Defending the Faith…Purgatory

image Purgatory

The Catholic faith teaches that when we die we will either spend entirety in Heaven or Hell, if we are to spend it in Heaven we must first cleanse ourselves to make our souls pure, for nothing impure will enter in to heaven. The teaching of Purgatory is not just a made up Catholic “thing” but rather it is from the scripture that we get this teaching. Scripture teaches us that we must atone for our sins, the we must be made pure to enter in to the Kingdom of God.

The passage below illustrated that even in the Old Testament they had an understanding of Purgatory, the need to cleanse the souls of the dead.

2 Macc 12:44-46

In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death.

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.

Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.

The Word

Purgatory (Lat., "purgare", to make clean, to purify) in accordance with Catholic teaching is a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God’s grace, are, not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions. (Catholic Encyclopedia

Jesus forgave image

The idea that we must continue to pay for our sins even after we have been forgiven is not one that is talked about a lot, but that does not mean it is not part of four faith. Yes it is true that Jesus, through his death and resurrection has died for and forgiven our sins. But we must still confess our sins, we must still ask for His forgiveness. The grace of God is freely offered, but we must still make the effort to accept the graces offered. So the fact that Jesus died for our sins does not negate the fact that we must still ask for and seek His forgiveness.

Paying twice

If we have already asked for and received forgiveness, than why would God allow us or ask us to pay again, once we are dead. Some would say that is like paying twice for the same sin. But in truth it is not, the simple matter of the fact is, we can do nothing here on earth that will ever come close to paying back for our sins, we are at God’s mercy when it comes to forgiveness. God in his ultimate wisdom offers us the opportunity to seek his forgiveness and to receive it, but God is also a fair and just God, one who believes in atonement, the paying back of sin. The concept of paying for our sins is biblical in nature. (2 Sam 12:13-14)

image The pay back

That temporal punishment is due to sin, even after the sin itself has been pardoned by God, is clearly the teaching of Scripture. God indeed brought man out of his first disobedience and gave him power to govern all things (Wisdom 10:2), but still condemned him "to eat his bread in the sweat of his brow" until he returned unto dust. God forgave the incredulity of Moses and Aaron, but in punishment kept them from the "land of promise" (Numbers 20:12). The Lord took away the sin of David, but the life of the child was forfeited because David had made God’s enemies blaspheme His Holy Name (2 Samuel 12:13-14). In the New Testament as well as in the Old, almsgiving and fasting, and in general penitential acts are the real fruits of repentance (Matthew 3:8; Luke 17:3; 3:3). The whole penitential system of the Church testifies that the voluntary assumption of penitential works has always been part of true repentance and the Council of Trent (Sess. XIV, can. xi) reminds the faithful that God does not always remit the whole punishment due to sin together with the guilt. God requires satisfaction, and will punish sin, and this doctrine involves as its necessary consequence a belief that the sinner failing to do penance in this life may be punished in another world, and so not be cast off eternally from God. (Catholic Encyclopedia

It’s not fair

The idea that it’s not fair for God to ask us to pay for our sins once we have already been forgiven is a fairly new idea. It was not until Martian Luther broke away from the Church that this idea of Jesus did all the work for us, all we have to do is believe came to be. The Catholic Church has always believed that our souls must go through a cleansing process to enter in to the Kingdom of God. God’s idea of fair and our idea of fair are two different things. Who are we to place our concepts of payback on to God?

It just isimage

Purgatory makes sense if we are to believe the authors of the Old and New Testament and the teachings of God. Indeed, the necessity of the purging is taught in other passages of Scripture, such as 2 Thessalonians 2:13, which declares that God chose us "to be saved through sanctification by the Spirit." Sanctification is thus not an option, something that may or may not happen before one gets into heaven. It is an absolute requirement, as Hebrews 12:14 states that we must strive "for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord."


Bible Passages

Rev. 21:27 …nothing unclean shall enter Heaven.

2 Sam 12:13-14 …David, though forgiven, still punished for his sins.

2 Macc 12:44-46 …atoned for the dead to free them from their sins.

1 Pt 3:19 …in which he went and preached to the spirits

in prison…

2 Maccabees 12:43-46 …would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead

Matthew 12:32 …neither in this world, nor in the world to come

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 …because it shall be revealed in fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work


About Paul Sposite

Paul Sposite - Life Coach I began my career as an instructor. As an instructor there are two basic requirements. You have to know yourself, so you know where you’re drawing your inspiration from. And you have to actively listen to the others, and then respond to the subtext of what they are saying. In learning about myself I started to focus a lot on my students, how they learned, what questions they were asking and how I could best modify my methods to best serve them. I believe that if you use your real life problems/issues as insights to the issues you need to heal, you’ll grow. From my experience in the classroom, creating curriculum and material to support my training, I developed an interest in how people process information. This interest turned into my interest in Life Coaching.
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