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The Early Church Fathers on Purgatory - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
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Posted on 01/30/2007 4:41:08 PM PST by NYer

The Early Church Fathers believed in purgatory and prayers for the dead.

Clement of Alexandria

The believer through discipline divests himself of his passions and passes to the mansion which is better than the former one, passes to the greatest torment, taking with him the characteristic of repentance for the faults he may have committed after baptism. He is tortured then still more, not yet attaining what he sees others have acquired. The greatest torments are assigned to the believer, for God's righteousness is good, and His goodness righteous, and though these punishments cease in the course of the expiation and purification of each one, "yet" etc. (Patres Groeci. IX, col. 332 [A.D. 150-215]).

Origen

If a man departs this life with lighter faults, he is condemned to fire which burns away the lighter materials, and prepares the soul for the kingdom of God, where nothing defiled may enter. For if on the foundation of Christ you have built not only gold and silver and precious stones (I Cor., 3); but also wood and hay and stubble, what do you expect when the soul shall be separated from the body? Would you enter into heaven with your wood and hay and stubble and thus defile the kingdom of God; or on account of these hindrances would you remain without and receive no reward for your gold and silver and precious stones? Neither is this just. It remains then that you be committed to the fire which will burn the light materials; for our God to those who can comprehend heavenly things is called a cleansing fire. But this fire consumes not the creature, but what the creature has himself built, wood, and hay and stubble. It is manifest that the fire destroys the wood of our transgressions and then returns to us the reward of our great works. (Patres Groeci. XIII, col. 445, 448 [A.D. 185-232]).

Abercius

The citizen of a prominent city, I erected this while I lived, that I might have a resting place for my body. Abercius is my name, a disciple of the chaste shepherd who feeds his sheep on the mountains and in the fields, who has great eyes surveying everywhere, who taught me the faithful writings of life. Standing by, I, Abercius, ordered this to be inscribed; truly I was in my seventy-second year. May everyone who is in accord with this and who understands it pray for Abercius (Epitaph of Abercius [A.D. 190]).

Tertullian

That allegory of the Lord [Matt. 5:25-26] . . . is extremely clear and simple in its meaning . . . [beware lest as] a transgressor of your agreement, before God the judge . . . and lest this judge deliver you over to the angel who is to execute the sentence, and he commit you to the prison of hell, out of which there will be no dismissal until the smallest even of your delinquencies be paid off in the period before the resurrection. What can be a more fitting sense than this? What a truer interpretation? (The Soul 35 [A.D. 210]).

The faithful widow prays for the soul of her husband, and begs for him in the interim repose, and participation in the first resurrection, and offers prayers on the anniversary of his death (Monogamy 10 [A.D. 213]).

Cyprian

It is one thing to stand for pardon, another thing to attain to glory; it is one thing, when cast into prison, not to go out thence until one has paid the uttermost farthing; another thing at once to receive the wages of faith and courage. It is one thing, tortured by long suffering for sins, to be cleansed and long purged by fire; another to have purged all sins by suffering. It is one thing, in fine, to be in suspense till the sentence of God at the Day of Judgment; another to be at once crowned by the Lord (Letters 51[55]:20 [A.D. 253]).

Cyril of Jerusalem

Then we make mention also of those who have already fallen asleep: first, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, that through their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition, next, we make mention also of the holy fathers and bishops who have already fallen asleep, and, to put it simply, of all among us who have already fallen asleep. For we believe that it will be of very great benefit to the souls of those for whom the petition is carried up, while this holy and most solemn sacrifice is laid out (Catechetical Lectures 23:5:9 [A.D. 350]).

John Chrysostom

Let us help and commemorate them. If Job's sons were purified by their father's sacrifice [Job l:5), why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them (Homilies on First Corinthians 41:5 [A.D. 392]).

Not in vain was it decreed by the apostles that in the awesome mysteries remembrance should be made of the departed. They knew that here there was much gain for them, much benefit. When the entire people stands with hands uplifted, a priestly assembly, and that awesome sacrificial victim is laid out, how, when we are calling upon God, should we not succeed in their defense? But this is done for those who have departed in the faith, while even the catechumens are not reckoned as worthy of this consolation, but are deprived of every means of assistance except one. And what is that? We may give alms to the poor on their behalf (Homilies on Philippians 3:9-10 [A.D. 402]).

Ambrose of Milan

Give perfect rest to thy servant Theodosius, that rest which thou hast prepared for thy saints… I have loved him, and therefore will I follow him into the land of the living; nor will I leave him until by tears and prayers I shall lead him wither his merits summon him, unto the holy mountain of the Lord (Funeral Sermon of Theodosius 36-37 [A.D. 395]).

Augustine

There is an ecclesiastical discipline, as the faithful know, when the names of the martyrs are read aloud in that place at the altar of God, where prayer is not offered for them. Prayer, however, is offered for other dead who are remembered. It is wrong to pray for a martyr, to whose prayers we ought ourselves be commended (Sermons 159:1 [A.D. 411]).

Temporal punishments are suffered by some in this life only, by some after death, by some both here and hereafter, but all of them before that last and strictest judgment. But not all who suffer temporal punishments after death will come to eternal punishments, which are to follow after that judgment (The City of God 21:13 [A.D. 419]).

That there should be some fire even after this life is not incredible, and it can be inquired into and either be discovered or left hidden whether some of the faithful may be saved, some more slowly and some more quickly in the greater or lesser degree in which they loved the good things that perish, through a certain purgatorial fire (Handbook on Faith, Hope, and Charity l8:69 [A.D. 421]).


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Orthodox Christian; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholiccaucus; prayersfordead; purgatory
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1 posted on 01/30/2007 4:41:11 PM PST by NYer
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To: Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...

In keeping with guidelines posted by the Religion Moderator, we are posting this thread (and future ones) a series on the Early Church Fathers, as a Catholic/Orthodox Caucus. Protestants are welcome to post comments but restraint from attacks, would be appreciated. This thread is posted to inform, support and defend the historic orgins of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

2 posted on 01/30/2007 4:43:45 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...

In keeping with guidelines posted by the Religion Moderator, we are posting this thread (and future ones) a series on the Early Church Fathers, as a Catholic/Orthodox Caucus. Protestants are welcome to post comments but restraint from attacks, would be appreciated. This thread is posted to inform, support and defend the historic orgins of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

3 posted on 01/30/2007 4:44:32 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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Comment #4 Removed by Moderator

To: All
Scriptural Basis

Matt. 5:26,18:34; Luke 12:58-59 – Jesus teaches us, “Come to terms with your opponent or you will be handed over to the judge and thrown into prison. You will not get out until you have paid the last penny.” The word “opponent” (antidiko) is likely a reference to the devil (see the same word for devil in 1 Pet. 5:8) who is an accuser against man (c.f. Job 1.6-12; Zech. 3.1; Rev. 12.10), and God is the judge. If we have not adequately dealt with satan and sin in this life, we will be held in a temporary state called a prison, and we won’t get out until we have satisfied our entire debt to God. This “prison” is purgatory where we will not get out until the last penny is paid.

Matt. 5:48 - Jesus says, "be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect." We are only made perfect through purification, and in Catholic teaching, this purification, if not completed on earth, is continued in a transitional state we call purgatory.

Matt. 12:32 – Jesus says, “And anyone who says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but no one who speaks against the Holy Spirit will be forgiven either in this world or in the next.” Jesus thus clearly provides that there is forgiveness after death. The phrase “in the next” (from the Greek “en to mellonti”) generally refers to the afterlife (see, for example, Mark 10.30; Luke 18.30; 20.34-35; Eph. 1.21 for similar language). Forgiveness is not necessary in heaven, and there is no forgiveness in hell. This proves that there is another state after death, and the Church for 2,000 years has called this state purgatory.

Luke 12:47-48 - when the Master comes (at the end of time), some will receive light or heavy beatings but will live. This state is not heaven or hell, because in heaven there are no beatings, and in hell we will no longer live with the Master.

Luke 16:19-31 - in this story, we see that the dead rich man is suffering but still feels compassion for his brothers and wants to warn them of his place of suffering. But there is no suffering in heaven or compassion in hell because compassion is a grace from God and those in hell are deprived from God's graces for all eternity. So where is the rich man? He is in purgatory.

1 Cor. 15:29-30 - Paul mentions people being baptized on behalf of the dead, in the context of atoning for their sins (people are baptized on the dead’s behalf so the dead can be raised). These people cannot be in heaven because they are still with sin, but they also cannot be in hell because their sins can no longer be atoned for. They are in purgatory. These verses directly correspond to 2 Macc. 12:44-45 which also shows specific prayers for the dead, so that they may be forgiven of their sin.

Phil. 2:10 - every knee bends to Jesus, in heaven, on earth, and "under the earth" which is the realm of the righteous dead, or purgatory.

2 Tim. 1:16-18 - Onesiphorus is dead but Paul asks for mercy on him “on that day.” Paul’s use of “that day” demonstrates its eschatological usage (see, for example, Rom. 2.5,16; 1 Cor. 1.8; 3.13; 5.5; 2 Cor. 1.14; Phil. 1.6,10; 2.16; 1 Thess. 5.2,4,5,8; 2 Thess. 2.2,3; 2 Tim. 4.8). Of course, there is no need for mercy in heaven, and there is no mercy given in hell. Where is Onesiphorus? He is in purgatory.

Heb. 12:14 - without holiness no one will see the Lord. We need final sanctification to attain true holiness before God, and this process occurs during our lives and, if not completed during our lives, in the transitional state of purgatory.

Heb. 12:29 - God is a consuming fire (of love in heaven, of purgation in purgatory, or of suffering and damnation in hell).

1 Cor. 3:10-15 - works are judged after death and tested by fire. Some works are lost, but the person is still saved. Paul is referring to the state of purgation called purgatory. The venial sins (bad works) that were committed are burned up after death, but the person is still brought to salvation. This state after death cannot be heaven (no one with venial sins is present) or hell (there is no forgiveness and salvation).

1 Cor. 3:15 – “if any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” The phrase for "suffer loss" in the Greek is "zemiothesetai." The root word is "zemioo" which also refers to punishment. The construction “zemiothesetai” is used in Ex. 21:22 and Prov. 19:19 which refers to punishment (from the Hebrew “anash” meaning “punish” or “penalty”). Hence, this verse proves that there is an expiation of temporal punishment after our death, but the person is still saved. This cannot mean heaven (there is no punishment in heaven) and this cannot mean hell (the possibility of expiation no longer exists and the person is not saved).

1 Cor. 3:15 – further, Paul writes “he himself will be saved, "but only" (or “yet so”) as through fire.” “He will be saved” in the Greek is “sothesetai” (which means eternal salvation). The phrase "but only" (or “yet so”) in the Greek is "houtos" which means "in the same manner." This means that man is both eternally rewarded and eternally saved in the same manner by fire.

1 Cor. 3:13 - when Paul writes about God revealing the quality of each man's work by fire and purifying him, this purification relates to his sins (not just his good works). Protestants, in attempting to disprove the reality of purgatory, argue that Paul was only writing about rewarding good works, and not punishing sins (because punishing and purifying a man from sins would be admitting that there is a purgatory).

1 Cor. 3:17 - but this verse proves that the purgation after death deals with punishing sin. That is, destroying God's temple is a bad work, which is a mortal sin, which leads to death. 1 Cor. 3:14,15,17 - purgatory thus reveals the state of righteousness (v.14), state of venial sin (v.15) and the state of mortal sin (v.17), all of which are judged after death.

1 Peter 1:6-7 - Peter refers to this purgatorial fire to test the fruits of our faith.

5 posted on 01/30/2007 4:49:13 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: ConservativeMind; Religion Moderator; NYer

You doubtless didn't notice that this is a closed thread and thus felt free to post an insulting response. Although Proetstants are invited to participate, you were specifically asked to refrain from attacks. Your post is an attack.


6 posted on 01/30/2007 4:50:10 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: NYer
The Early Church Fathers

The Early Church Fathers on The Church (Catholic Caucus)

Early Church Fathers on (Oral) Tradition - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus

The Early Church Fathers on Apostolic Succession - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus

The Early Church Fathers on Purgatory - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus

7 posted on 01/30/2007 4:53:02 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Kolokotronis; Religion Moderator

When I replied, there was no such posting.

Also, I haven't attacked anyone or any church.


8 posted on 01/30/2007 4:53:56 PM PST by ConservativeMind
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To: NYer

Awesome timing! My lesson plan for RCIA tomorrow night is The Last Four Things. These will be a great addition. (I'm also throwing in a little bit on "The Rapture Trap.")


9 posted on 01/30/2007 4:54:34 PM PST by Juana la Loca
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To: NYer

a piece from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

B. Arguments from Tradition

The traditional evidence in favour of prayers for the dead, which has been preserved

* in monumental inscriptions (especially those of the catacombs),
* in the ancient liturgies, and
* in Christian literature generally, is so abundant that we cannot do more in this article than touch very briefly on a few of the more important testimonies.

1. Monumental inscriptions The inscriptions in the Roman Catacombs range in date from the first century (the earliest dated is from A.D. 71) to the early part of the fifth; and though the majority are undated, archaeologists have been able to fix approximately the dates of a great many by comparison with those that are dated. The greater number of the several thousand extant belong to the ante-Nicene period -- the first three centuries and the early part of the fourth. Christian sepulchral inscriptions from other parts of the Church are few in number compared with those in the catacombs, but the witness of such as have come down to us agrees with that of the catacombs. Many inscriptions are exceedingly brief and simple (PAX, IN PACE, etc.), and might be taken for statements rather than prayers, were it not that in other cases they are so frequently and so naturally amplified into prayers (PAX TIBI, etc.). There are prayers, called acclamatory, which are considered to be the most ancient, and in which there is the simple expression of a wish for some benefit to the deceased, without any formal address to God. The benefits most frequently prayed for are: peace, the good (i.e. eternal salvation), light, refreshment, life, eternal life, union with God, with Christ, and with the angels and saints -- e.g. PAX (TIBI, VOBIS, SPIRITUI TUO, IN AETERNUM, TIBI CUM ANGELIS, CUM SANCTIS); SPIRITUS TUUS IN BONO (SIT, VIVAT, QUIESCAT); AETERNA LUX TIBI; IN REFREGERIO ESTO; SPIRITUM IN REFRIGERIUM SUSCIPIAT DOMINUS; DEUS TIBI REFRIGERET; VIVAS, VIVATIS (IN DEO, IN [Chi-Rho] IN SPIRITO SANCTO, IN PACE, IN AETERNO, INTER SANCTOS, CUM MARTYRIBUS). For detailed references see Kirsch, "Die Acclamationen", pp. 9-29; Cabrol and Leclercq, "Monumenta Liturgica" (Paris, 1902), I, pp. ci-cvi, cxxxix, etc. Again there are prayers of a formal character, in which survivors address their petitions directly to God the Father, or to Christ, or even to the angels, or to the saints and martyrs collectively, or to some one of them in particular. The benefits prayed for are those already mentioned, with the addition sometimes of liberation from sin. Some of these prayers read like excepts from the liturgy: e.g. SET PATER OMNIPOTENS, ORO, MISERERE LABORUM TANTORUM, MISERE(re) ANIMAE NON DIG(na) FERENTIS (De Rossi, Inscript. Christ., II a, p. ix). Sometimes the writers of the epitaphs request visitors to pray for the deceased: e.g. QUI LEGIS, ORA PRO EO (Corpus Inscript. Lat., X, n. 3312), and sometimes again the dead themselves ask for prayers, as in the well-known Greek epitaph of Abercius (see ABERCIUS, INSCRIPTION OF), in tow similar Roman epitaphs dating form the middle of the second century (De Rossi, op. cit., II, a, p. xxx, Kirsch, op. cit., p. 51), and in many later inscriptions. That pious people often visited the tombs to pray for the dead, and sometimes even inscribed a prayer on the monument, is also clear form a variety of indications (see examples in De Rossi, "Roma Sotteranea", II, p. 15). In a word, so overwhelming is the witness of the early Christian monuments in favour of prayer for the dead that no historian any longer denies that the practice and the belief which the practice implies were universal in the primitive Church. There was no break of continuity in this respect between Judaism and Christianity.

2. Ancient liturgies

The testimony of the early liturgies is in harmony with that of the monuments. Without touching the subject of the various liturgies we possess, without even enumerating and citing them singly, it is enough to say here that all without exception -- Nestorian and Monophysite as well as Catholic, those in Syriac, Armenian, and Coptic as well as those in Greek and Latin -- contain the commemoration of the faithful departed in the Mass, with a prayer for peace, light, refreshment and the like, and in many cases expressly for the remission of sins and the effacement of sinful stains. The following, from the Syriac Liturgy of S.t James, may be quoted as a typical example: "we commemorate all the faithful dead who have died in the true faith...We ask, we entreat, we pray Christ our God, who took their souls and spirits to Himself, that by His many compassions He will make them worthy of the pardon of their faults and the remission of their sins" (Syr. Lit. S. Jacobi, ed. Hammond, p. 75).

3. Early Christian literature

Turning finally to early literary sources, we find evidence in the apocryphal "Acta Joannis", composed about A.D. 160-170, that at that time anniversaries of the dead were commemorated by the application of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (Lipsius and Bonnet, "Acta Apost. Apocr.", I, 186). The same fact is witnessed by the "Canons of Hippolytus" (Ed. Achelis, p. 106), by Tertullian (De Cor. Mil., iii, P. L., II, 79), and by many later writers. Tertullian also testifies to the regularity of the practice of praying privately for the dead (De Monogam., x, P.L., II, 942); and of the host of later authorities that may be cited, both for public and private prayers, we must be content to refer to but a few. St. Cyprian writes to Cornelius that their mutual prayers and good offices ought to be continued after either should be called away by death (Ep. lvii, P. L., III, 830 sq.), and he tells us that before his time (d. 258) the African bishops had forbidden testators to nominate a priest as executor and guardian in their wills, and had decreed, as the penalty for violating this law, deprivation after death of the Holy Sacrifice and the other offices of the Church, which were regularly celebrated for the repose of each of the faithful; hence, in the case of one Victor who had broken the law, "no offering might be made for his repose, or any prayer offered in the Church in his name" (Ep. lxvi, P. L. , IV, 399). Arnobius speaks of the Christian churches as "conventicles in which...peace and pardon is asked for all men...for those still living and for those already freed from the bondage of the body" (Adv. Gent., IV, xxxvi, P. L., V, 1076). In his funeral oration for his brother Satyrus St. Ambrose beseeches God to accept propitiously his "brotherly service of priestly sacrifice" (fraternum munus, sacrificium sacerdotis) for the deceased ("De Excessu Satyri fr.", I, 80, P. L., XVI, 1315); and, addressing Valentinian and Theodosius, he assures them of happiness if his prayers shall be of any avail; he will let no day or night go past without remembering them in his prayers and at the altar ("De Obitu Valent.", 78, ibid., 1381). As a further testimony from the Western Church we may quote one of the many passages in which St. Augustine speaks of prayers for the dead: "The universal Church observes this law, handed down from the Fathers, that prayers should be offered for those who have died in the communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, when they are commemorated in their proper place at the Sacrifice" (Serm. clxxii, 2, P.L., XXXVIII, 936). As evidence of the faith of the Eastern Church we may refer to what Eusebius tells us, that at the tomb of Constantine "a vast crowd of people together with the priests of God offered their prayers to God for the Emperor's soul with tears and great lamentation" (Vita Const., IV, lxxi, P. G., XX, 1226). Acrius, a priest of Pontus, who flourished in the third quarter of the fourth century, was branded as a heretic for denying the legitimacy and efficacy of prayers for the dead. St. Epiphanius, who records and refutes his views, represent the custom of praying for the dead as a duty imposed by tradition (Adv. Haer., III, lxxx, P. G., XLII, 504 sq.), and St. Chrysotom does not hesitate to speak of it as a "law laid down by the Apostles" (Hom., iii, in Philipp., i, 4, P.G., LXII, 203).

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04653a.htm


10 posted on 01/30/2007 4:56:53 PM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: ConservativeMind
Conspicuously absent from all of the above are Scriptural references that support such a belief.

You posted your comment before I had an opportunity to post the Scriptural support. You will find these at comment #5.

11 posted on 01/30/2007 5:06:21 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: NYer; kosta50; kawaii; annalex

"The Early Church Fathers believed in purgatory and prayers for the dead."

The consensus patrum is clear in endorsing prayers for the dead. The concept of "purgatory", as such is commonly held, is distinctly Latin and outside the consensus patrum. The idea that any suffering after death as being expiatory is definately not Orthodox, though the theological idea that there is a sort of purification within God's loving mercy is a theory which has been advanced. So far as I know, the only particular church aside from Rome which holds to the Roman idea is the Maronite Church (and maybe the Ruthenians?) and neither Orthodoxy nor the Eastern Churches in communion with Rome accept the Roman formulation of purgatory.


12 posted on 01/30/2007 5:06:30 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Salvation

Thank you for posting the related threads. Most beneficial to anyone who missed one or two ... or three ;-)


13 posted on 01/30/2007 5:07:53 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: ConservativeMind; Religion Moderator

"When I replied, there was no such posting."

Then in light of the title of the thread, you shouldn't have commented at all.


14 posted on 01/30/2007 5:08:37 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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Comment #15 Removed by Moderator

To: NYer
The Historical Doctrine of Purgatory
 

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 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. 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. 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.

It was not until the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century that anyone denied the doctrine of the final purification. 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) A purification after death exists. (2) It involves some kind of pain. (3) The purification can be assisted by the prayers and offerings by the living to God.

The Acts of Paul and Thecla

And after the exhibition, Tryphaena again received her [Thecla]. For her daughter Falconilla had died, and said to her in a dream: “Mother, you shall have this stranger Thecla in my place, in order that she may pray concerning me, and that I may be transferred to the place of the righteous” (Acts of Paul and Thecla [A.D. 160]).



The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity

That very night, this was shown to me in a vision: I [Perpetua] saw Dinocrates going out from a gloomy place, where also there were several others, and he was parched and very thirsty, with a filthy countenance and pallid color, and the wound on his face which he had when he died. This Dinocrates had been my brother after the flesh, seven years of age, who died miserably with disease. . . . For him I had made my prayer, and between him and me there was a large interval, so that neither of us could approach to the other . . . I made my prayer for my brother day and night, groaning and weeping that he might be granted to me. Then, on the day on which we remained in fetters, this was shown to me: I saw that the place which I had formerly observed to be in gloom was now bright; and Dinocrates, with a clean body well clad, was finding refreshment. . . . [And] he went away from the water to play joyously, after the manner of children, and I awoke. Then I understood that he was translated from the place of punishment (The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity 2:3–4 [A.D. 202]).



Tertullian

That allegory of the Lord [Matt. 5:25–26] . . . is extremely clear and simple in its meaning . . . [beware lest as] a transgressor of your agreement, before God the judge . . . and lest this judge deliver you over to the angel who is to execute the sentence, and he commit you to the prison of hell, out of which there will be no dismissal until the smallest even of your delinquencies be paid off in the period before the resurrection. What can be a more fitting sense than this? What a truer interpretation?" (The Soul 35 [A.D. 210]).



Cyprian

It is one thing to stand for pardon, another thing to attain to glory; it is one thing, when cast into prison, not to go out thence until one has paid the uttermost farthing; another thing at once to receive the wages of faith and courage. It is one thing, tortured by long suffering for sins, to be cleansed and long purged by fire; another to have purged all sins by suffering. It is one thing, in fine, to be in suspense till the sentence of God at the day of judgment; another to be at once crowned by the Lord (Letters 51[55]:20 [A.D. 253]).



Lactantius

But also, when God will judge the just, it is likewise in fire that he will try them. At that time, they whose sins are uppermost, either because of their gravity or their number, will be drawn together by the fire and will be burned. Those, however, who have been imbued with full justice and maturity of virtue, will not feel that fire; for they have something of God in them which will repel and turn back the strength of the flame (Divine Institutes 7:21:6 [A.D. 307]).



Cyril

Then we make mention also of those who have already fallen asleep: first, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, that through their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition; next, we make mention also of the holy fathers and bishops who have already fallen asleep, and, to put it simply, of all among us who have already fallen asleep. For we believe that it will be of very great benefit to the souls of those for whom the petition is carried up, while this holyand most solemn sacrifice is laid out" (Catechetical Lectures 23:5:9 [A.D. 350]).



Gregory of Nyssa

If a man distinguish in himself what is peculiarly human from that which is irrational, and if he be on the watch for a life of greater urbanity for himself, in this present life he will purify himself of any evil contracted, overcoming the irrational by reason. If he has inclined to the irrational pressure of the passions, using for the passions the cooperating hide of things irrational, he may afterward in a quite different manner be very much interested in what is better, when, after his departure out of the body, he gains knowledge of the difference between virtue and vice and finds that he is not able to partake of divinity until he has been purged of the filthy contagion in his soul by the purifying fire (Sermon on the Dead [A.D. 382]).



John Chrysostom

Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice [Job 1:5], why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them (Homilies on First Corinthians 41:5 [A.D. 392]).

Not in vain was it decreed by the apostles that in the awesome mysteries remembrance should be made of the departed. They knew that here there was much gain for them, much benefit. When the entire people stands with hands uplifted, a priestly assembly, and that awesome sacrificial victim is laid out, how, when we are calling upon God, should we not succeed in their defense? But this is done for those who have departed in the faith, while even the catechumens are not reckoned as worthy of this consolation, but are deprived of every means of assistance except one. And what is that? We may give alms to the poor on their behalf (Homilies on Philippians 3:9–10 [A.D. 402]).



Augustine

There is an ecclesiastical discipline, as the faithful know, when the names of the martyrs are read aloud in that place at the altar of God, where prayer is not offered for them. Prayer, however, is offered for other dead who are remembered. It is wrong to pray for a martyr, to whose prayers we ought ourselves be commended (Sermons 159:1 [A.D. 411]).

But by the prayers of the holy Church, and by the salvific sacrifice, and by the alms which are given for their spirits, there is no doubt that the dead are aided, that the Lord might deal more mercifully with them than their sins would deserve. The whole Church observes this practice which was handed down by the Fathers: that it prays for those who have died in the communion of the body and blood of Christ, when they are commemorated in their own place in the sacrifice itself; and the sacrifice is offered also in memory of them, on their behalf. If, then, works of mercy are celebrated for the sake of those who are being remembered, who would hesitate to recommend them, on whose behalf prayers to God are not offered in vain? It is not at all to be doubted that such prayers are of profit to the dead (ibid., 172:2).

Temporal punishments are suffered by some in this life only, by some after death, by some both here and hereafter, but all of them before that last and strictest judgment. But not all who suffer temporal punishments after death will come to eternal punishments, which are to follow after that judgment (The City of God 21:13 [A.D. 419]).

That there should be some fire even after this life is not incredible, and it can be inquired into and either be discovered or left hidden whether some of the faithful may be saved, some more slowly and some more quickly in the greater or lesser degree in which they loved the good things that perish, through a certain purgatorial fire (Handbook on Faith, Hope, and Charity 18:69 [A.D. 421]).


16 posted on 01/30/2007 5:13:04 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: NYer
#4 was blatantly silly, but as a Protestant, I do have an honest question.

What about prayers to the dead, in hope that they could better present the case before our Lord?

This is not intended to be an attack, I just never understood it.

Thanks.

17 posted on 01/30/2007 5:16:05 PM PST by Enosh
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To: NYer
some other threads about Purgatory:

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 01/30/2007 5:16:23 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Kolokotronis
Then in light of the title of the thread, you shouldn't have commented at all.

Agreed, but it is quite clear he has no intention of following the forum rules on these matters.

19 posted on 01/30/2007 5:18:24 PM PST by FormerLib (Sacrificing our land and our blood cannot buy protection from jihad.-Bishop Artemije of Kosovo)
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To: ConservativeMind; Kolokotronis; Juana la Loca
1 Cor. 15:29-30 - Paul mentions people being baptized on behalf of the dead, in the context of atoning for their sins (people are baptized on the dead’s behalf so the dead can be raised). These people cannot be in heaven because they are still with sin, but they also cannot be in hell because their sins can no longer be atoned for. They are in purgatory. These verses directly correspond to 2 Macc. 12:44-45 which also shows specific prayers for the dead, so that they may be forgiven of their sin.

Though posted as a 'caucus' thread, your insights are always welcome; but not the attacks. The Early Church Fathers were the first christians. We can all learn much from them - regardless of which church we attend. These are the voices of your ancestors in the faith, speaking to you today. Ask our Lord to open your mind and heart to what they have to say.


2 Maccabees
Chapter 12
44
for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death.
45
But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought.
46
Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.

FULL TEXT


20 posted on 01/30/2007 5:22:15 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: Juana la Loca
Awesome timing! My lesson plan for RCIA tomorrow night is The Last Four Things

Welcome Home!

Will you be received into the Church this year?

21 posted on 01/30/2007 5:24:29 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: NYer

Most telling on all of this is directly in Scripture itself, in the Gospels.

Jesus uses a particular word, a word which has been rendered "Gehenna". Gehenna (Hebrew "Gehinnom") has, and had, a very specific meaning to Jews.

It's important to realize what Jews mean by Gehenna, because Jesus was a Jew, talking to Jews, so everybody in the conversation knew what the words and concepts were. At another point in the Gospels, Jesus refers to "korban" (goods ceded to the Temple with a life estate in the original owner). He doesn't define korban, just uses it, because every single listener knew what he meant: korban, like Gehenna, has a specific meaning.

Gehenna is Jewish Hell, but Jewish Hell is not Christian Hell. Jewish Hell is a place where souls that have done wicked things go to be purified. Some are purified of their sins there (tradition says they spend 12 months there) and are then sent to Gan Eden: Jewish paradise. The most wicked never leave Gehinnom. Only those who have spent a lifetime doing good, with few bad deeds (and not very bad ones) go straight to Gan Eden. Thus is the Jewish concept of the afterlife and Gehenna. Historically, there certainly were OTHER Jewish concepts of the afterlife. Sheol, for instance, was a Sumerian concept of the land of the shades. Sadduccees, for their part, denied there was an afterlife at all. By Jesus' day (and earlier, as reflected in the prayers of atonement for the dead in 2 Maccabbees), the predominant Jewish belief (held by Pharisees and Essenes, and still held by most Jews today) was in Gan Eden and Gehenna.

What is important to realize is that Jewish Gehenna is both Hell AND Purgatory. Purgatory is IN Hell. That's what Jews think. And thought. And their word for this place was Gehenna. Gehenna, or Gehinnom in Hebrew (Gehenna is actually Yiddish) is also a nasty valley near Jerusalem where bad rites were historically performed, so the name for the Jewish concept of Hell was probably pulled from that valley name, or vice versa.

Jesus didn't say "Hell", "Hades", "Tartarus", "Purgatory" or "Sheol" when he was referring to the place that those who do wicked things go. He referred to Gehenna.

Now, whenever Jesus called up a Jewish concept that he wanted to CHANG, such as the Levitical and Deuteronomic law of divorce in the Torah, he was always explicit..."Scripture says..., but I say..." or "Your tradition says..., but I say...". But Jesus didn't do that when he used the term Gehenna. He just said Gehenna, and incorporated it into his sentences and warnings. He used Gehenna in its normal sense, and indeed in the only sense that any Jew listening to it then or now ever COULD understand it.

Which means that if you just read the Gospels and read what Jesus is saying, and understand it as a Jew does, Jesus is talking about Hell AND Purgatory. In Judaism they are the same place: Gehenna. Gehenna is Hell. Hell acts as purgatory to those who have their sins purified there. The truly wicked remain "where the fire is never quenched and the worm never ceases".

Once one realizes what Jesus said with clear understanding of the Jewish word he used and Jewish beliefs of the Jewish audience he was addressing, the argument about Hell versus Purgatory sort of falls away. Jesus answered it. Both. Gehenna.

On another thread there are lots of folks screaming about this. I hope that by posting it here, in a caucus thread, we can avoid that.

And I hope that some of you found this discussion interesting and illuminating.


22 posted on 01/30/2007 5:24:53 PM PST by Vicomte13 (L'Chaim!)
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To: Enosh; NYer

"What about prayers to the dead, in hope that they could better present the case before our Lord?"

This question, formulated in this fashion, seems to have come up quite a bit lately around here. The prayers you refer to are to the Theotokos or to various saints which The Church has recognized as such. They are intercessory in the sense that we ask that they intercede for us before Christ. To us, they are not at all "dead" but in fact more alive, alive in Christ, than we are. In many ways, our prayers to them are in the same vein as asking a friend to pray for you. For most of us, our connection to particular saints, and for all of us to the Most Holy Theotokos, is deep and abiding.


23 posted on 01/30/2007 5:30:42 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Knitting A Conundrum

Funny, I put some of this stuff in one of my blogs today:

from the account of St. Perpetua, written about 202:

"A few days later, while we were all praying, I happened to name Dinocrates - at which I was astonished, because I had not had him in my thoughts. And I knew that same moment that I ought to pray for him, and this I began to do with much fervor and lamentation before God. The same night this was shown me. I saw Dinocrates coming out of a dark place where there were many others, hot and thirsty; his face was pale with the wound which he had on it when he died. Dinocrates had been my brother according to the flesh, and had died pitiably at the age of seven years of a horrible gangrene in the face. It was for him that I had prayed and there was a great gulf between us, so that neither of us could approach the other. Near him stood a font full of water, the rim of which was above the head of the child, and Dinocrates stood on tiptoe to drink. I was grieved that though the font had water he could not drink because of the height of the rim, and I awoke realizing that my brother was in travail. But I trusted that I could relieve his trouble and I prayed for him every day until we were removed to the garrison prison - for we were to fight with the wild beasts at the garrison games on Geta Caesar's festival. And I prayed for him night and day with lamentation and tears that he might be given me. The day we were in the stocks, this was shown me. I saw the place I had seen before, but now luminous, and Dinocrates clean, well-clad and refreshed; and where there had been a wound, there was now only a scar; and the font I have perceived before had its rim lowered to the child's waist; and there poured water from it constantly and on the rim was a golden bowl full of water. And Dinocrates came forward and began to drink from it, and the bowl failed not. And when he had drunk enough he came away - pleased to play, as children will. And so I awoke and I knew he suffered no longer."


"We have loved him during life, let us not abandon him, until we have conducted him by our prayers into the house of the Lord." Saint Ambrose said.

http://escproductions.bizland.com/mercy/2007/01/prayers-for-dead.html


24 posted on 01/30/2007 5:32:16 PM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: NYer
"1st Maccabees" and "2nd Maccabees" were written over 100 years before Christ. They do not describe any Christian practice and they don't appear to support prior Jewish practices. Did Moses do this? Did scapegoats and other sacrifices clean the slate for the dead? Or was it for the living?
25 posted on 01/30/2007 5:32:25 PM PST by ConservativeMind
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To: Knitting A Conundrum; ConservativeMind; Kolokotronis
Thanks for the additions to this thread!

The greater number of the several thousand extant belong to the ante-Nicene period -- the first three centuries and the early part of the fourth.

The period of great martyrdom. These people gave their lives for what they heard (orally preached). They had no Bibles to read, yet accepted and believe the words of those who spoke, assuring them that the Messiah had been born, died and resurrected in the Holy Land. They not only accepted these oral teachings but sacrificed their lives (in burtal fashion) in defense of their new christian faith.

How many "christians" would be willing to do that today, without the aid of written scripture?! How many still doubt what they read, much less what they hear?! These first century martyrs are saints indeed.

26 posted on 01/30/2007 5:33:14 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: Kolokotronis
The idea that any suffering after death as being expiatory is definately not Orthodox,

Thank you, K, for expressing the view of the Orthodox Church. Now that you can read the writings of he Early Church Fathers and the supporting Scriptural passages, what is your position? And I repeat to you the same admonition made to ConservativeMind - ask our Lord to open your mind and heart to His words.

27 posted on 01/30/2007 5:37:58 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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Comment #28 Removed by Moderator

Comment #29 Removed by Moderator

Please check the guidelines on what a Caucus-type thread is.


30 posted on 01/30/2007 5:42:11 PM PST by Mad Dawg ("It's our humility which makes us great." -- Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers)
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To: Kolokotronis; NYer
To us, they are not at all "dead" but in fact more alive, alive in Christ, than we are.

Okay, thank you. That is a beautiful concept.

Per forum rules, I will refrain from commenting on it further and take my leave.

But allow me first to also thank NYer. This series has been most educational and entertaining.

31 posted on 01/30/2007 5:42:13 PM PST by Enosh
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To: Enosh

I have been most interested in the role that the perspective of "dead" has in the increasing horizontalism in the the world. That is, the loss of perspective of God and our future with Him. The idea that the dead are "dead" as in terminated seems to have become pervasive and feeds the relativism that afflicts us. Because we don't have an eternal future, things don't matter, particularly morality.

However, if you believe we have an eternal future. Then there really is no praying to the dead. Although praying to someone in Hell wouldn't help much here, would it? Therefore it only makes sense to pray to the living in Christ, especially those who have left this veil of tears.


32 posted on 01/30/2007 5:43:57 PM PST by WriteOn (Truth)
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To: NYer
I totally agree with you on this, NYer. Even thinking about it makes me shiver. We seldom hear of such sacrifices, save for those tortured in Asian countries and such.

There were people who truly followed Christ during that time, but many who honestly didn't, instead following their Gnosticism and other "insights" on what Christ and His Apostles said and meant.

We are left sorting through some of that, ascertaining the Truth from a time of turmoil.
33 posted on 01/30/2007 5:46:44 PM PST by ConservativeMind
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To: Salvation; NYer

"Just as no one sells merchandise when the celebration ends, thus also in the tomb no one makes deals for the Kingdom of God." +Basil the Great

"After death, it will be impossible for anyone through thoughts of God to heal the sickness brought on by sin, for confession has power on earth, but not in hell." +Gregory of Nyssa


34 posted on 01/30/2007 5:47:00 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Enosh

"#4 was blatantly silly, but as a Protestant, I do have an honest question.
What about prayers to the dead, in hope that they could better present the case before our Lord?
This is not intended to be an attack, I just never understood it.
Thanks."

Enosh, I will answer your honest question with an answer that is honest. Whether it is accurate or not is limited to my understanding. As a Protestant, I know that you favor Scripture above all (and as a Catholic, I am particularly reverential towards and focused upon the Gospels). With those things in mind, here is your answer.

Do you pray for living people?
Have you ever asked any living person to pray for you?
Almost certainly yes to the former, and perhaps even yes to the latter. Protestants (most of them, there are many flavors, I am assuming you are mainstream) DO pray for living people, and DO ask for prayers from other living people.

Do you think these prayers do any good?
When you pray for somebody else, or somebody else prays for you, is this merely a gesture on your part to remember someone, or do you believe that God hears those prayers, and sometimes finds favor in prayers not just for a living person himself, but also prayers made FOR that living person by some other living person.
Once again, I don't think that as a Protestant you could have any objection to this.
Right?

Jesus tells you this is a good thing, to pray together. At Matthew 18:19-20

Alright, now I am going to refer you to the Gospels, to a specific, hard lesson that Jesus gives to the Pharisees when they ask to whom the widow is married in paradisethat the God of Abraham and Isaac is not the God of the dead but of the living: Abraham and Isaac are not dead. They live. The dead are not dead. They live. Elsewhere.

That is why it is licit to ask for the prayers of the dead. They aren't dead.


35 posted on 01/30/2007 5:50:03 PM PST by Vicomte13 (L'Chaim!)
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To: ConservativeMind

Interesting. It makes sense that Jewish practice would become more developed just prior to the coming of the Christ. So the timing of 1st and 2nd Maccabees would be perfect. Have you ever wondered why Jesus came at that precise moment in history? Because the Jews were as ripe as they would ever be to be plucked. It's the only thing that makes sense. Hence, the latest texts and the new Testament would reflect the height of Jewish practice as preliminary to and types of Christian liturgy. The conflicts between the Sadducees and the Pharisees on the topic of the state of the dead, and the practices in Maccabees would reflect the most refined perspective they would have on life after death, atonement, and intercession. Before they would receive the fullness of Truth.


36 posted on 01/30/2007 5:53:10 PM PST by WriteOn (Truth)
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To: NYer

My position is the position of the consensus patrum and The Church. There is nothing we can do for ourselves to affect the outcome of either the Particular nor the Final Judgment. Unless one attains theosis in this life, a very rare event, our only hope is God's unending mercy, which is what we here on earth pray for when we pray for the dead. Personally, I believe there is likely some sort of burnishing or purification which goes on in the place of the dead and before the Final Judgment. But this is not expiation; it is purification. God's love refines and purifies those who have a similitude to Christ and torments those who have none. The Fathers wrote of God and God's love as being like fire, purifying precious metals and fine pottery, but blackening, even destroying base metals and inferior clay. This personal opinion is in accord with a very ancient thread of theology in The Church.

If I read a broad range of the Fathers, avoiding proof texting the Fathers to fit any particular position, the consensus patrum and thus Holy Tradition becomes clear. In essence, even if I disregard popular notions of what the Latin Church means by purgatory, the distinction between expiation and purification remains.


37 posted on 01/30/2007 6:01:03 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: WriteOn

Another reason for Jesus to come them is the Roman Empire.

Although it was not geographically the biggest empire in human history, within its direct borders and satellite sphere of influence (recall that Celts and Germans converted to Christianity spontaneously, because of the heavy Roman influence) were actually concentrated the greatest concentration of humanity in history. With a range essentially spanning from the Arctic to the mid-Sahara, and from the Atlantic to the Volga and Iranian mountains, and with trading posts in India, Rome embraced or directly (or semi-directly dominated) a full one third of the population of the whole Earth. No other Empire has come close.
And Rome's particular status as the FIRST grand empire in Europe proper, and the uniter of the entirety of the ancient Middle East (except for Iran) within its boundaries brought together every competing tradition and placed it all under one ruler and one system.

Which meant that the new faith could reach, by the roads and within the realm, a third of the people of the Earth within a few short years, and all with one overlord's language, or two, Greek in the East, Latin everywhere.

That has never happened again.
The fact of Rome was the moment in history before the present and mass communications and high-speed travel where one man and a small band could reach a third of the people of the earth. It was big enough and antique enough that oppression could be brutal, but not effective.

Had Jesus come earlier or later, there would have been no Rome as foundation for rapid expansion.


38 posted on 01/30/2007 6:02:05 PM PST by Vicomte13 (L'Chaim!)
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To: Kolokotronis

I haven't actually stated my position, yet, only observed what Jesus said.

My position is that I am going to find out, unfortunately, the hard way. Because I know what's good and what's bad, and that vomit sure tastes good sometimes, dammit.


39 posted on 01/30/2007 6:13:18 PM PST by Vicomte13 (L'Chaim!)
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To: NYer

No, I'm a cradle Catholic. That's what I'm going to be teaching tomorrow night. I'm working on the lesson plan tonight. Wish me luck!


40 posted on 01/30/2007 6:20:16 PM PST by Juana la Loca
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To: ConservativeMind
"1st Maccabees" and "2nd Maccabees" were written over 100 years before Christ. They do not describe any Christian practice

The events in Genesis took place 4000 years before Christ, yet they still play a part in Christian theology.
41 posted on 01/30/2007 6:42:23 PM PST by Conservative til I die
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To: Kolokotronis
I am intrigued by this difference between expiation and purification, I could see where the expiation could be for the purification. eg: I may not be whole (purified) until I have undone (expiated) the damage that my sin has caused. I very much am enjoying the conversation in this these Catholic/Orthodox Caucus threads as there is more sanity than shouting. Thank You!
42 posted on 01/30/2007 7:50:49 PM PST by Klondike
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To: Salvation; Religion Moderator
It was not until the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century that anyone denied the doctrine of the final purification. 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) A purification after death exists. (2) It involves some kind of pain. (3) The purification can be assisted by the prayers and offerings by the living to God.

You want to keep this a "Catholic/Orthodox caucus thread", or do you want us Protestants to join in? It sure sounds like the invitation has been made to make it an open thread.

43 posted on 01/30/2007 8:17:05 PM PST by Alex Murphy
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To: Alex Murphy; Salvation
Is that statement about the Protestant Reformation inaccurate, incomplete or a strawman? If no, then there is no problem.

If yes, since it is a reply post, there are two choices: (1) the reply post can be removed or (2) the thread can be opened. Your call, Salvation.

44 posted on 01/30/2007 8:30:02 PM PST by Religion Moderator
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To: Alex Murphy; Salvation; Religion Moderator

I would also speak my peace, if possible.


45 posted on 01/30/2007 8:31:46 PM PST by Enosh
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To: Enosh; Alex Murphy

At the moment you are both guests in the other guy's church. Unless the closed doors are being used as cover to take shots at your church the thread will remain closed and the guests should keep their peace.


46 posted on 01/30/2007 8:37:24 PM PST by Religion Moderator
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To: Vicomte13
And I hope that some of you found this discussion interesting and illuminating.

I certainly appreciate your input and will post some reflections on it later. Thank you!

47 posted on 01/31/2007 12:36:31 AM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: Vicomte13
What is important to realize is that Jewish Gehenna is both Hell AND Purgatory. Purgatory is IN Hell. That's what Jews think. And thought. And their word for this place was Gehenna. Gehenna, or Gehinnom in Hebrew (Gehenna is actually Yiddish) is also a nasty valley near Jerusalem where bad rites were historically performed, so the name for the Jewish concept of Hell was probably pulled from that valley name, or vice versa.

You are right. This was the valley of Hinnom where in the darkest days of Jerusalem's history their children were sacrificed to pagan gods, and where the people of Jerusalem dumped their trash. Smoke from the valley of Hinnom was said the have ascended into heaven day and night. The burning never ceased.

Furthermore, things that were cast into this valley of Gehenna never returned from it. It was the end of the road, not a transitional point. Thus Jews who might have thought that Gehenna was merely purgatory or a transitional station on their way to heaven had to be in complete denial of the reality of what the valley of Hinnom represented. Once something entered the trash dump of the valley of Hinnom, it was never seen or heard from again. If it was purgatory, it was a perpetual purgatory from which there was no exit.

48 posted on 01/31/2007 3:58:54 AM PST by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: NYer; amihow; Mrs. Don-o; Knitting A Conundrum; do the dhue; Hydroshock; the lastbestlady; ...
+

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic Ping List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to all note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of interest.

49 posted on 01/31/2007 4:26:31 AM PST by narses (St Thomas says "lex injusta non obligat.")
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To: Klondike
In great haste as I am off to the office. I think the distinction lies in the Orthodox view of our created purpose which is to be in the image and likeness of God. The ability to attain the likeness of God through cooperation with God's grace which falls equally on the good and the evil was lost in The Fall and restored by the Incarnation. The word for sin in Greek, armatia means "to miss the mark", the mark being Christ. By not missing the mark and proceeding through the process of theosis, we by grace become more and more like Christ and die to the self so that in a state of perfect theosis, the self as fallen man ceases to exist and our entire being becomes focused on God. That's the purified state. All of this is wrought by God's love. The thread of theology I am referring to says that after death if we have a similitude to Christ, God's love, through His mercy, finishes the business of purification. If there is no similitude to Christ, that same love torments and "destroys". But there is nothing we are doing in this post physical death state. God, as is demonstrated by the way grace and love fall on all of us, doesn't need our expiation as some sort of atonement for missing the mark. He simply finishes what He began at our creation, but now there is nothing we can do to respond to that process. I suppose at base the distinction is that expiation is viewed as something we do in the nature of atonement, of pay back while purification is 100% a God operation which acts on us.
50 posted on 01/31/2007 4:29:49 AM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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