins have not departed in despair but have, while still living in the body, repented, though without bringing any fruits of repentance---by pouring forth tears, by kneeling while watching in prayers, by afflicting themselves, by relieving the poor, and in find by showing forth by their works their love towards God and their neighbor, and which the Catholic Church hath from the beginning rightly called satisfaction—of these and such like the souls depart into Hades, and there endure the punishment due to their sins which they have committed. But they are aware of their future release from thence, and are delivered by the Supreme Goodness through the prayers of the priests and the good works which the relative of each perform for their departed—especially the unbloody Sacrifice availing the highest degree—which each offers particularly for his relatives that have fallen asleep, and which the Catholic and Apostolic Church offers daily for all alike. It is not known, of course, when they will be released. We know and believe that there is deliverance for them from their dire condition, before the common resurrection and judgment, but we do not know when. (Decree XVII). An unexpected development in contemporary Episcopalianism is the verbal admission of Article XXII of the Thirty-nine Articles alongside a belief in prayers for the dead sanctioned by the American Book of Common Prayer. Among others, one oration reads: “O God, whose mercies cannot be numbered, accept our prayers on behalf of the soul of thy servant, and grant him (her) an entrance into the land of light and joy, in the fellowship of thy saints” (p. 34). Masses for the faithful departed are also offered in the High Church Episcopalianism.

Biblical Elements of Purgatory The Definition of the Catholic Church on the existence of purgatory is derived from Sacred Scripture and the Sacred Tradition, which Christ promised would enable the Church to interpret Scripture without error. In particular, the Church relied on the writings of the early Fathers in defining this article of faith.

The classic text in the Old Testament bearing witness to the belief of the Jewish people in the existence of a state of purgation where souls are cleansed before entering heaven is found in the Book of Maccabees. Judas Maccabeus (died 161 BC) was a leader of the Jews in opposition to Syrian dominance, and Hellenizing tendencies among his people. He resisted a Syrian army and renewed religious life by rededicating the temple; the feast of Hanukkah celebrates this event.

In context, Judas had just completed a successful battle against the Edomites and was directing the work of gathering up the bodies of the Jews who had fallen in battle. As the bodies were picked up, it was found that every one of the deceased had, under his shirt, amulets of the idols of Jamnia, which the Law forbade the Jews to wear. Judas and his men concluded that this was a divine judgment against the fallen, who died because they had committed this sin of disobedience. The sacred writer describes what happened next:

So they all blessed the ways of the Lord, the righteous Judge, who reveals the things that are hidden and fell to supplication, begging that the sin that had been committed should be wholly blotted out. And the noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves from sin, after having seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. He also took a collection, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, each man contributing, and sent it to Jerusalem, to provide a sin offering, acting very finely and properly in taking account of the resurrection. For if he had not expected that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead; or if it was through reward destined for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, so that they might be set free from their sin (2 Mac 12:42-46). The Maccabean text shows that Judas, and the Jewish priests and people believed that those who died in peace could be helped by prayers and sacrifices offered by the living. Luther denied the canonicity of seven books of the Old Testament (the Deuterocanonical books), including the two books of Maccabees. But even if the text were not inspired, as an authentic witness to Jewish history in pre-Christian times it testifies to the common belief in a state of purgation after death and in the ability to help the faithful departed by prayers of intercession on their behalf. Jewish tradition since the time of Christ supports this view.

There are also certain passages in the New Testament that the Church commonly cites as containing evidence of the existence of purgatory. In the Gospel of Matthew, Christ warns the Pharisees that anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven either in this world or in the next (Mt. 12:32). Here Christ recognizes that there exists a state beyond this world in which the penalty due for sins, which were pardoned as to guilt in the world, is forgiven. St. Paul also affirms the reality of purgatory. In his first letter to the Corinthians, he says that “the fire will assay the quality of everyone’s work,” and “if his work burns he will lose his reward, but himself will be saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Cor 3:13, 15). These words clearly imply some penal suffering. Since he connects it so closely with the divine judgment, it can hardly be limited to suffering in this world, but seems to include the idea of purification through suffering after death, namely in Purgatory.

The Fathers on Purgatory During the first four centuries of the Christian era, the existence of purgatory was commonly taught in the Church, as seen in its universal practice of offering prayers and sacrifices for the dead.

The most ancient liturgies illustrate the custom in such prayers as the following: “Let us pray for our brothers who have fallen asleep in Christ, that the God of the highest charity towards men, who has summoned the soul of the deceased, may forgive him all his sin and, rendered well-disposed and friendly towards him, may call him to the assembly of the living” (Apostolic Constitutions, 8:41).

Equally ancient are the inscriptions found in the catacombs, which provide numerous examples of how the faithful offered prayers for their departed relatives and friends. Thus we read from engravings going back to the second century such invocations as “Would that God might refresh your spirit….Ursula, may you be received by Christ….Victoria, may your spirit be at rest in good….Kalemir, may God grant peace to your spirit and that of your sister, Hildare…Timothy, may the eternal life be yours in Christ.”

Writers before Augustine explicitly teach that souls stained with temporal punishment due to sins are purified after death. St. Cyprian (died 258) taught that penitents who die before the Sacrament of Penance must perform the remainder of any atonement required in the other world, while martyrdom counts as full satisfaction (Epistola 55,20). St. Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386) described the sacred rites of the Liturgy with the comment, “Then we pray also for the dead, our holy fathers, believing that this will be a great help for the souls of those for whom the prayer is offered” (Catechesis, 32).

St. Augustine not only presumed the existence of purgatory as a matter of divine faith, but also testified to this belief from the Scriptures. Among other statements, he said, “Some believers will pass through a kind of purgatorial fire. In proportion as they loved the goods that perish with more or less devotion, they shall be more or less quickly delivered from the flames.” He further declared that the deceased are “benefited by the piety of their living friends, who offer the Sacrifice of the Mediator, or give alms to the Church on their behalf. But these services are of help only to those lives had earned such merit that suffrages of this could assist them. For there is a way of life that is neither so good as to dispense with these services after death, nor so bad that after death they are of not benefit” (Enchiridion 69, 110).

Augustine’s most beautiful tribute to purgatory occurs in the book of his Confessions, where he describes the death of his mother Monica and recalls her final request, “Lay this body anywhere at all. The care of it must not trouble you. This only I ask of you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you are.” Augustine complied with his mother’s desire and admits that he did not weep “even in those prayers that were poured forth to Thee while the sacrifice of our redemption was offered for her” (Confessions, IX, 11).

After the Patristic period, the Church did not significantly develop the doctrine of purgatory for many centuries. Then in the twelfth century, Pope Innocent IV (1243-54), building upon the writings of the Fathers, expounded in detail upon the doctrine. In context, Innocent was concerned with reuniting the Greek Church which had been in schism since the Photian scandal in the ninth century. He appealed to the Greek’s belief in a state of purgation as a point of departure from which to bring them into communion with Rome. In a doctrinal letter to the apostolic delegate in Greece, he discussed the common belief:

It is said that the Greeks themselves unhesitatingly believe and maintain that the souls of those who do not perform a penance which they have received, or the souls of those who die free from mortal sins but with even the slightest venial sins, are purified after death and can be helped by the prayers of the Church. Since the Greeks say that their Doctors have not given them a definite and proper name for the place of such purification, We, following the tradition and authority of the holy Fathers, call that place purgatory; and it is our will that the Greeks use that name in the future. For sins are truly purified by that temporal fire---not grievous or capital sins which have not first been remitted by penance, but small and slight sins which remain a burden after death, if they have not been pardoned during life (DB, 456). The Second Council of Lyons, convened in 1274, used the teaching of Pope Innocent IV in its formal declaration on purgatory. This declaration stated:

If those who are truly repentant die in charity before they have done sufficient penance for their sins of omission and commission, their souls are cleansed after death in purgatorial or cleansing punishments…The suffrages of the faithful on earth can be of great help in relieving these punishments, as, for instance, the Sacrifice of the Mass, prayers, almsgiving, and other religious deeds which, in the manner of the Church, the faithful are accustomed to offer for others of the faithful. The next major pronouncement by the Catholic Church regarding purgatory came shortly before the Council of Trent, from Pope Leo X who condemned a series of propositions of Martin Luther, including the following:

Purgatory cannot be proved from the Sacred Scripture which is the Canon. The souls in purgatory are not sure about their salvation, at least not all of them. Moreover, it has not been proved from reason or from the Scriptures that they are beyond the state of merit or of growing in charity (DB 777-778). The Council of Trent went further, including in the Decree on Justification an anathema of those who deny the debt of temporal punishment, remissible either in this life or in the next:

If anyone says that, after receiving the grace of justification the guilt of any repentant sinner is remitted and the debt of eternal punishment is blotted out in such a way that no debt of temporal punishment remains to be paid, either in this life or in purgatory, before the gate to the kingdom of heaven can be opened: let him be anathema (DB 840). Fifteen years after the Decree on Justification, and shortly before its closing sessions, the Council of Trent issued a special Decree on Purgatory, as well as corresponding decrees on sacred images, invocation of the saints and indulgences. It was a summary statement that referred to the previous definition and that cautioned against some of the abuses that gave rise to the Protestant opposition:

The Catholic Church, by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, in accordance with Sacred Scripture and the ancient tradition of the Fathers, has taught in the holy councils, and most recently in this ecumenical council, that there is a purgatory, and that the souls detained there are helped by the prayers of the faithful, and especially by the acceptable Sacrifice of the Altar. Therefore, this holy council commands the bishops to be diligently on guard that the true doctrine about purgatory, the doctrine handed down from the holy Fathers and the sacred councils, be preached everywhere, and that Christians be instructed in it, believe it, and adhere to it. But let the more difficult and subtle controversies, which neither edify nor generally cause any increase of piety, be omitted from the ordinary sermons to the poorly instructed. Likewise, they should not permit anything that is uncertain or anything that appears to be false to be treated in popular or learned publications. And should forbid as scandalous and injurious to the faithful whatever is characterized by a kind of curiosity and superstition, or is prompted by motives of dishonorable gain (DB 983). Most recently, the Second Vatican Council in its Constitution on the Church renewed the teaching of previous councils on eschatology, including the doctrine of purgatory. “This sacred Council,” it declared, “accepts with great devotion this venerable faith of our ancestors regarding this vital fellowship with our brethren who are in heavenly glory or who, having died, are still being purified….At the same time, in conformity with our own pastoral interests, we urge all concerned, if any abuses, excesses or defects have crept in here or there, to do what is in their power to remove or correct them, and to restore all things to a fuller praise of Christ and of God” (Chapter VII, No. 51).

Meaning of the Doctrine Although not defined doctrine, it is certain that the essential pain in purgatory is the pain of loss, because the souls are temporarily deprived of the beatific vision.

Their suffering is intense on two counts: (1) the more something is desired, the more painful its absence, and the faithful departed intensely desire to possess God now that they are freed from temporal cares and no longer held down by the spiritual inertia of the body; (2) they clearly see that their deprivation was personally blameworthy and might have been avoided if only they had prayed and done enough penance during life.

However, there is no comparison between this suffering and the pains of hell. The suffering of purgatory is temporary and therefore includes the hope of one day seeing the face of God; it is borne with patience since the souls realize that purification is necessary and they do not wish to have it otherwise; and it is accepted generously, out of love for God and with perfect submission to His will.

Moreover, purgatory includes the pain of sense. Some theologians say that not every soul is punished with this further pain, on the premise that it may be God’s will to chastise certain people only with the pain of loss.

Theologically, there is less clarity about the nature of this pain of sense. Writers in the Latin tradition are quite unanimous that the fire of purgatory is real and not metaphorical. They argue from the common teaching of the Latin Fathers, of some Greek Fathers, and of certain papal statements like that of Pope Innocent IV, who spoke of “a transitory fire” (DB 456). Nevertheless, at the union council of Florence, the Greeks were not required to abandon the opposite opinion, that the fire of purgatory is not a physical reality.

We do not know for certain how intense are the pains in purgatory. St. Thomas Aquinas held that the least pain in purgatory was greater than the worst in this life. St. Bonaventure said the worst suffering after death was greater than the worst on earth, but the same could not be said regarding the least purgatorial suffering.

Theologians commonly hold, with St. Robert Bellarmine, that in some way the pains of purgatory are greater than those on earth. At least objectively the loss of the beatific vision after death, is worse than its non-possession now. But on the subjective side, it is an open question. Probably the pains in purgatory are gradually diminished, so that in the latter stages we could not compare sufferings on earth with the state of a soul approaching the vision of God.

Parallel with their sufferings, the souls also experience intense spiritual joy. Among the mystics, St. Catherine of Genoa wrote, “It seems to me there is no joy comparable to that of the pure souls in purgatory, except the joy of heavenly beatitude.” There are many reasons for this happiness. They are absolutely sure of their salvation. They have faith, hope and great charity. They know themselves to be in divine friendship, confirmed in grace and no longer able to offend God.

Although the souls in purgation perform supernatural acts, they cannot merit because they are no longer in the state of wayfarers, nor can they increase in supernatural charity. By the same token, they cannot make satisfaction, which is the free acceptance of suffering as compensation for injury, accepted by God on account of the dignity of the one satisfying. The sufferings in purgatory are imposed on the departed, without leaving them the option of “free acceptance” such as they had in mortal life. They can only make “satis-passion” for their sins, by patiently suffering the demand of God’s justice.

The souls in purgatory can pray, and, since impetration is the fruit of prayer, they can also impetrate. The reason is that impetration does not depend on strict justice as in merit, but on divine mercy. Moreover, the impetratory power of their prayers depends on their sanctity.

It is therefore highly probable that the poor souls can impetrate a relaxation of their own (certainly of other souls’) sufferings. But they do not do this directly; only indirectly in obtaining from God the favor that the Church might pray for them and that prayers offered by the faithful might be applied to them.

However, it is not probable but certain that they can pray and impetrate on behalf of those living on earth. They are united with the Church Militant by charity in the Communion of Saints. At least two councils approved the custom of invoking the faithful departed. According to the Council of Vienne, they “assist us by their suffrages.” And in the words of the Council of Utrecht, “We believe that they pray for us to God.” St. Bellarmine wrote at length on the efficacy of invoking the souls in purgatory. The Church has formally approved the practice, as in the decree of Pope Leo XIII granting an indulgence for any prayer in which the intercession of the faithful departed is petitioned (Acta Sanctae Sedis, 1889-90, p. 743).

A Problem A major problem arises regarding the forgiveness of venial sins in a person who is dying in the state of grace. When and how are they remitted? Is the forgiveness before death? If so, by what right? What has the person done to deserve forgiveness, since it is not likely God would remove the guilt of sins that were not repented of. Or is it after death? But then how can this take place, since ex hypotesi the person can no longer merit or truly satisfy, but can only suffer to remove the reatus poenae.

According to one theory (Alexander of Hales), venial sins are always removed in this life through the grace of final perseverance, even without an act of contrition. Remission takes place “in the very dissolution of body and soul,” when concupiscence is also extinguished. Few theologians look on this opinion favorably, both because there is nothing in the sources to suggest that final perseverance remits guilt, and because everything indicates the need for some human counterpart in the remission of sin.

Others claim (e.g., St. Bonaventure) that forgiveness occurs in purgatory itself by a kind of “accidental merit” which allows for the removal of guilt and not only satispassion in virtue of Divine Justice. If anything, this theory is less probable than the foregoing because it presumes there is a possibility of merit after death.

Blessed Dun Scotus and the Franciscan school say the deletion takes place either in purgatory or at the time of death. If in purgatory, it is on the assumption that the expiating venial sins is nothing more than remitting the penalty they deserve; if at the time of death, it could be right at the moment the soul leaves the body or an instant after. In any case, Scotists postulate that remission occurs because of merits previously gained during life on earth. This position is not much favored because it seems to identify habitual sin with its penalty and claim that venial sins are remissible without subjective penance.

The most common explanation is that venial sins are remitted at the moment of death, through the fervor of a person’s love of God and sorrow for his sins. For although a soul on leaving the body can no longer merit or make real satisfaction, it can retract its sinful past. Thus, it leaves its affection for sin and, without increasing in sanctifying grace or removing any penalty (as happens in true merit), it can have deleted the reatus culpai. The latter is incompatible with the exalted love of God possessed by a spirit that leaves the body in divine friendship but stained with venial faults.


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The most ancient liturgies illustrate the custom in such prayers as the following: “Let us pray for our brothers who have fallen asleep in Christ, that the God of the highest charity towards men, who has summoned the soul of the deceased, may forgive him all his sin and, rendered well-disposed and friendly towards him, may call him to the assembly of the living” (Apostolic Constitutions, 8:41).

Equally ancient are the inscriptions found in the catacombs, which provide numerous examples of how the faithful offered prayers for their departed relatives and friends. Thus we read from engravings going back to the second century such invocations as “Would that God might refresh your spirit….Ursula, may you be received by Christ….Victoria, may your spirit be at rest in good….Kalemir, may God grant peace to your spirit and that of your sister, Hildare…Timothy, may the eternal life be yours in Christ.”

Writers before Augustine explicitly teach that souls stained with temporal punishment due to sins are purified after death. St. Cyprian (died 258) taught that penitents who die before the Sacrament of Penance must perform the remainder of any atonement required in the other world, while martyrdom counts as full satisfaction (Epistola 55,20). St. Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386) described the sacred rites of the Liturgy with the comment, “Then we pray also for the dead, our holy fathers, believing that this will be a great help for the souls of those for whom the prayer is offered” (Catechesis, 32).


1 posted on 01/29/2007 6:45:53 AM PST by stfassisi
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To: sandyeggo; Salvation; Pyro7480; jo kus; bornacatholic; Campion; NYer; Diva; RobbyS; narses

This will be fun and interesting.-;)


2 posted on 01/29/2007 6:48:20 AM PST by stfassisi ("Above all gifts that Christ gives his beloved is that of overcoming self"St Francis Assisi)
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To: Siobhan; Canticle_of_Deborah; NYer; Salvation; sandyeggo; american colleen; Desdemona; ...

Catholic ping!


3 posted on 01/29/2007 6:49:09 AM PST by Pyro7480 ("Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world." - Pope Blessed Pius IX)
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To: stfassisi

Here we go again!


4 posted on 01/29/2007 6:49:52 AM PST by wagglebee ("We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." -- President Bush, 1/20/05)
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To: stfassisi

Hmmm it's tough to say which has less scriptural/historical support: the idea that folks will just disappear into heaven in some sort of pre-second-coming rapture, or that folks get to 'work off' sins in some sort of inter-life-death-waiting-room.


5 posted on 01/29/2007 6:53:29 AM PST by kawaii (Orthodox Christianity -- Proclaiming the Truth Since 33 A.D.)
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To: stfassisi

The example of the Maccabees reminds me of collegiality of all souls and the anticipation of the resurrection. We share a common nature and a common life. Each individual is responsible for his sins and must make personal satisfaction. But do we go to God alone? Do we cease to be the children of our parents, bothers or sisters to our siblings, Father and mothers and grandfathers and grandmothers to our own children, aunts and uncles to our nephews and nieces, cousins to our cousins? If we remain united in bllood, then what about the bond between the Baptised? Are these ties so broken by death that we are no longer in comminion with them? But does the brotherhood we share with Jesus defeat death? Does not charity keep us linked together despite all?


6 posted on 01/29/2007 8:34:13 AM PST by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: stfassisi

The difference between Purgatory and Hell is a medieval misunderstanding of Christians.

Jesus referred to "Gehenna", which is the Greek for "Genhinnom". Yes, it is a physical place outside of Jerusalem, a nasty place, but it was given that name because it was an earthly vision of the spiritual Genhinnom of Judaism.

Jesus wasn't making a new doctrine here. He didn't DEFINE Gehenna because he was speaking to JEWS, and JEWS all knew (and, if they have studied their religion, know) what Genhinnom is). Jesus didn't MODIFY anything about the Jewish view of Genhinnom. He simply referred to it, implying that the Jewish view was correct and didn't need to be modified.

So, what IS Genhinnom? Genhinnom - Gehenna in the Greek translation - is Hell, as opposed to Gan Eden, which is Paradise. When the body dies, according to the Jews then and now, the soul departs and goes to judgment before the fair and perfect judge: God Almighty. The soul is judged in the balance, between the good deeds that one has done - the mitzvot - including adherence to The Law - and the evil one has done. If the good deeds far outweigh the bad, and there is nothing horriffic on the bad side, the truly good soul goes straight to Gan Eden: heaven. Everybody else goes to Hell: Genhinnom. But this is the key. Every soul cast into Genhinnon does not STAY there. Genhinnom is a place of purification and pain - where the fire never ceases and the worm never sleeps. And there, those whose balance of good and evil was more even, or those who had a dastardly act in their past but were otherwise good, etc., are purified: THEN they go to Gan Eden. The truly wicked and depraved, whose souls had such a lopsided toll of evil and who did little to no good, stay in Genhinnom forever.

So, you see, Gehenna - Jewish Hell - is both Hell AND Purgatory. The impure but salvageable soul is harrowed through Hell, and purified in the flame, and THEN goes to Heaven.

That's what the Jews believe, and believed. That's what the people Jesus was talking to believed. And that's what Jesus SAID, too, by using the term "Gehenna", just like that, unadorned, unmodified, uncorrected. When Jesus corrected tradition, he always said 'Scripture says, but I tell you...'. When he refers to a tradition and DOESN'T modify it or correct it, and just incorporates it into his speech, he is telling the Jews hearing it that (A) their tradition is essentially correct and (B) given that, because you don't want to go to Hell (even if you get purified in the end, you don't want to get boiled in oil in the first place), do right and follow the teachings and commandments now.

Jesus' sermon is very Jewish. And if we listen to it as a Jew of the First Century (as opposed to a Catholic monastic of the Middle Ages who knows nothing about Judaism other than popular legends filled with blood libel, and the glimpses of it in the New Testament), we discover that Jesus has laid out the directions of the afterlife, and that the Jews have it right: Heaven for the pure, Hell for everyone else, with Hell serving a purifying function for some before they go on to Heaven, while the wicked stay in Hell forever. That's what Jesus SAID by invoking Gehenna and not modifying it.

If Catholics understood the Jewish Jesus better, they would understand that Purgatory IS Hell, and Hell IS Purgatory. The only distinction is that for those souls to be purified there, Hell ENDS at some point and they leave for Heaven, thus making Hell a Purgatory. But for the wicked, there is no purgation. It's just hell and flames and torment forever, without end.

How to avoid that end? Don't blaspheme the Holy Spirit is the biggie Jesus warned about. Every other sin can be pardoned, eventually, according to Jesus. And given that Jesus was God Incarnate, he ought to know.

There really should not be a debate about Hell and Purgatory.
Those who say there IS NO PURGATORY because it's not in the Bible are wrong. It IS in the Bible, from Jesus' lips no less: Gehenna.
Those who say there IS NO HELL are wrong. It IS in the Bible, from Jesus' lips no less: Gehenna.
Those who say that Hell and Purgatory are DIFFERENT PLACES are mistaken. They misunderstand the Jewish meaning of Gehenna. Gehenna is Hell, and Hell is Purgatory, for those who are sent there to be purged. For the damned, there's no purgation and they just stay there. Jesus said that too, by speaking of Gehenna over and over, and not correcting the Jewish belief in the slightest. Wherever the Jewish tradition about which Jesus was speaking was wrong, in error, departed from the will of the Father, Jesus said so. But when it DIDN'T - when Jesus just used the words and texts and asserted them to teach - then Jesus put his own imprimatur on them.

Hell and Purgatory are both Genhinnom - Gehenna - Jesus used the term as a Jew does, uncorrected. Which means that the Jews are right in their understanding of the structure of the afterlife and judgement.

Which means that yes, there IS a Purgatory, and yes, it IS in the Bible. So, the Catholics aren't WRONG, exactly. Where they err is in imagining them to be separate places, and then building up theological traditions based on that difference. There is no difference. Jesus said so, if you understand him, a Jew, as a Jew understands him.

Purgatory is interesting, because it's a doctrine that the Catholics/Orthodox actually have mostly RIGHT, based on the BIBLE ITSELF, but the Protestants miss out on completely because they don't have the Jewish understanding of the texts. Catholicism/Orthodoxy started out as Judaism, so that memory of the meaning was there, and was passed on. But it became strained as the link with Judaism was broken and there was only the text to fall back on. Christians TODAY can run over to their Jewish neighbors' synagogues and ask "So, what's this Gehenna business", and have the eye-opening experience of realizing that Jesus is referring to BOTH Hell AND Purgatory in the same single word. But medieval Christians, especially theologians, didn't talk to Jews about theology, and indeed, despised them.

So, there's the real answer.

I suspect it will satisfy nobody, because Protestants have their TRADITION of bashing Catholics about Purgatory, and Catholics have their TRADITION of the power of the keys, and teaching authority of the Church.

The real solution is that Jesus taught Purgatory, and Hell, and they're the same place: Gehenna. That's the truth. Let him who is able, hear it.


7 posted on 01/29/2007 8:48:03 AM PST by Vicomte13 (Et alors?)
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To: kawaii

doesn't ROCOR have something very similar with the concept of the toll-houses?


8 posted on 01/29/2007 8:49:23 AM PST by Nihil Obstat
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To: stfassisi
God created man that he might possess his Creator forever in the beatific vision. Those who die in the state of enmity toward God are deprived of this happiness. Between these extremes are people who are neither estranged from God nor wholly dedicated to Him when they die. What will be their lot after death?

Mumbo jumbo, mumbo jumbo.

9 posted on 01/29/2007 8:51:39 AM PST by DungeonMaster (Acts 17:11 also known as sola scriptura.)
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To: stfassisi

Hmm,

I counted a total of three (3) Scriptural references in the entire dissertation. None of which has anything to do with purgatory.

The silence of Scripture screams loudly the full message that anyone need to know.

This purgatory doctrine is drivel, created for the sole purpose to control people and frighten them from their funds.


10 posted on 01/29/2007 8:52:39 AM PST by pjr12345
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To: Vicomte13

If your postulate is true, can souls in Gehenna-Purgatory be bought (or otherwise earned) out of their suffering?

Hey God, let's make a deal!


11 posted on 01/29/2007 8:57:33 AM PST by pjr12345
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To: pjr12345

What's really sad is when they actually try to use scripture to support such nonsense. I think seeing that kind of abuse of the Word of God is even more offensive than when they ignore it completely.


12 posted on 01/29/2007 8:58:04 AM PST by DungeonMaster (Acts 17:11 also known as sola scriptura.)
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To: pjr12345

Go look up every time Jesus Christ used the word "Gehenna".
That IS Purgatory, and Hell, both. Whether it ends up being one or the other depends on whether the soul gets out or not.

And yes, I have my books now, but I am at work, so no, I cannot cite you specific chapter and verse until this evening.

Purgatory is in the Bible: Gehenna. Jesus says it a lot.

Also consult 2 Maccabbees for an instance of prayers of atonement for the souls of the dead.

But again, to give you specific chapter and verse, as on the other thread, I must have the book in front of me (which I do) and the time (which I don't, right now, but will this week). So, keep a running list as I am trying to do, and I will give you your Scripture, line by line.

For Purgatory/Hell, it's simple: find Jesus referring to Gehenna, and go look up the ancient Jewish understanding of Gehenna. Jesus didn't correct that, as he did Scripture which contained erroneous tradition (e.g.: marriage and divorce, with the divorce laws referenced in the Torah not ever having been the law of God).


13 posted on 01/29/2007 8:58:49 AM PST by Vicomte13 (Et alors?)
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To: DungeonMaster

Although you have to admit, the mega-rich have got to be attracted to the idea of purgatory. If they leave a billion dollars to the pope, they can get away with pretty much anything here on earth. It's the poor that get screwed by the doctrine. You can't buy any really good sins with $50 and an old pair of shoes.


14 posted on 01/29/2007 9:00:57 AM PST by pjr12345
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To: Vicomte13

Those folks have hacked the books of Maccabees out of their (abridged) "Bibles". That's far more offensive than when they ignore the passages which they haven't hacked out (but which refute their false doctrines).


15 posted on 01/29/2007 9:03:13 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: pjr12345; DungeonMaster
Although you have to admit, the mega-rich have got to be attracted to the idea of purgatory. If they leave a billion dollars to the pope, they can get away with pretty much anything here on earth. It's the poor that get screwed by the doctrine. You can't buy any really good sins with $50 and an old pair of shoes.

You're over four hundred years behind the times. The selling of indulgences was explicitly condemned by the Council of Trent.

16 posted on 01/29/2007 9:07:19 AM PST by Pyro7480 ("Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world." - Pope Blessed Pius IX)
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To: pjr12345

Bought?

No.

But the prayers of the living can help the living souls in Gehenna just as the prayers of the living can help the living. (See 2 Maccabbees...I will give you chapter and verse later).

God is the God of the living Abraham and Isaac. Bodies may be dead, but they're still alive nonetheless. This is Jesus in Matthew. Once again, you have to wait for the cite until I have time.

Getting myself fired right now in order to have that discussion would be a sort of earthly Gehenna to which my wife would add some scourges and maybe an asp, so I am going to go radio silent, but I have not run away and I have not forgotten you. Please keep a list.

Oh, and no, you're not going to go to Hell forever or maybe even at all for getting the doctrines wrong and fighting about it. Don't blaspheme the Holy Spirit, and you'll eventually get to heaven: Jesus said so.
And follow the mitzvot of the Torah, as modified by Jesus (kashrut is no longer required, see Mark), and don't do evil, and love God with all your heart and your soul and your mind and your strength, and you will probably be able to skip the Gehenna part completely and go straight to Gan Eden.
As for me, well, I'm afraid I was a young man once, and I still have a young man's mind, so God will have to be really, really forgiving to let me off the hook without some purgation. The Church says it's all forgiven by confession...but if you go right back to your vomit (in your mind, anyway), well, I'm not looking forward to my life review. I deserve some pretty nasty things, all told.


17 posted on 01/29/2007 9:07:58 AM PST by Vicomte13 (Et alors?)
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To: stfassisi
The Doctrine of Purgatory

Required for entrance to Purgatory? Personal question for Cathloic Freepers.

(Protestant) Minister Who Had Near-Death Episode Believes In Purgatory

Straight Answers: What Is Purgatory Like?

Do Catholics Believe in Purgatory?

Purgatory, Indulgences, and the Work of Jesus Christ (Discussion)

Prayer to Release the Souls of Purgatory

The Forgotten Souls in Purgatory

Praying for the dead [Purgatory]

18 posted on 01/29/2007 9:09:25 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Pyro7480

Some folks just don't 'get it'. Arguing against somebody else's doctrine is one thing. Some folks, though, argue against a doctrine they've made up and then imputed to other people. It's basically a 'straw man' argument, and it reflects very badly on the folks who make it.

If one can't state one's "opponent's" position clearly, completely, and correctly, in terms with which he would agree, and which he would find inoffensive, one has absolutely no business commenting on the matter.


19 posted on 01/29/2007 9:13:31 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: kawaii
Hmmm it's tough to say which has less scriptural/historical support: the idea that folks will just disappear into heaven in some sort of pre-second-coming rapture, or that folks get to 'work off' sins in some sort of inter-life-death-waiting-room.

I've finally found a post of yours I can (almost) agree with! 8~)

Certainly, of the two, the latter is far more contrary to Scripture and borders on heresy by explicitly denying that the atonement of Jesus Christ upon the cross has paid for the sins of His sheep.

The bizarre notion of purgatory always reminds me of the after-death waiting room scene in "Beetlejuice."

Purgatory is a dangerous, ungodly fiction.

20 posted on 01/29/2007 9:16:06 AM PST by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: ArrogantBustard

THESE folks didn't do that.

The Bibles they use, as the Bibles that Jews and Catholics use, all three, came down by Tradition. Each have their Traditions and cling to them.

It is true that without 2 Maccabbees, there is not in the Bible the clear and explicit reference to prayers of atonement for the souls of the departed. It is also true that this was THE SPECIFIC THING that Luther really was alarmed about in the so-called "Apocrypha". But what of it?
The Jews use an abridged Bible, as do the Protestants, Catholics do too, as compared to the Orthodox, and all do as compared to the Ethiopian Abyssinian Church.

Gehenna's in the King James.
The DEFINITION of Gehinnom isn't in the Bible at all.
2 Maccabbees makes the Jewish understanding in the Oral Tradition into text, but if one is using an abriged version of the Bible and doesn't have the benefit of access to 2 Maccabbees, there's still the bare fact that Jesus repeatedly referred to Gehenna and didn't define it or correct the Jewish tradition. Which means that the Jewish tradition on the subject was right, or else Jesus wouldn't have taught it explicitly, uncorrected.

I am going to get fired here on earth if I don't knock this off until this evening.

Don't be too mad at the Protestants, just as they shouldn't be too mad at us. We're each using the books our traditions say are holy. To talk with them, it's best to refer to the books they accept. It's ok to reference the books their forefathers excised, because that brings to the fore, again, the matter of authority.

In truth, the number of people, Catholic and Protestant, who beat each other over the head over the matter of the Apocrypha probably exceeds the number of those same people who have actually READ the entirety of the Bible by a factor of two.

People like to fight. Blessed are the peacemakers.


21 posted on 01/29/2007 9:16:18 AM PST by Vicomte13 (Et alors?)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

"Purgatory is a dangerous, ungodly fiction."

Purgatory is Gehenna.
So is Hell.
Same place. Two functions.
Ask Jesus, his audience, or any other Jew (other than a Sadduccee!) then or since.
It's Biblical.
So, if Purgatory is what you have said it is, then the Gospels (where Jesus refers to Purgatory/Hell using the Jewish term therefore) is a fiction.
I know you don't believe that.

Do not be so certain of your doctrines.
Some of them are in error.
Which won't cost you your soul, of course, but it will give you a lot of bruising of others to answer for at Judgment.
Du calme!


22 posted on 01/29/2007 9:20:36 AM PST by Vicomte13 (Et alors?)
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To: Vicomte13
See you (maybe) tonight)

It is also true that this was THE SPECIFIC THING that Luther really was alarmed about in the so-called "Apocrypha". But what of it?

What of it? It's one thing to follow Apostolic traditions as to what is or is not Scripture. It's quite another to deliberately rip pieces out of Scripture, because one finds them offensive to one's own personally invented novelties.

23 posted on 01/29/2007 9:21:57 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
Certainly, of the two, the latter is far more contrary to Scripture and borders on heresy by explicitly denying that the atonement of Jesus Christ upon the cross has paid for the sins of His sheep.

Purgatory is a dangerous, ungodly fiction.

What's "ungodly" is the "Reformist" view of the atonement of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ - that once your accept Jesus as your Saviour, your sins past, present, and future are "covered." It's as if one's conduct, whether good or wicked, doesn't matter, as long as you accept Jesus as your Saviour. This view is contrary to the Gospel itself.

24 posted on 01/29/2007 9:24:24 AM PST by Pyro7480 ("Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world." - Pope Blessed Pius IX)
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To: pjr12345

I don't think leaving what you can't take with you is going to buy you or anyone else any time out at all. What you give while you can still enjoy it or use it - remember the widow's mite.


25 posted on 01/29/2007 9:35:31 AM PST by heartwood
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To: Pyro7480; pjr12345
You're over four hundred years behind the times. The selling of indulgences was explicitly condemned by the Council of Trent.

It took a council to figure that out?

26 posted on 01/29/2007 9:45:09 AM PST by DungeonMaster (Acts 17:11 also known as sola scriptura.)
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To: Vicomte13; HarleyD; Forest Keeper; wmfights; blue-duncan; xzins; P-Marlowe; Gamecock; ...
Du calme!

Mort de rire. Jamais!

Purgatory is a dangerous, ungodly fiction that lies about Jesus Christ on the cross. There are few things worse.

What does Trent have to say?

Canons Concerning Justification: Canon 30:

If anyone says that after the reception of the grace of justification the guilt is so remitted and the debt of eternal punishment so blotted out to every repentant sinner, that no debt of temporal punishment remains to be discharged either in this world or in purgatory before the gates of heaven can be opened, let him be anathema (The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, in Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1919 ed.), pp. 214, 46).

Now let us see what Scripture has to say...

IS THERE A PURGATORY?
by Jason Engwer

"...The truth is that there is no Purgatory. Even when the apostle Paul knew he was imperfect (Philippians 3:12), he knew he would go to be with the Lord when he died (Philippians 1:21-23). We read in scripture:

"These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple" - Revelation 7:14-15

People go to Heaven because of what Christ has done for them, not because of what they've done for Christ. The ungodly person who believes in Christ while not working (Romans 4:5-6) is assured of avoiding God's wrath (Romans 5:9-10) as a free gift of God's grace (Romans 6:23). God invites anybody who thirsts to..."take the water of life without cost" - Revelation 22:17

How does one wash robes in blood and find that the robes have been made white? By washing them in the blood of the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world for His sheep.

"She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet." -- Proverbs 31:21

Mothers, tell your children not to fear; by grace through faith they have been redeemed.

27 posted on 01/29/2007 9:48:05 AM PST by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Nihil Obstat

the toll houses aren't exactly taken as literal doctrine. further there's nothing like a waiting room concept there; its an anaology regarding judgement (note:tollhouses mentiones 30 days... not un-defined period in purgatory; and the theme is answering for your sins not trying to toil to repay for them [which is impossible btw])


28 posted on 01/29/2007 9:52:15 AM PST by kawaii (Orthodox Christianity -- Proclaiming the Truth Since 33 A.D.)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

from an orthodox perspective both seem pretty heretical especially when taken strictly literally...

that said i also picture the beatleguice waiting room when pondering purgatory...


29 posted on 01/29/2007 9:53:57 AM PST by kawaii (Orthodox Christianity -- Proclaiming the Truth Since 33 A.D.)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

I remember reading a scriptural "explanation" of purgatory in the last 2 years....can't quite remember where. Scott Hahn perhaps.

I think it only works if the Apocrypha is used. Beyond that "outer darkness" is distinguished from the "lake of fire."

It's the eventual acceptance piece that is missing in the real canon.


30 posted on 01/29/2007 9:54:19 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and proud of it! Supporting our troops means praying for them to WIN!)
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To: Pyro7480
that once your accept Jesus as your Saviour, your sins past, present, and future are "covered." It's as if one's conduct, whether good or wicked, doesn't matter, as long as you accept Jesus as your Saviour.

The sins of His sheep were paid for by the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8). Justified once for all time by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. There are so many Bible verses stating this it is baffling how so many people miss it.

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:...." -- Romans 3;20,28

[we]"...are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood... He did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus." -- Romans 3:25,26

"Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin." -- Romans 3:20

"He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification." -- Romans 4:25

"Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men." -- Romans 5:18

"... through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses." -- Acts 13:38

"those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified." -- Romans 8:30

"know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified." -- Galatians 2:16

"You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace." -- Galatians 5:4

Our sanctification is temporal. We grow in faith in and through time, by the work of the Holy Spirit within us. Our good works earn us nothing; they are evidence of our salvation, not payment for it because mercy cannot be earned.

If one truly believes in Jesus Christ, they can be assured the Holy Spirit is working to keep them on the straight and narrow path. All stray, but by the grace of God, we stray less and less each day. His mercy actually makes us want to obey and be conformed to His will until the day we die and we are glorified with Him.

Pick up the Bible and read it. It's all there.

31 posted on 01/29/2007 10:00:14 AM PST by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Vicomte13
Also consult 2 Maccabbees for an instance of prayers of atonement for the souls of the dead.

And so we see the crux of the reason for the RCC's addition of the Apocrypha to their bible. If it ain't in Scripture, add more text.

As far as the concept of Gehenna and Hell being the same place. Prior to the revelation of God's plan of salvation through the sacrifice of His Son, it is not likely that anyone would have a separate concept of the two. We know from the parable of Lazarus and the rich man that, indeed, there is a temporary place for souls - and an unbridgeable chasm between the paradisical "bossom of Abraham" and torment.

Your Purgatory would allow this unbridgeable chasm become bridgeable to paradise. However we know that the only bridge is from this temporary torment, Gehenna, to Hell.

The Bible clearly teaches that man has one shot to determine where he will spend his eternal existence. Hebrews 9:7: And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment. There is no second chance, and neither we nor our relatives can buy or otherwise earn our way out of God's justice.

32 posted on 01/29/2007 10:01:58 AM PST by pjr12345
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To: Pyro7480

So I was imagining the counter at my cousin's wake where I could buy a mass to help him get out of purgatory?


33 posted on 01/29/2007 10:03:57 AM PST by pjr12345
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To: Vicomte13
Oh, and no, you're not going to go to Hell forever or maybe even at all for getting the doctrines wrong and fighting about it. Don't blaspheme the Holy Spirit, and you'll eventually get to heaven: Jesus said so.

Hitler, Mussolini, and Saddam Hussein will be pleased to learn this!

34 posted on 01/29/2007 10:05:33 AM PST by pjr12345
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

There's also the verse about those who say evil things about Jesus being forgiven versus those who blaspheme the HS never being forgiven.

It's hard to imagine that being twisted into a defense of purgatory, but it is.


35 posted on 01/29/2007 10:07:41 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and proud of it! Supporting our troops means praying for them to WIN!)
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To: Pyro7480

Amen!


36 posted on 01/29/2007 10:07:58 AM PST by pjr12345
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To: Vicomte13; HarleyD; Forest Keeper; wmfights; Dr. Eckleburg; xzins; P-Marlowe; Gamecock

"Also consult 2 Maccabbees for an instance of prayers of atonement for the souls of the dead."

Idol worshipers were to be stoned in Israel. There was to be no mercy shown to them so how does your reference to Judas praying for idol worshiping soldiers who were killed for their sin, prove you point? In fact, aren't those who die worshiping idols as far as the Roman Church is concerned, guilty of a mortal sin and beyond the mercy of God?


37 posted on 01/29/2007 10:19:27 AM PST by blue-duncan
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To: blue-duncan; Vicomte13; HarleyD; Forest Keeper; wmfights; Dr. Eckleburg; xzins; P-Marlowe; ...
In fact, aren't those who die worshiping idols as far as the Roman Church is concerned, guilty of a mortal sin and beyond the mercy of God?

Maybe they were just venerating them??

:>)

38 posted on 01/29/2007 10:21:17 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and proud of it! Supporting our troops means praying for them to WIN!)
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To: xzins
You speak of Mt. 12:31-32:

31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

Twisting? Hardly. In the plain sense of the text, according to vs. 32, the sin of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit is a sin that cannot be forgiven in this world (which I'm assuming most take no issues with), nor in the world to come. That said, if there were no sins forgivable in the world to come, this last part of Christ's statement would not be necessary. There are the sins that are forgiven here (via the sacrament of penance normatively or by perfect contrition) and those that are remitted after death (in Purgatory).

39 posted on 01/29/2007 10:30:30 AM PST by GCC Catholic
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To: Pyro7480; DungeonMaster; xzins; kawaii; P-Marlowe; blue-duncan; HarleyD; Gamecock; Forest Keeper; ..
You're over four hundred years behind the times. The selling of indulgences was explicitly condemned by the Council of Trent.

Someone should tell that to the RC faithful who still cough up a large chunk of cash to buy their dead relatives out of some phantasmic fantasyland.

Trent merely acknowledged things had gotten a tad out of hand. But throughout Trent and up to this very day, the sale of Indulgences is still alive and kicking through the RC coffers.

The Great Jubilee (2000):
Reaffirming the Spiritual Power of Indulgences
(by JPII)

"...Pope John Paul II places the gaining of a Jubilee Indulgence in the context of entering into the spiritual communion of the Body of Christ, knowing that in the spiritual realm, people do not live for themselves alone, each indulgence gained becoming a gift of grace for the whole Church.

Knowing this, obtaining an indulgence can never be a selfish act, indeed it can be made completely unselfish by offering it up for a Holy Soul in Purgatory. Since the Pope himself desires that abundant use be made of indulgences, the challenge for each one of us is to obtain as many of them as possible, particularly in the time of Jubilee left to us. It is a pity that many have fulfilled the conditions for one indulgence for themselves only to stop there..."


40 posted on 01/29/2007 10:33:09 AM PST by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Pyro7480; pjr12345; Dr. Eckleburg
It's as if one's conduct, whether good or wicked, doesn't matter, as long as you accept Jesus as your Saviour. This view is contrary to the Gospel itself.

Romans 3:8 And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.

41 posted on 01/29/2007 10:36:12 AM PST by HarleyD (Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt - Lev 19:17)
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To: blue-duncan
Do you think "venerating with heavy breathing" is worse than the old "sideways glance veneration?"


42 posted on 01/29/2007 10:39:10 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and proud of it! Supporting our troops means praying for them to WIN!)
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To: GCC Catholic; xzins

"neither in the world to come."

"There are the sins that are forgiven here (via the sacrament of penance normatively or by perfect contrition) and those that are remitted after death (in Purgatory)."

Can't be. In your world the world is now and purgatory is now, not a "world to come".


43 posted on 01/29/2007 10:39:21 AM PST by blue-duncan
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
to buy their dead relatives out of some phantasmic fantasyland Masses for the dead. I guess it relieves the guilt of the living
44 posted on 01/29/2007 10:41:19 AM PST by 1000 silverlings
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To: Dr. Eckleburg; Pyro7480
If one truly believes in Jesus Christ

Now that's a rather ambiguous phrase.

45 posted on 01/29/2007 10:42:54 AM PST by murphE (These are days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed but his own. --G.K. Chesterton)
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To: stfassisi
its final acceptance by the Protestant churches would mean a reversal of four hundred years of divergence

And pride would never let that happen.

46 posted on 01/29/2007 10:44:03 AM PST by al_c
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
Yes, indulgences can be obtained. That said, a vast majority are gained through prayers or simple acts of penance which cost absolutely nothing. The poorest of the poor can obtain indulgences. An extensive (but perhaps not exhaustive) list of these can be found here: http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/indulge/index.html.

In that list, one is conspicuously missing: The indulgence granted for the giving of alms. This was the one that was twisted into the "buying of indulgences" by Tetzel, and that was so scandalous to so many that it was finally revoked through the Authority of the Keys granted to the Pope.

You can say many things now, but you can no longer claim that you have not been informed of this. If you don't like the doctrine, I can deal with that, but please do not continue to misconstrue what Catholics believe concerning them.

47 posted on 01/29/2007 10:45:40 AM PST by GCC Catholic
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To: GCC Catholic

Can a person still buy an Indulgence?


48 posted on 01/29/2007 10:47:00 AM PST by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: blue-duncan
Can't be. In your world the world is now and purgatory is now, not a "world to come".

Why can it not be? Yes, some suffer greatly on earth, and it is commonly said that they suffer their Purgatory here, but how does that preclude it after death?

49 posted on 01/29/2007 10:47:56 AM PST by GCC Catholic
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To: Dr. Eckleburg; Vicomte13; Pyro7480; Salvation; kawaii
But throughout Trent and up to this very day, the sale of Indulgences is still alive and kicking through the RC coffers.

Your link says nothing of the "Sale" of indulgences.

Whether indulgences are or are not real, and whether or not the Catholic Church teaches a correct doctrine of indulgences, your link, in fact, supports only the idea that, whatever indulgences may be THEY ARE NOT FOR SALE.

You have seriously misrepresented the content of the article at your link. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

50 posted on 01/29/2007 10:48:00 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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