Purgatory 101: Does the Church even still teach Purgatory and what exactly is the purpose is of Purgatory?

Purgatory 101: Does the Church even still teach Purgatory and what exactly is the purpose is of Purgatory?

Many people have a hard time grasping how an all-good God could allow people to spend eternity in damnation. It may be even harder to understand how people who are saved from such damnation end up suffering punishment anyways on their way to heaven—which is not an all-together unfair characterization of what purgatory is.

As confounding as it may at first seem, the doctrine of purgatory is actually simple at its core and also has a solid foundation in the Bible. Here are the essentials of what the Church has taught on purgatory.

Wait, does the Church even still teach purgatory?

Contrary to what some people may think purgatory was not consigned to the dustbin of old doctrines at Vatican II. It remains a staple of the Church’s teaching. The new catechism, promulgated in the 1990s, affirms it and so did Pope St. John Paul II in aseries of General Audiences on heaven, hell, and purgatory.

OK, so what exactly is the purpose is of purgatory?

It is to purify or ‘purge’ any remaining sin within us before we enter into the presence of God in heaven. As the catechism puts it:

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.

But shouldn’t regular confession have washed away the stain of sin for faithful Catholics?  

There are two reasons purgatory may still be necessary. One could have either died in a state of venial sin or one might not have done sufficient penance to alleviate the temporal penalty for sin. (This is according to traditional theology manuals like this one, the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Baltimore Catechism, and St. Thomas Aquinas.)

Some contemporary accounts (examples here and here) of purgatory emphasize more generally that all traces, vestiges, and attraction towards sin will be purged, further explaining why it might be necessary.

Think about it this way. In heaven, you will be beholding the beauty of the triune God, the Creator of our universe of 10 trillion galaxies and 100 octillion stars. Take the mountain-devouring fire that enveloped Moses at Sinai, the storm-cloud that bellowed at Job, and the glowing, lightning-flecked cloud spied by the prophet Ezekiel, roll them all into one, and you will still fall short of what the beatific vision will be like. As fantastic as their visions were, none of these holy men behold God directly in this life. That’s what happens in heaven.

Who wouldn’t want one more round of purification before that?

But is purgatory necessary?

The doctrine of purgatory comes from the clear teaching of Scripture that nothing impure will enter into the presence of God. This is stated mostly clearly in Revelation 21:27 and Matthew 5:8, but it is also indicated indirectly in other verses such as Isaiah 52:1, Ezekiel 44:9, and Habakkuk 1:13.

Is purgatory a place?

Despite the creative imaginations of poets like Dante, the Church has said very little about the actual physicality of purgatory. John Paul II taught that it was a state or condition, rather than a place, which makes sense given that purgatory is not a final destination but merely a pass-through to heaven, which will be a physical-spatial reality given that there we will then have our resurrected bodies.

While it is true many medieval Catholics thought of purgatory as a place, understanding it as more of a state or condition is not quite the innovation it might seem. As Pope Benedict XVI noted, one of the saints who wrote a treatise on purgatory, St. Catherine of Genoa, also taught that it was more of a process that occurred within one’s soul rather than a place.

How long will believers suffer in purgatory?

In the past it has been assumed—because of the days associated with an indulgence—that there was a fixed time set for the suffering of souls in purgatory that was knowable to us. The Church has since moved away from fixing days to indulgences to avoid this misunderstanding. (For more on that see this article. See also St. Robert Bellarmine’sSmall Catechism, Question 132.)

Aquinas doesn’t raise the question in the Summa Theologica (see here and here). And the Catholic Encyclopedia doesn’t mention it.

Here’s what the Baltimore Catechism says on the matter: “We do not know what souls are in Purgatory nor how long they have to remain there; hence we continue to pray for all persons who have died apparently in the true faith and free from mortal sin. They are called the faithful departed.”

Bottom line: we don’t know. But we do know that it will be temporary. Keep in mind that there will be no “time” as we understand it in the afterlife (as this article astutely notes).

Is purgatory in the Bible?

First, there must not be explicit teaching on something in the Bible in order for us to believe it. But, as it turns out with purgatory, the biblical evidence is more substantial that one might suppose. In addition to the above verses cited earlier, there are many others.

A key text is 1 Corinthians 3:11-15:

“For other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid; which is Christ Jesus. Now if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay stubble: Every man’s work shall be manifest; for the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work, of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work burn, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.”

These verses, whose meaning is not immediately transparent, have been interpreted by the Church to refer to the purification souls undergo in purgatory. The ‘work that burns’ is seen as the venial sins that are burned away in purgatory, leaving a clean soul that is ‘saved’ for heaven.

From the Old Testament another commonly cited supporting text is 2 Maccabees 12:43-46, which commends prayers for the dead that they might be “loosed from sins”—though keep in mind that citing this verse will not get you anywhere in discussions with Protestants, who do not accept 2 Maccabees as Scripture.

Verses that refer to a ‘refining fire’ are often understood as referring to purgatory. In all, there are at least 11 such verses. They are: Job 23:10, Psalm 66:10-12, Proverbs 17:3, Isaiah 1:25, Isaiah 48:10, Ezekiel 22:18-22, Jeremiah 9:6, Zechariah 13:9, Malachi 3:1-5, Revelation 3:17-18, and 1 Peter 1:7. (Note that purgatory is not necessarily the primary focus of every single one of those verses, though the ones selected above all are in line with 1 Corinthians 3:11-15.)

There are two other verses that do not fit into this pattern but should be noted as well. In the Old Testament, Isaiah 4:4 depicts a scene very much like the ones above except that the metaphor is one of cleansing rather than refinement by fire.

Then there is Romans 2:6 which discusses how God will “repay everyone according to his works” in a context that is pretty clearly about the end times.

And we have by no means exhausted the list. Two other biblical defenses of purgatory can be found here and here.

Editor’s note: You may read St. Catherine of Genoa’s account of Purgatory in her work, Fire of Lovewhich is available from Sophia Institute Press

image: Renata Sedmakova / Shutterstock.com

Read more from the source & comments: http://catholicexchange.com/purgatory-101

Stephen Beale

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Stephen Beale is a freelance writer based in Providence, Rhode Island. Raised as an evangelical Protestant, he is a convert to Catholicism. He is a former news editor at GoLocalProv.com and was a correspondent for the New Hampshire Union Leader, where he covered the 2008 presidential primary. He has appeared on Fox News, C-SPAN and the Today Show and his writing has been published in the Washington Times, Providence Journal, the National Catholic Register and on MSNBC.com and ABCNews.com. A native of Topsfield, Massachusetts, he graduated from Brown University in 2004 with a degree in classics and history. His areas of interest include Eastern Christianity, Marian and Eucharistic theology, medieval history, and the saints. He welcomes tips, suggestions, and any other feedback at bealenews at gmail dot com. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/StephenBeale1

PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD

WE, CATHOLICS TRADITIONALLY OFFERS PRAYERS FOR THE DECEASED (DIED) PERSONS TO THE LORD

IT IS ASSOCIATED BY OFFERING A NOVENA PRAYER, OR HAVING MASSES, OR SIMPLY DOING PRIVATE PRAYER IN HEART, FOR OUR DECEASED (DIED) RELATIVES & FRIENDS.

AND BY THIS, IT SHOWS OUR GREATEST ACTS OF CHARITY & LOVE WE CAN OFFER FOR THE DEPARTED. BECAUSE THE PRAYER HELPS THE SOULS OF THE DEAD WHO WERE TRAPPED IN PURGATORY, SO THAT THEY CAN ENTER MORE QUICKLY INTO THE FULLNESS OF HEAVEN. THIS IS RECORDED IN CATHOLIC DOCTRINE WRITTEN IN THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, (CCC) IT SAYS

(CCC # 1371) “The Eucharistic sacrifice is also offered for the faithful departed who “have died in Christ but are not yet wholly purified,” so that they may be able to enter into the light and peace of Christ…..”

HOWEVER, VARIOUS ANTI-CATHOLIC PROTESTANTS CONDEMNED IT AS UNBIBLICAL ACT, AND OF PAGANISM, THE FACT THAT, OUR CATHOLIC PRACTICE OF OFFERING PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD IS ACTUALLY BIBLICAL. BECAUSE LONG BEFORE CHRIST CAME IN NEW TESTAMENT, PRAYER OF THE DEAD IS ALREADY JEWISH PRACTICE AS WE CAN READ IN THE OLD TESTAMENT :

POINT # 1: NEHEMIAH, A SERVANT OF GOD WHO PRAYED FOR HIS ANCESTORS.

Nehemiah 1:6 (Good News Bible) “Look at me, LORD, and hear my prayer, as I PRAY day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess that we, the people of Israel, have sinned. MY ANCESTORS AND I HAVE SINNED.”

NOW THE QUESTION IS, WHAT IS THE STATUS OF HIS ANCESTORS? ARE HIS ANCESTORS ALIVE OR DEAD? THIS IS WHAT IS WRITTEN, PLEASE READ:

Nehemiah 2:5 (Good News Bible) and then I said to the emperor, “If Your Majesty is pleased with me and is willing to grant my request, let me go to the land of Judah, TO THE CITY WHERE MY ANCESTORS ARE BURIED, so that I can rebuild the city.”

IT IS CLEAR THAT THE ANCESTORS OF NEHEMIAH ARE DEAD AND HAVE BEEN BURIED. IT IS ALSO CLEAR THAT NEHEMIAH PRAYED FOR HIS DEAD ANCESTORS.

POINT # 2: MACCABEUS WHO PRAYED TO THE LORD FOR HIS DEAD COMRADES

2 Maccabees 12:44-46 (Douay Rheims-Bible) [44] (For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to PRAY FOR THE DEAD,) [45] And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them.” [46] “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought TO PRAY FOR THE DEAD, that they may be loosed from sins.”

HERE, WE CAN SEE THAT MACCABEUS BELIEVED (AS HE EXPECTING) THAT THE DEAD WOULD RISE AGAIN (rise again spiritually in heaven), THUS, HE OFFERS PRAYER FOR THE DEAD, WHY? JUST BECAUSE HE BELIEVED THAT HIS PRAYERS COULD HELP THE SOULS OF THE DEAD FREED FROM THEIR SINS, TO WHERE?

NOT IN “HEAVEN” BECAUSE THERE ARE NO PLACE FOR SINS IN GOD’S PLACE,

BUT NOT ALSO IN “HELL” BECAUSE ONCE THE SOUL GETS THERE, IT’S NO LONGER BE FREED ANYMORE, SINCE THIS PLACE IS ETERNAL DAMNATION.

THEREFORE, IT INDICATES THAT THERE’S A PLACE WHEREIN THE REMAINING SINS OF SOULS CAN INDEED BE CLEANSE & PURIFIED & FREED FOR FINAL ENTRY INTO HEAVEN, AND THAT IS WHAT CATHOLIC CHURCH CALLED “PURGATORY”

THAT’S WHY CATHOLICS OFFERS PRAYER FOR THE DEAD IS USEFUL (HELPFUL) FOR THE SOULS OF THE DEAD WOULD FREED THEMSELVES FROM PURGATORY INTO HEAVEN.

POINT # 3: EVEN, ST. PAUL ALSO PRAYED FOR HIS DEAD FRIEND ONESIPHORPUS TO THE LORD.

2 Timothy 1:16-18 (New American Bible) [16] May the Lord grant mercy to the family of Onesiphorus because he often gave me new heart and was not ashamed of my chains. [17] But when he came to Rome, he promptly searched for me and found me. [18] MAY THE LORD GRANT HIM TO FIND MERCY FROM THE LORD ON THAT DAY. And you know very well the services he rendered in Ephesus.

(Note the past tense in all of Paul’s references to him) HERE ST. PAUL PRAYS FOR HIS DEAD FRIEND ONESIPHORUS THAT HE FIND MERCY FROM THE LORD ON THAT DAY. “ON THAT DAY” THIS PHRASE SHOWN A CLEAR ESCHATOLOGICAL CONNOTATION FOR THE LAST DAY, THIS MEANS, ST. PAUL IS ASKING FOR GOD’S MERCY ON ONESIPHORUS BEFORE THE THRONE OF JUDGMENT.

POINT # 4: ST. PETER PRAYED TO THE LORD FOR HIS DEAD DISCIPLE, TABITHA, AND RESTORED HER TO LIFE

Acts 36-37, 40 (New American Bible) [36] Now in Joppa there was a disciple named TABITHA (which translated means Dorcas). She was completely occupied with good deeds and almsgiving. [37] Now during those days she FELL SICK AND DIED, so after washing her, they laid (her) out in a room upstairs. [40] PETER sent them all out and KNELT DOWN AND PRAYED. Then he turned to her body and said, “Tabitha, rise up.” She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up.

NOT JUST ST. PETER OFFERS PRAYER FOR THE DEAD, BUT, IN OTHER INSTANCES, HE TEACHES US TO PROCLAIM GOSPELS EVEN TO THE DEAD:

1 Peter 4:6 (New American Bible) “For THIS IS WHY THE GOSPEL WAS PREACHED EVEN TO THE DEAD that, though condemned in the flesh in human estimation, they might live in the spirit in the estimation of God.”

SINCE, WE WHO LIVE IN THIS EARTH HOPING THAT THE SPIRITS (SOULS) OF THE DEAD WILL LIVE WITH GOD IN HEAVEN, THAT’S WHY WHEN WE MADE MASS FOR THEM, WE’RE NOT JUST OFFERING PRAYERS FOR THEM, BUT ACCOMPANYING (ASSOCIATED) WITH LITURGY OF THE WORD AS WELL,

POINT # 5: THEREFORE, IT’S LAWFUL TO PRAY FOR THE DEAD, WHY? JUST BECAUSE:

Sirach 7:33 (New Jerusalem Bible) “LET YOUR GENEROSITY EXTEND to all the living, do not withhold it EVEN FROM THE DEAD.”

GENEROSITY IS FOR ALL, ANY ACTS OF GENEROSITY, SUCH AS KINDNESS BY DEEDS, PRAYERS, MERCY, CHARITIES, IS FOR ALL, NOT JUST FOR THE LIVING, BUT THE DEAD AS WELL. THAT’S WHY CATHOLICS FLOCKED TO THEIR CHURCHES & CEMETERIES ON ALL SOULS DAY, TO OFFER PRAYERS IN BEHALF OF THEIR DEPARTED RELATIVES & FRIENDS.

EVEN THE LORD HIMSELF BLESS TO THOSE WHO HAVE A COMPASSION NOT JUST TO THE LIVING, BUT TO THE DEAD AS WELL

Ruth 2:20 (New American Bible) “May he be BLESSED BY THE LORD, who is ever MERCIFUL TO THE LIVING AND TO THE DEAD,” Naomi exclaimed to her daughter-in-law; and she continued, “He is a relative of ours, one of our next of kin.”

QUESTION # 1: WHY WE OFFER THEM A PRAYER? (IN WHAT PURPOSE)

ANSWER 1:

1 John 5:16-17 (New American Bible) [16] If anyone sees his brother sinning, IF THE SIN IS NOT DEADLY, HE SHOULD PRAY TO GOD and he will give him life. This is only for those whose sin is not deadly. There is such a thing as DEADLY SIN, ABOUT WHICH I DO NOT SAY THAT YOU SHOULD PRAY. [17] All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly.

> IF OUR BROTHERS SIN IS DEADLY (refers to mortal / grave sin), THIS SIN GOES TO “HELL” AND FROM THERE, THE SIN IS UNFORGIVEN (cannot be forgiven), SINCE THEY’RE ETERNALLY DAMNED THERE, THAT’S WHY, THE PASSAGE SAYS: “There is such a thing as deadly sin, about which I do not say that you should pray”

> IF OUR BROTHERS SIN IS NOT DEADLY (not full of mortal sin), THEN, WE CAN PRAY FOR THEM, AS PASSAGE SAYS “He should pray to god and he will give him life”,

THE QUESTION IS? WHERE IS THIS PRAYER GOES?

THIS PRAYER CANNOT BE IN HEAVEN BECAUSE THOSE IN “HEAVEN” HAVE NO SIN AND PERFECTLY CLEANSED, BUT NOT ALSO IN “HELL”, BECAUSE THOSE IN HELL ARE CANNOT BE FORGIVEN.

THEREFORE, THE PRAYERS GOES TO ANOTHER PLACE, WHEREIN THE REMAINING SINS OF SOUL CAN INDEED BE FORGIVEN BY CLEANSING & PURIFYING BEFORE GIVING HIM LIFE (ENTERING FULLY INTO HEAVEN)

THAT’S WHY WE PRAY FOR THE DECEASED (DIED) PERSON, THIS PURPOSE IS TO HELP THE SOULS OF THE DEAD WHO WERE TRAPPED IN TEMPORARY PLACE OF TORMENT, CALLED “PURGATORY” SO THAT THESE SOULS CAN ENTER MORE QUICKLY INTO THE FULLNESS OF HEAVEN.

ANSWER 2:

WHEN A PERSON DIED, THE FINAL DESTINATION OF THEIR SOUL WOULD GOES EITHER OF THE 2 PERMANENT PLACES, (NOT 3 PLACES), IT’S EITHER HEAVEN OR HELL, IN WHICH THE SOUL WOULD ETERNALLY PLACE THERE.

IF THERE IS A TWO PLACE, THEN HOW ABOUT “PURGATORY” ?

IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT, PURGATORY IS A “TEMPORARY” PLACE, AND NOT PERMANENT PLACE LIKE HEAVEN & HELL,

IN ORDER TO CLARIFY THAT WE SHOULD TAKE UNDERSTAND FIRST THESE 3 CONDITIONS REGARDING “AFTER DEATH”:

> FIRST: IF A SOUL OF THE DEAD WAS FULL OF HEAVY & MORTAL SINS, THEN, IT GOES STRAIGHT TO “HELL” IT IS A PLACE WHEREIN THE LAKE OF FIRE SITUATED, AND WILL BE DAMNED THERE ETERNALLY (FOREVER)

Revelation 21:8 (New American Bible) But as for cowards, the unfaithful, the depraved, murderers, the unchaste, sorcerers, idol-worshipers, and deceivers of every sort, THEIR LOT IS IN THE BURNING POOL OF FIRE AND SULFUR, which is the second death.”

> SECOND: IF A SOUL OF THE DEAD ARE PURE (CLEAN) WITHOUT ANY STAINED OF SIN, THEN, THIS SOUL GOES DIRECTLY INTO HEAVEN, AND LIVED THERE ETERNALLY WITH GOD AND HIS ANGELS & SAINTS:

Wisdom 3:1 (New Jerusalem Bible) But the SOULS OF THE UPRIGHT ARE IN THE HANDS OF GOD, and no torment can touch them.

> THIRD: IF A SOUL OF THE DEAD HAS A REMNANTS (REMAINING) OF VENIAL SINS, THEN IT GOES TO “PURGATORY” IT IS A PLACE WHEREIN THE REMAINING VENIAL SINS OF A SOUL BEING CLEANSE & PURIFY FIRST FOR FINAL ENTRY INTO HEAVEN, THE REASON WHY IS THAT, NOTHING UNCLEAN CAN ENTERS HEAVEN:

Revelation 21:27 (New American Bible) “BUT NOTHING UNCLEAN WILL ENTER IT, nor any (one) who does abominable things or tells lies. Only those will enter whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

BECAUSE, ENTERING HEAVEN, ONE SHOULD PURIFY FIRST FROM THE STAINED SINS TO BE PERFECTLY CLEAN, SO WITHOUT US (OUR PRAYERS), THE SOULS OF THE DEAD WOULD NOT CLEANSE TO BE PERFECT.

Hebrews 11:40 (New American Bible) “God had foreseen something better for us, so that WITHOUT US THEY SHOULD NOT BE MADE PERFECT.”

THAT IS PURGATORY IS ALL ABOUT, A PLACE WHERE SOULS REMOVE ITS STAINED (REMAINING) VENIAL SINS IN A PROCESS OF PURGING (PURIFICATION) BEFORE ENTERING HEAVEN.

THAT WOULD ONLY ATTAIN BY THE HELP FROM US THROUGH OUR PRAYERS FOR THEM. ONE GOOD BIBLICAL EXAMPLE IS THIS:

2 Maccabees 12:44-46 (Douay Rheims-Bible) [44] (For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to PRAY FOR THE DEAD,) [45] And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them.” [46] “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought TO PRAY FOR THE DEAD, that they may be loosed from sins.”

HERE, MACCABEUS STATES THAT HE AND OTHER PEOPLE PRAYED FOR THE DECEASED (DIED) MEN, AS THEY BELIEVED (AS THEY EXPECTING) THAT THE DEAD WOULD RISE AGAIN (rise again spiritually in heaven) SO, IT WAS NOT USELESS (BUT IT’S WORTHY) TO OFFER PRAYER & SACRIFICES FOR THE DEAD, IN WHICH ITS SOULS MIGHT BE FREED FROM THEIR SIN.

THE QUESTION IS, WHERE DOES THE PRAYERS OF MACCABEUS GOES? FOR HIM TO FREE HIS FALLEN (DEPARTED) MEN FROM SINS?

> TAKE NOTE, THIS PRAYER CANNOT BE IN HEAVEN BECAUSE THOSE IN HEAVEN ARE SINLESS & ALREADY FORGIVEN, SO THEY DO NOT NEED OF OUR PRAYERS SINCE THEY HAVE ALREADY BEEN PURIFIED (NO SINS),

> THIS PRAYER ALSO CANNOT BE IN HELL, BECAUSE THOSE IN HELL CAN NO LONGER BE FREED FROM SIN OR CANNOT BE FORGIVEN AT ALL BECAUSE THEY ETERNALLY DAMNED THERE

THEREFORE, THE PRAYERS GOES TO ANOTHER PLACE, WHEREIN THE REMAINING SINS OF SOUL CAN INDEED BE FORGIVEN BY CLEANSING & PURIFYING BEFORE ENTERING FULLY INTO HEAVEN,

THAT TEMPORARY PLACE GIVEN ITS NAME AS CALLED “PURGATORY”

(CCC # 1031) “The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned………”

IN THIS TERM, “PURGATORY” (PURGE + TORY)

“TORY” MEANS THE PLACE WHERE ACTIVITY UNDERGO.

“PURGE” OR “PURGATION” MEANS TO PURIFY OR TO CLEANSE,

THEREFORE, (TO CLEANSE + PLACE OF ACTIVITY) = PLACE TO CLEANSE SOMETHING.

ACCORDING TO THESE 2 BIBLICAL PASSAGES WRITTEN IN LATIN, THIS IS WHAT IT SAYS:

2 Petri 1:9 (Biblia Sacra Vulgata) “cui enim non praesto sunt haec caecus est et manu temptans oblivionem accipiens PURGATIONIS veterum suorum delictorum”

Hebraeos 1:3 (Biblia Sacra Vulgata) “qui cum sit splendor gloriae et figura substantiae eius portansque omnia verbo virtutis suae PURGATIONEM PECCATORUM faciens sedit ad dexteram Maiestatis in excelsis”

IN ENGLISH BIBLE, THIS IS WHAT IT TRANSLATES:

2 Peter 1:9 (New American Bible) “Anyone who lacks them is blind and shortsighted, forgetful of the CLEANSING of his past sins.”

Hebrews 1:3 (New American Bible) “who is the refulgence of his glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word. When he had accomplished PURIFICATION FROM SINS, he took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high”

HERE, WE SEE THE LATIN WORD “PURGATIONEM” & “PURGATIONIS ” WHERE THE TERM “PURGATORY” DERIVES BIBLICALLY WORD-FOR-WORD. IN WHICH ALSO ITS VERY PURPOSE IS THAT “TO CLEANSE”, “TO PURIFY”, OR “TO PURGE”

AS OPPOSED TO ACCUSATIONS & OBJECTIONS OF ANTI-CATHOLIC PROTESTANTS WHO INSIST THAT IT IS UNBIBLICAL OR INVENTION, THE MERE FACT THAT PURGATORY EXISTENCE IS “TRUE” AND IT HAS A BIBLICAL FOUNDATION.

THEY DIDN’T KNOW ALSO THAT PURGATORY IS GOD’S BLESSING FOR THE SAVED SOULS, BECAUSE THEY’RE IN FINAL STEPS FOR HEAVEN, (OR A CHANCE TO ENTER HEAVEN).

PURGATORY IS A DOCTRINE OF GOD’S INFINITE (ENDLESS) MERCY TO MANKIND. SINCE VARIOUS ANTI-CATHOLIC PROTESTANTS REJECTS THIS VERY TEACHINGS, THEN, THEY ALSO ABSOLUTELY DENYING GOD’S MERCY.

(CCC # 1030) “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.”

QUESTION # 2: [ the (2 Maccabees 12:44-46) which tells us prayers for the dead to freed from their sins cannot found in all and most protestant bible, is there any ways to prove prayers for the dead and purgatory in the protestant bible translations? ]

ANSWER 1:

ABSOLUTELY CANNOT FOUND IN MOST OF THE PROTESTANT BIBLE TRANSLATIONS LIKE, (KING JAMES VERSION), (NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION), (NEW LIVING TRANSLATION), (NEW REVISED STANDARD VERSION), (ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION) AND SUCH OTHERS.

THE REASON WHY IS THAT A REBELLIOUS GERMAN MONK, MARTIN LUTHER, REMOVED (TAKEN OUT) THESE 7 BOOK FROM OLD TESTAMENTS LIKE MACCABEES I AND II, SIRACH, WISDOM, BARUCH AND SUCH OTHERS.

THESE BOOKS THAT ATTACHED (COMPILED) IN THE OLD TESTAMENT CAN ONLY BE FOUND IN THE CATHOLIC BIBLE TRANSLATIONS SUCH AS (LATIN VULGATE), (DOUAY-RHEIMS BIBLE), (NEW AMERICAN BIBLE), (NEW JERUSALEM BIBLE).

EVEN THOUGH THERE’S NO (2 MACCABEES 12:44-46) FOUND IN THE OLD TESTAMENT OF PROTESTANT BIBLE TRANSLATIONS, BUT THESE PROTESTANTS CANNOT ESCAPE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT SINCE IT HAS SOME PASSAGES PROVES PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD AND PURGATORY.

BECAUSE THIS OLD TESTAMENT PASSAGE (2 MACCABEES 12:44).

2 Maccabees 12:44 (New American Bible) “for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death.”

IS ALSO CLOSELY PARALLEL (SIMILAR) WITH NEW TESTAMENT (1 CORINTHIANS 15:29) WROTE BY ST. PAUL. HE SAID:

1 Corinthians 15:29 (New American Bible) “…..If the dead are not raised at all, then why are they having themselves baptized for them?”

TAKE NOTE, THIS IS NOT TALKING ABOUT A LITERAL WATER BAPTISM ON THE CORPSES (DEAD BODIES), NO !

THE REAL MESSAGE IS THAT, IF THE BAPTISM FOR THE LIVING IS THE WAY OF CLEANSING THE SINS THROUGH WATER, THEREFORE, OUR PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD IS DEALING OF CLEANSING THE SINS IN THE SOUL OF THE DEAD.

THUS, PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD IS LIKE A BAPTISM THAT CLEANSES THE SINS THROUGH WATERS AND TO BE A PART OF KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. THE WAY AS PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD IS SIMPLY HELPING THE SOULS OF BEING CLEANSES THEIR SINS FOR THEM FINALLY COULD ENTERS HEAVEN.

THAT’S WHY ST. PAUL HIMSELF PRAYED FOR HIS DEAD FRIEND ONESIPHORPUS:

2 Timothy 1:16-18 (New American Bible) [16] May the Lord grant mercy to the family of Onesiphorus because he often gave me new heart and was not ashamed of my chains. [17] But when he came to Rome, he promptly searched for me and found me. [18] MAY THE LORD GRANT HIM TO FIND MERCY FROM THE LORD ON THAT DAY. And you know very well the services he rendered in Ephesus.

ST. PAUL PRAYS THAT ONESIPHORPUS FIND MERCY FROM THE LORD ON THAT DAY. “ON THAT DAY” THIS PHRASE SHOWN A CLEAR ESCHATOLOGICAL CONNOTATION FOR THE LAST DAY, THIS MEANS, ST. PAUL IS ASKING FOR GOD’S MERCY ON ONESIPHORUS BEFORE THE THRONE OF JUDGMENT.

ANSWER 2:

IF THESE ANTI-CATHOLIC PROTESTANTS STILL DENY THE BIBLICAL PROOF ABOVE AS THEY ALSO REJECTS THE CANONICITY OF THE MACCABEEAN BOOKS, SO, THEIR HISTORICITY STILL SHOWS AN UNDENIABLE REALITY THAT JEWS, IS THE CHOSEN PEOPLE OF GOD IN THE OLD TESTAMENT WHO INFACT ALSO PRACTICING PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD, EVEN NOWADAYS (IN MODERN TIMES) AS THEIR TRADITION, HERE’S THE 2 SOURCES, (WIKIPEDIA) & (JEWISH WEBSITE) THAT PROVES:

[ Prayers for the dead form part of the Jewish services. The prayers offered on behalf of the deceased consist of: Recitation of Psalms; Reciting a thrice daily communal prayer in Aramaic which is known as Kaddish. Kaddish actually means “Sanctification” (or “Prayer of Making Holy”) which is a prayer “In Praise of God”; or other special remembrances known as Yizkor; and also a Hazkara which is said either on the annual commemoration known as the Yahrzeit as well on Jewish holidays.]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prayer_for_the_dead#Judaism

[ El Maleh Rachamim is the actual Jewish prayer for the dead ………….El Maleh Rachamim is a prayer for the rest of the departed. There are various translations for the original Hebrew which vary significantly. ]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prayer_for_the_dead#Judaism

[ Yizkor, a special memorial prayer for the departed, is recited in the synagogue four times a year, following the Torah reading on the last day of Passover, on the second day of Shavuot, on Shemini Atzeret and on Yom Kippur. ]
https://www.ou.org/…/tefillah/yizkor/yizkor-memorial-praye…/

[ When we recite Yizkor, we renew and strengthen the connection between us and our loved one, bringing merit to the departed souls, elevating them in their celestial homes.]
https://www.ou.org/…/tefillah/yizkor/yizkor-memorial-praye…/

AS WE SEE ABOVE, PROVES THAT PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD AND COMMEMORATING THE DEPARTED IS ALSO PART OF JEWISH TRADITIONS JUST BECAUSE THEIR PRACTICE CAME FROM (ROOTED BACK TO) PROPHET NEHEMIAH & JUDAS MACCABEUS WHO FIRST PRAYED TO THE LORD FOR THE DEAD AS WHAT CATHOLICS DID.

QUESTION # 3: DID GOD COMMAND US (HUMAN) TO PRAY FOR THE DECEASED (DIED) PERSON?

ANSWER:

FIRST OF ALL IS THAT, PROPHET NEHEMIAH, MACCABEUS, ST. PAUL, AND ST. PETER PRAYED TO THE LORD FOR THE DECEASED (DIED) PERSON WITHOUT GOD’S INSTRUCTIONS TO THEM, AS ALSO NOWHERE IN THE BIBLE THAT GOD ORDERED THEM TO PRAY FOR THE DEAD.

THUS, THERE SHOULD NOT HAVE A BIG ISSUE WITH REGARDS PRAYING FOR THE DEAD SINCE CATHOLICS IS JUST LIKE THESE BIBLICAL PEOPLE (PROPHET NEHEMIAH, MACCABEUS, ST. PAUL, AND ST. PETER) NOT ORDERED BY GOD, BUT THEY DID IT FOR THE DEAD.

BESIDES, APOSTLES, TAUGHT PEOPLE TO HANDED (CONTINUE) THIS DOWN OF WHATEVER TEACHINGS OR PRACTICES FROM THEM (like prayers for the dead) THROUGH GENERATION COMES AS A TRADITION:

2 Thessalonians 2:15 (New Jerusalem Bible) “Stand firm, then, brothers, and KEEP THE TRADITIONS that we taught you, WHETHER BY WORD OF MOUTH or by letter.”

1 Corinthians 11:2 (New Jerusalem Bible) “I congratulate you for remembering me so consistently and FOR MAINTAINING THE TRADITIONS exactly as I passed them on to you.”

THAT’S WHY AFTER THE DEATH OF THE APOSTLES, THEIR DISCIPLES & FOLLOWERS, (WHO WERE THE FIRST CHRISTIANS) ADAPTED & RECOGNIZED THIS PRACTICE AS TRADITION, LIKE THESE EPISTLES FROM EARLY CHURCH FATHERS, THEY SAID:

“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. Nor indeed, shall any man place another in my tomb.” (EPITAPH OF ABERCIUS, Bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia Salutaris, 180 A.D.)’

“We offer sacrifices for the dead on their birthday anniversaries [the date of death-birth into eternal life]” (The Crown 3:3 [A.D. 211] by Tertullian, theologian ).

“A woman, AFTER THE DEATH OF HER HUSBAND, is bound not less firmly but even more so, not to marry another husband….Indeed, SHE PRAYS FOR HIS SOUL and asks that he may, while waiting, find rest; and that he may share in the first resurrection. And each year, on the ANNIVERSARY OF HIS DEATH, she offers the sacrifice.” (Monogamy 10:1,4 A.D. 213 by Tertullian, theologian)

“LET US PRAY FOR OUR BRETHREN THAT ARE AT REST in Christ, that God, the lover of mankind, who has received his soul, MAY FORGIVE HIM EVERY SIN, voluntary and involuntary, and may be merciful and gracious to him, and give him his lot in the land of the pious that are sent into the bosom of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, with all those that have pleased Him and done His will from the beginning of the world, whence all sorrow, grief, and lamentation are banished.” (Apostolic Constitutions, 8:4,41[3rd Century] by Julian, bishop of Cilicia)

THESE EARLY CHURCH FATHERS OF EARLY CHRISTIANITY WERE ALSO PRAYED FOR THE DEAD, UNTIL IT REACHED TO THIS MODERN DAY, THIS IS THE REASON WHY CATHOLIC CHURCH HAVE A TRADITION OF PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD FOR 2,000 YEARS.

A PRACTICE THAT ROOTED BACK TO JEWS, PRACTICE BY APOSTLES OF JESUS, ADAPTED BY EARLY CHRISTIANS, TILL IT REACHED TO THIS DAY AS TRADITION.THEREFORE, THIS PRACTICE IS UNDERSTANDABLY & ABSOLUTELY NOT WRONG.

QUESTION # 4: WHY THERE’S “MONEY” INVOLVED TO PAY FOR THE PRAYERS? WHAT IS THIS? EXTORTION ? WHICH REFEREED TO MONEY-MAKING THING?

ANSWER:

THE MONEY YOU GAVE FOR MASS OFFERING FOR THE DEAD IS NOT PAYMENT BUT STIPEND (PAY/SALARY) FOR HIS EFFORT. THIS IS A PRACTICE EVEN DURING THE TIME OF THE EARLY CHURCH LEADERS LIKE ST. PAUL:

2 Corinthians 11:8 (Good News Bible) “While I was working among you, I was paid by other churches. I was robbing them, so to speak, in order to help you.”

ST. PAUL ACCEPTED STIPEND (SALARY) AND USED THE MONEY FOR HIS OTHER WORKS,

BESIDES, COLLECTING MONEY FOR THE DEAD IS INDEED BIBLICAL AS IT ALSO PRACTICE WAY BACK TO JUDAS MACCABEUS, WHO COLLECTED MONEY AND WAS MADE A SIN-OFFERING FOR THOSE WHO HAD FALLEN THROUGH THEIR PRAYERS:

2 Maccabees 12:43, 45 (New American Bible) HE THEN TOOK UP A COLLECTION among all his soldiers, AMOUNTING TO TWO THOUSAND SILVER DRACHMAS, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the DEAD in view; [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.”

QUESTION # 5: [ WHAT ABOUT THE ALL SOULS DAY? ]

ANSWER 1:

ALL SOULS’ DAY, IS A SOLEMN CELEBRATION ANNUALLY (NOVEMBER 2) THAT COMMEMORATES OF THOSE WHO HAVE DEPARTED (DIED), EITHER KNOWN OR UNKNOWN PEOPLE,

ALL SOULS DAY IS JUST LIKE THE TIME OF DAVID, WHEN HE & HIS MEN GRIEF & FASTED ALL TOGETHER AS THEY COMMEMORATES FOR THE DEATH OF SAUL AND JONATHAN AND ALL THE FALLEN (DIED) COMRADES NOT JUST 1 DAY, BUT FOR 7 DAYS:

1 Samuel 31:12-13 (New American Bible) [12] all their warriors set out, and after marching throughout the night, removed THE BODIES OF SAUL AND HIS SONS from the wall of Beth-shan, and brought them to Jabesh, where they cremated them. [13] Then THEY TOOK THEIR BONES AND BURIED them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh, and fasted for seven days.

2 Samuel 1:12 (New American Bible) “They mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the soldiers of the LORD of the clans of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword”

IMAGINE THAT? DAVID & HIS PEOPLE, ALL TOGETHER COMMEMORATES THE DEPARTED SAUL & HIS SON FOR 7 DAYS, ON THE OTHER HAND, CATHOLICS ALL TOGETHER COMMEMORATES THE DEPARTED EVEN JUST JUST FOR 1 DAY (NOVEMBER 2),

HERE, THEY SHOWED HOW LOVE BEING GIVEN TO DEPARTED PERSONS, SINCE DEATH CANNOT SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE, AND FROM THE THE LORD,

Romans 8:35, 38-39 (New American Bible) [35] What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? [38] For I am convinced that NEITHER DEATH, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, [39] nor height, nor depth, NOR ANY OTHER CREATURE WILL BE ABLE TO SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD in Christ Jesus our Lord.

EVEN THOUGH OUR LOVE ONES, RELATIVES, FRIENDS WERE DEPARTED, BUT THEY’RE NOT SEPARATED TO US, AND STILL PART (MEMBER) AND CONNECTED TO ONE BODY IN CHRIST.

Romans 12:4-5 (Douay-Rheims Bible) [4] For as in one body we have many members, but all the members have not the same office: [5] So we, being many, are one body in Christ; and every one members one of another

ANSWER 2:

BY PRAYING ALL TOGETHER FOR THE DEPARTED ON THE DESIGNATED DAY LIKE ALL SOULS DAY, WE CAN HELP THEM TO SHORTEN THEIR PERIOD OF TIME IN THE PURGATORY FOR THEIR FINAL ENTRY INTO FULLNESS OF HEAVEN. BY HAVING MASSES, OR BY PRAYERS (like novena or private prayer), AND BY OTHER GOOD WORKS.

THESE ACTS HELPS A SOUL OF THE DEAD TO ATTAIN QUICKLY STEPS INTO HEAVEN, IN THIS SENSE, IT SHOWS OUR GREATEST ACTS OF CHARITY & LOVE WE CAN OFFER FOR THE DEPARTED ONES:

Sirach 7:33 (New Jerusalem Bible) “LET YOUR GENEROSITY EXTEND to all the living, do not withhold it EVEN FROM THE DEAD.”

SEE? GENEROSITY IS FOR ALL, ANY ACTS OF GENEROSITY, SUCH AS KINDNESS BY DEEDS, PRAYERS, MERCY, CHARITIES, IS FOR ALL, NOT JUST FOR THE LIVING, BUT THE DEAD AS WELL. THAT’S WHY CATHOLICS FLOCKED TO THEIR CHURCHES & CEMETERIES ON ALL SOULS DAY, TO OFFER PRAYERS IN MEMORY OF THEIR DEPARTED RELATIVES & FRIENDS.

EVEN THE LORD HIMSELF BLESS TO THOSE WHO HAVE A COMPASSION NOT JUST TO THE LIVING, BUT TO THE DEAD AS WELL:

Ruth 2:20 (New American Bible) “May he be blessed by the LORD, who is ever MERCIFUL TO THE LIVING AND TO THE DEAD,” Naomi exclaimed to her daughter-in-law; and she continued, “He is a relative of ours, one of our next of kin.”

CONCLUSION :

WE SHOULD BE GENEROUS IN HELPING THE POOR SOULS IN PURGATORY, WHO LONG FOR GOD. THE BEST THING WE CAN DO FOR THEM IS TO HAVE PRAY FOR THEM TO THE LORD, OR HAVING MASSES OFFERED FOR THEM.

THE CHURCH PUTS NO LIMIT TO THE TIME DURING WHICH WE MAY PRAY OR OFFER MASSES FOR THE SUFFERING SOULS IN PURGATORY.

IF WE CANNOT HAVE A MASS SAID, WE SHOULD AT LEAST HEAR MASSES FOR OUR DEAR DEPARTED. IF GOD SO WILLED, A SINGLE MASS COULD RELEASE ALL THE SOULS IN PURGATORY. WE SHOULD OFFER MASSES ESPECIALLY ON ALL SOULS’ DAY AND ON THE ANNIVERSARIES OF DEATH OF OUR RELATIVES AND FRIENDS

25 Bible Passages on Purgatory

PurgatoryMist

[public domain / Pixabay]

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From my bestselling 1996 book, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism, pp. 123-145. The introductory material of the chapter (definitions) is omitted; also a few quotations. Footnoting numbers are from my original manuscript and differ from the present Sophia edition. All Bible passages are from RSV.

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Psalm 66:12 Thou didst let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet thou hast brought us forth to a spacious place.

This verse was considered a proof of purgatory by Origen [4] and St. Ambrose, [5] who posits the water of baptism and the fire of purgatory.

Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

Isaiah 4:4 When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. (see also Isaiah 1:25-26)

St. Francis de Sales, the great Catholic apologist of the 16th century, commented on this verse as follows:

This purgation made in the spirit of judgment and of burning is understood of Purgatory by St. Augustine, in the 20th Book of the City of God, chapter 25. And in fact this interpretation is favoured by the words preceding, in which mention is made of the salvation of men, and also by the end of the chapter, where the repose of the blessed is spoken of; wherefore that which is said — “the Lord shall wash away the filth” — is to be understood of the purgation necessary for this salvation. And since it is said that this purgation is to be made in the spirit of heat and of burning, it cannot well be understood save of Purgatory and its fire. [6].

Isaiah 6:5-7 And I said:”Woe is me! for I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” Then flew one of the seraphim to me, having in his hand a burning coal which he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin forgiven.

This passage is a noteworthy example of what happens when men experience God’s presence directly. An immediate recognition of one’s own unholiness occurs, along with the corresponding feeling of inadequacy. Like Isaiah, we must all undergo a self-conscious and voluntary purging upon approaching God more closely than in this present life.

Few doctrines are clearer in Scripture than the necessity of absolute holiness in order to enter heaven. On this, Protestants and Catholics are in total agreement. Therefore, the fundamental disagreement on this subject is: how long does this purification upon death take? Certainly, it cannot be logically denied as a possibility that this purging might involve duration.

4 Homily 25 on Numbers.

In Ps. 36; Sermon 3 on Ps. 118.

6 St. Francis de Sales, The Catholic Controversy (CON), tr. Henry B. Mackey, Rockford, IL: TAN Books, 1989 (orig. 1596), 358 (Part 3, Article 2: “Purgatory”).

Micah 7:8-9 Rejoice not over me, O mine enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me forth to the light; I shall behold his deliverance. (see also Leviticus 26:41,43, Job 40:4-5, Lamentations 3:39)

St. Jerome (d.420) considered this a clear proof of purgatory. [7]

Malachi 3:2-4 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi, and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the Lord. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

Ibid., 358.

St. Francis de Sales recounts the patristic views on this passage:

This place is expounded of a purifying punishment by Origen (Hom. 6 on Exodus), St. Ambrose (On Ps 36), St. Augustine (City of God, Bk. 20, ch. 25), and St. Jerome (on this place). We are quite aware that they understand it of a purgation which will be at the end of the world by the general fire and conflagration, in which will be purged away the remains of the sins of those who will be found alive; but we still are able to draw from this a good argument for our Purgatory. For if persons at that time have need of purgation before receiving the effects of the benediction of the supreme Judge, why shall not those also have need of it who die before that time, since some of these may be found at death to have remains of their imperfections . . . St. Irenaeus in this connection, in chapter 29 of Book V, says that because the militant Church is then to mount up to the heavenly palace of the Spouse, and will no longer have time for purgation, her faults and stains will there and then be purged away by this fire which will precede the judgment. [9]

2 Maccabees 12:39-42, 44-45 . . . Judas and his men went to take up the bodies of the fallen . . . Then under the tunic of every one of the dead they found sacred tokens of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear . . . So they all . . . turned to prayer, beseeching that the sin which had been committed might be wholly blotted out . . . For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.

The Jews offered atonement and prayer for their deceased brethren, who had clearly violated Mosaic Law. Such a practice presupposes purgatory, since those in heaven wouldn’t need any help, and those in hell are beyond it. The Jewish people, therefore, believed in prayer for the dead (whether or not this book is scriptural — Protestants deny that it is). Jesus Christ did not correct this belief, as He surely would have done if it were erroneous (see Matthew 5:22,25-26, 12:32, Luke 12:58-59, 16:9,19-31 below). When our Lord and Savior talks about the afterlife, He never denies the fact that there is a third state, and the overall evidence of His utterances in this regard strongly indicates that He accepted the existence of purgatory.

Matthew 5:22 But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, “You fool!” shall be liable to the hell of fire.

St. Francis de Sales elucidates the implications of this statement of Christ:

It is only the third sort of offence which is punished with hell; therefore in the judgment of God after this life there are other pains which are not eternal or infernal, — these are the pains of Purgatory. One may say that the pains will be suffered in this world; but St. Augustine and the other Fathers understand them for the other world. And again may it not be that a man should die on the first or second offence which is spoken here? And when will such a one pay the penalty due to his offence? . . . Do then as the ancient Fathers did, and say that there is a place where they will be purified, and then they will go to heaven above. [10]

9 St. Francis de Sales, CON, 359-360.

10 Ibid., 373-374.

Matthew 5:25-26 Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny. (see also Luke 12:58-59)

St. Francis de Sales:

Origen, St. Cyprian, St. Hilary, St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, and St. Augustine say that the way which is meant in the whilst thou art in the way [while you are going with him to court] is no other than the passage of the present life: the adversary [accuser] will be our own conscience, . . . as St. Ambrose expounds, and Bede, St. Augustine, St. Gregory [the Great], and St. Bernard. Lastly, the judge is without doubt Our Lord . . . The prison, again, is . . . the place of punishment in the other world, in which, as in a large jail, there are many buildings; one for those who are damned, which is as it were for criminals, the other for those in Purgatory, which is as it were for debt. The farthing, [penny] . . . are little sins and infirmities, as the farthing is the smallest money one can owe.

Now let us consider a little where this repayment . . . is to be made. And we find from most ancient Fathers that it is in Purgatory: Tertullian, [11] Cyprian, [12] Origen, [13] . . . St. Ambrose, [14] St. Jerome [15] . . . Who sees not that in St. Luke the comparison is drawn, not from a murderer or some criminal, who can have no hope of escape, but from a debtor who is thrown into prison till payment, and when this is made is at once let out? This then is the meaning of Our Lord, that whilst we are in this world we should try by penitence and its fruits to pay, according to the power which we have by the blood of the Redeemer, the penalty to which our sins have subjected us; since if we wait till death we shall not have such good terms in Purgatory, when we shall be treated with severity of justice. [16]

Matthew 12:32 And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

If sins can be pardoned in the “age to come” (the afterlife), again, in the nature of things, this must be in purgatory. We would laugh at a man who said that he would not marry in this world or the next (as if he could in the next — see Mark 12:25). If this sin cannot be forgiven after death, it follows that there are others which can be. Accordingly, this interpretation was held by St. Augustine, [17] St. Gregory the Great, [18] Bede, [19] and St. Bernard, [20] among others.

11 The Soul, 100,10.

12 Epistle 4,2.

13 Homily 35 on Luke 12.

14 Commentary on Luke 12.

15 Commentary on Matthew 5.

16 St. Francis de Sales,CON, 372-373.

17 City of God, 21:24.

18 Dialogues, 4,39.

19 Commentary on Mark 3.

20 Homily 66 in Cant.

Luke 16:9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations. (read Luke 16:1-13 for the context)

St. Francis de Sales:

To fail, – what is it but to die? — and the friends, – who are they but the Saints? The interpreters all understand it so; whence two things follow, — that the Saints can help men departed, and that the departed can be helped by the Saints . . . Thus is this passage expounded by St. Ambrose, and by St. Augustine. [21] But the parable Our Lord is using is too clear to allow us any doubt of this interpretation; for the similitude is taken from a steward who, being dismissed from his office and reduced to poverty [16:2], begged help from his friends, and Our Lord likens the dismissal unto death, and the help begged from friends unto the help one receives after death from those to whom one has given alms. This help cannot be received by those who are in Paradise or in hell; it is then by those who are in Purgatory. [22]

Luke 16:19-31 There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, full of sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table; . . . the poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried; and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom. And he called out, “Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.” But Abraham said, “Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things, but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.” And he said, “Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.” But Abraham said, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.” And he said, “No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” He said to him, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.”

Zechariah 9:11 As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your captives free from the waterless pit.

Ephesians 4:8-10. . . “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” (In saying, “he ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is he who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)

1 Peter 3:19-20 . . . he went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. (see also 4:6)

21 City of God, 12:27.

22 St. Francis de Sales, CON, 374-375.

Catholic commentator George Leo Haydock states:

Abraham’s bosom — The place of rest, where the souls of the saints resided, till Christ had opened heaven by his death . . . The bosom of Abraham (the common Father of all the faithful) was the place where the souls of the saints, and departed patriarchs, waited the arrival of their Deliverer. It was thither that Jesus went after his death; as it is said in the Creed, he descended into hellto deliver those who were detained there, and who might at Christ’s ascension enter into heaven (see 1 Peter 3:19, Matthew 8:11) . . .

[on 1 Peter 3:19-20]: These spirits in prison, to whom Christ went to preach after his death, were not in heaven, nor yet in the hell of the damned; because heaven is no prison, and Christ did not go to preach to the damned . . . In this prison souls would not be detained unless they were indebted to divine justice, nor would salvation be preached to them unless they were in a state that was capable of receiving salvation. [23]

At the very least, these passages prove that there can and does exist a third (and intermediate) state after death besides heaven and hell. Thus, purgatory is not a priori unthinkable from a biblical perspective (as many Protestants casually assume). True, the Hebrew Sheol (Greek Hades – netherworld) is not absolutely identical to purgatory (both righteous and unrighteous go there), but it is nevertheless strikingly similar. Sheol is referred to frequently throughout the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 32:22, 2 Samuel 22:6, Psalm 16:10, 18:5, 55:15, 86:13, 116:3, 139:8, Proverbs 9:18, 23:14, Isaiah 5:14, 14:9,15, Ezekiel 31:16-17, 32:21,27). In Jewish apocalyptic literature (in the few hundred years before Christ), the notion of divisions in Sheol is found (for instance, in Enoch 22:1-14).

The Christian hell is equivalent to the New Testament Gehenna or “Lake of Fire”. Gehenna was literally the burning ash-heap outside Jerusalem, and was used as the name for hell by Christ (Matthew 5:22,29-30, 10:28, 18:9, 23:15,33, Mark 9:43,45,47, Luke 12:5 — cf. James 3:6). “Lake of fire” occurs only in Revelation as a chilling description of the horrors of hell into which the damned would be thrown (Revelation 19:20, 20:10,14-15, 21:8).

We know from Scripture that a few Old Testament saints went to heaven before Christ went to Sheol and led (presumably) the majority of the pre-Christian righteous there (Ephesians 4:8-10 and 1 Peter 3:19-20). Elijah went straight to heaven by a whirlwind, as we are informed in 2 Kings 2:11. It is also generally thought by all sides that Enoch went directly to heaven as well (Genesis 5:24). Moses came with Elijah to the Mount of Transfiguration to talk with Jesus (Matthew 17:1-3, Mark 9:4, Luke 9:30-31). By implication, then, it could be held that he, too, had been in heaven, and by further logical inference, other Old Testament saintly figures.

It follows that, even before Christ, there was a “two-tiered” afterlife for the righteous: some, such as Elijah, Enoch and likely Moses and others, went to heaven, whereas a second, larger group went temporarily to Sheol. Likewise, now the elect of God can go straight to heaven if sufficiently holy, or to purgatory as a necessary stopping-point in order to attain to the proper sanctity becoming of inhabitants of heavenly glory. Therefore, it is neither true that all righteous dead before Christ went solely to Sheol, nor that all after His Resurrection went, and go, to heaven. On the other hand, the reprobate dead in Sheol (or Hades) eventually are sentenced to hell (Revelation 20:13-15).

John Henry Cardinal Newman comments:

Our Saviour, as we suppose, did not go to the abyss assigned to the fallen Angels, but to those mysterious mansions where the souls of all men await the judgment. That He went to the abode of blessed spirits is evident, from His words addressed to the robber on the cross, when He also called it Paradise; that He went to some other place besides Paradise may be conjectured from St. Peter’s saying, He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient (1 Peter 3:19-20). The circumstances then that these two abodes of disembodied good and bad, are called by one name, Hades, . . . seems clearly to show that Paradise is not the same as Heaven, but a resting-place at the foot of it. Let it be further remarked, that Samuel, when brought from the dead, in the witch’s cavern, said Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up(1 Samuel 28:15), words which would seem quite inconsistent with his being then already in Heaven. [24]

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble – each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

This is a clear and obvious allusion to purgatory, or at least, even for the most skeptical person, something exceedingly similar to it. Thus thought the Fathers, such as St. Cyprian, [25] St. Ambrose,[26] St. Jerome, [27] St. Gregory the Great, [28] Origen, [29] and St. Augustine:

Lord, rebuke me not in Your indignation, nor correct me in Your anger [Psalm 38:1]. . . . In this life may You cleanse me and make me such that I have no need of the corrective fire, which is for those who are saved, but as if by fire . . . For it is said: He shall be saved, but as if by fire [1 Corinthians 3:15]. And because it is said that he shall be saved, little is thought of that fire. Yet plainly, though we be saved by fire, that fire will be more severe than anything a man can suffer in this life. [30]

St. Francis de Sales observes:

The Apostle uses two similitudes. The first is of an architect who with solid materials builds a valuable house on a rock: the second is of one who on the same foundation erects a house of boards, reeds, straw. Let us now imagine that a fire breaks out in both the houses. That which is of solid material will be out of danger, and the other will be burnt to ashes. And if the architect be in the first he will be whole and safe; if he be in the second, he must, if he would escape, rush through fire and flame, and shall be saved yet so that he will bear the marks of having been in fire . . . The fire by which the architect is saved can only be understood of the fire of Purgatory . . . . . .

When he . . . speaks of him who has built on the foundation, wood, straw, stubble, he shows that he is not speaking of the fire which will precede the day of judgment, since by this will pass not only those who have built with these light materials, but also those who shall have built in gold, silver, etc. All this interpretation, besides that it agrees very well with the text, is also most authentic, as having been followed with common consent by the ancient Fathers. [31]

1 Corinthians 15:29 Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?

St. Francis de Sales:

This passage properly understood evidently shows that it was the custom of the primitive Church to watch, pray, fast, for the souls of the departed. For, firstly, in the Scriptures to be baptized is often taken for afflictions and penances; as in Luke 12:50 . . . and in St. Mark 10:38-9 . . . — in which places Our Lord calls pains and afflictions baptism [cf. Matthew 3:11, 20:22-3, Luke 3:16].

This then is the sense of that Scripture: if the dead rise not again, what is the use of mortifying and afflicting oneself, of praying and fasting for the dead? And indeed this sentence of St. Paul resembles that of 2 Maccabees 12:44 [cited above]: It is superfluous and vain to pray for the dead if the dead rise not again. . . . Now it was not for those in Paradise [heaven], who had no need of it, nor for those in hell, who could get no benefit from it; it was, then, for those in Purgatory. Thus did St. Ephraim [d.373] expound it. [32]

The “penance” interpretation is supported contextually by the next three verses, where the Apostle speaks of being in peril every hour, and dying every day. St. Paul certainly doesn’t condemn the practice, whatever it is (his question being merely rhetorical). Given these facts, and the striking resemblance to 2 Maccabees 12:44, the traditional Catholic interpretation seems the most plausible.

In any event, Protestants are at almost a complete loss in coherently explaining this verse — one of the most difficult in the New Testament for them to interpret. It simply does not comport with their theology, which utterly disallows any penitential or prayerful efforts on behalf of the deceased.

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body.

Our sins are judged here rather than forgiven, and this takes place in the next life. The standard Protestant theology of the judgment seat of Christ is not dissimilar to the notion of the chastising purifications of purgatory. There is a direct relation between judgment and the purging of sin. We are punished, in some fashion — or so St. Paul tells us in this verse — for evil deeds done. The pains of purgatory are roughly identical, or else highly akin, to this punishment, since they are the taking away of those sinful habits, tendencies, and affinities to which we have become attached. Conversely, we are rewarded for good deeds. As there are differential rewards for righteousness, so there are differential sufferings in purgatory for unrighteousness, so that a certain parallelism exists between the two concepts.

This passage is a sort of liaison between the theological categories justification and purgatory (and penance) — the former being the “positive” establishment of sanctity, and the latter being the “negative” removal of unholiness. This congruity between reward and punishment is even more clearly seen in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 above, where St. Paul freely intermingles rewards and punishments, in the context of purgatorial fire. Given the obvious affinity of that passage with this one, each can be legitimately interpreted in light of the other. In doing so, the Catholic interpretation, with its distinctive understanding of faith and works, penance and purgatory, is more satisfactory exegetically than the usual Protestant interpretations, which are uncomfortable, by and large, with differential rewards and punishments (seeing these as somewhat incompatible with faith alone).

2 Corinthians 7:1. . . let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, and make holiness perfect in the fear of God.(see also 1 Thessalonians 3:13, 4:7)

Here is a description of that analogous process of sanctification in this life which will be greatly intensified and made completely efficacious in the next, in purgatory.

Philippians 2:10-11 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Revelation 5:3,13 And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it. . . .And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all therein, saying, “To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honour and glory and might for ever and ever!”

If God refuses to receive prayer, praise and worship from the unrepentant sinner (Psalm 66:18, Proverbs 1:28-30, Isaiah 1:15, 59:2, Jeremiah 6:20, Amos 5:21-24, Micah 3:4, Malachi 1:10, John 9:31, Hebrews 10:38), why would He permit the damned to undertake this practice?

Furthermore, if God does not compel human beings to follow Him and to enjoy His presence for eternity contrary to their free will, then it seems that He would not — as far as we can tell from Scripture — compel them to praise Him, as this would be meaningless, if not repulsive.

Therefore, “under the earth” must refer to purgatory. Revelation 5:13 especially makes sense under this interpretation, as the praise spoken there does not in any way appear forced, but rather, heartfelt and seemingly spontaneous (which would not be at all expected of persons eternally consigned to hell — see Matthew 8:29, Luke 4:34, 8:28, James 2:19).

Some Protestant commentators readily admit that “under the earth” is a reference to those in Sheol or Hades. Granting this interpretation for the sake of argument, most Protestants would presumably regard Hades in this instance (after Christ’s death — see Revelation 5:12) as simply the “holding tank” for those ultimately destined for hell (the elect having been taken to heaven by Christ). But this leads straight back to the exegetical problem of God neither desiring nor accepting such praise from even the obstinate sinner, let alone the damned.

The acceptance of a third, intermediate state in the afterlife for the righteous as well as the reprobate, even after Christ’s Resurrection, is a seriously troublesome position if one holds to the tenets of mainstream Reformational eschatological theology. For — given the Protestant view on justification — why would (or should) there be any second state for the “saved” once the road to heaven was paved by Christ? This state of affairs leads inexorably to considerations of differential merit and reward, such that a whole class is relegated to continued separation from Christ in some partial sense, and by implication, punishment, since these children of God have not yet attained to full union with God in eternal happiness and bliss.

Once it is conceded that (dead) righteousmen praise God from “under the earth,”the standard Protestant position of all the saved “going straight to heaven at death” crumbles, for the simple reason that this group is contrasted with those in heaven. Furthermore, a position that “under the earth” refers metaphorically to merely all dead righteous (who, according to Protestantism are in heaven), makes the phraseology of Philippians 2:10 and Revelation 5:3,13 absurdly redundant, since St. Paul and St. John would be saying, “Those in heaven, and on earth, and in heaven . . . .”

Again, the only reasonable alternate interpretation, given all the above data, is to posit the existence of purgatory, from which praise to God emanates — it being that portion of the Church stationed for a time in the portico of heaven, so to speak.

2 Timothy 1:16-18 May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me; he was not ashamed of my chains,but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me eagerly and found me — may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day — and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.

Onesiphorus appears to be dead at the time St. Paul writes this letter to Timothy. If that is true, then Paul is praying for the dead. One well-known Protestant commentary [33] admits that Onesiphorus is likely dead, citing the cross-reference of 2 Timothy 4:19, yet takes the remarkably incoherent position that St. Paul is praying for his conduct in life and reward at the Judgment. Thus, the admitted prayer (1:18), since it supposedly refers to the earthly life of the intended recipient, somehow thereby ceases to be a prayer for the dead even though it is pleading for mercy on the Day of Judgment for one who has indeed departed!

Now, of course, St. Paul could also pray for a living person to be recompensed justly by God, but this is missing the point, and is an example of the classic logical fallacy of proposing a “distinction without a difference.” For what distinguishes prayers for a living or a dead man, where the final Judgment is concerned?

Protestants say that it is impermissible to pray for the dead on this score since their fate is already sealed and it will be to no avail. The error here lies in the fact that the person’s fate had always been known (God being omniscient and out of time, foreordaining in a mysterious way the beginning and end of all things). In both cases our knowledge is paltry and altogether insufficient as to the person’s destiny. We pray out of charity (or, “desire,” as it were), and because we are commanded to, having been assured by the inspired biblical revelation that it has an effect.

The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentaryanother respected evangelical reference, takes a different position: “His household would hardly retain his name after the master was dead . . . Nowhere has Paul prayers for the dead, which is fatal to the theory . . . that he was dead.” [34]

But Word Pictures in the New Testament, a six-volume linguistic commentary by the great Greek scholar A.T. Robertson, states: “Apparently Onesiphorus is now dead as is implied by the wish in 1:18.” [35]

On the face of it, why couldn’t St. Paul be referring to the house of Onesiphorus in the same sense in which we speak of a deceased person’s “surviving wife and children?” His statement in 1:18 is similar to our spontaneous utterances at funerals, such as “May God rest his soul,” etc. (sometimes spoken or thought despite theologies to the contrary). And if Paul is “wishing” for benefits for the soul of a dead man, as Robertson holds, how is this essentially any different from praying for the dead?

To conclude, of the three prominent evangelical Protestant commentaries surveyed, two hold that St. Paul is “praying,” and one that he is “wishing.” Two conclude that Onesiphorus is probably dead, with a third denying this. It might be supposed with good reason that if reputable, scholarly Protestant commentators are more or less forced into (for them) uncomfortable positions due to the inescapable clarity of a text, perhaps the Catholic interpretation is the best one, as it requires no unnatural straining. All that is necessary is the willingness to accept the practice of prayers for the dead, for which there is ample scriptural warrant, Jewish precedent, and abundant support in the early Christian Church, as will be demonstrated subsequently.

Hebrews 12:14 Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. (see also 12:1,5-11,15,23, Ephesians 5:5, 1 Thessalonians 4:3 1 John 3:2-3)

John Henry Cardinal Newman writes:

The truth itself is declared in one form or another in every part of Scripture. It is told us again and again, that to make sinful creatures holy was the great end which our Lord had in view in taking upon Him our nature, and thus none but the holy will be accepted for His sake at the last day. The whole history of redemption, the covenant of mercy in all its parts and provisions, attests the necessity of holiness in order to salvation; as indeed even our natural conscience bears witness also . . .

Even supposing a man of unholy life were suffered to enter heaven, he would not be happy there; so that it would be no mercy to permit him to enter . . . We conclude that any man, whatever his habits, tastes, or manner of life, if once admitted into heaven, would be happy there . . . [But] here every man can do his own pleasure, but there he must do God’s pleasure . . . . . Let us alone! What have we to do with thee? is the sole thought and desire of unclean souls, even while they acknowledge His majesty. None but the holy can look upon the Holy One; without holiness no man can endure to see the Lord . . .

Heaven is not heaven, is not a place of happiness except to the holy . . . There is a moral malady which disorders the inward sight and taste; and no man labouring under it is in a condition to enjoy what Scripture calls the fulness of joy in God’s presence, and pleasures at His right hand forevermore. [36]

Newman explains (in effect) why purgatory (which he accepts elsewhere, even before his conversion to Catholicism in 1845) is a necessary and indeed, ultimately desirable process for all of us imperfect sinners to undergo, in order to properly approach God in His unfathomable majesty and holiness.

Hebrews 12:29 . . . our God is a consuming fire.

(see also Exodus 3:2-6, 19:18, 24:17, Numbers 31:23, Deuteronomy 4:24, 9:3, Psalm 66:10-12, Malachi 3:2, 4:1, Hebrews 10:27, 31)

Revelation 21:27 But nothing unclean shall enter it, nor any one who practises abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

The relevance of this biblical data in terms of its analogy to the idea of purgatory is clear. The abundance of such scriptural evidence for purgatory led to a consensus among the Church Fathers as well. Protestant church historian Philip Schaff, who can definitely be considered a “hostile witness” as pertains this topic, summarized the belief of the early Christian Church:

These views of the middle state in connection with prayers for the dead show a strong tendency to the Roman Catholic doctrine of Purgatory . . . there are traces of the purgatorial idea of suffering the temporal consequences of sin, and a painful struggle after holiness . . . The common people and most of the fathers understood it of a material fire; but this is not a matter of faith . . . A material fire would be very harmless without a material body. [37]

Despite all this, Protestantism rejected the beliefs in purgatory and prayers for the dead, with the exception of Anglicans, many of whom have retained some form of these. Popular Christian apologist C. S. Lewis was one of these traditional Anglicans. In one of his last books, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer,[38] he stated that he prayed for the dead, among whom were many of his loved ones, and that he believed in purgatory, comparing it to an intense rinsing of the mouth at the dentist’s office. He thought no one would want to enter heaven unclean, as this would be downright embarrassing.

Read more from the source & comments: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/davearmstrong/2015/11/25-bible-passages-on-purgatory.html

23 Haydock’s Catholic Family Bible and Commentary, New York: 1859; rep. Monrovia, CA: Catholic Treasures, 1991, 1376-1377, 1611.

24 Sermon: “The Intermediate State,” 1836.

25 Book 4, epistle 2.

26 Commentary on 1 Cor 3; Sermon 20; Commentary on Ps 116.

27 Commentary on Amos 4.

28 Dialogues 4,39.

29 6th Homily on Exodus.

30 Explanations of the Psalms, 37, 3. From Jurgens, William A., ed. and tr., The Faith of the Early Fathers (FEF), 3 volumes, Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1979, vol. 3, 17.

31 St. Francis de Sales, CON, 360-362.

32 Ibid., 368-369.

33 Guthrie, D. and J.A. Motyer, eds., The New Bible Commentary, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 3rd ed., 1970, 1178. The Lutheran Johannes Bengel (1687-1752), and the Anglican Henry Alford (1810-71), both highly-respected expositors, also held that Onesiphorus was dead.

34 Jamieson, Robert, Andrew R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1961 (orig. 1864), 1376.

35 Robertson, A.T., Word Pictures in the New Testament, Nashville: Broadman Press, 1930, 6 volumes., vol. 4, 615.

36 Sermon: “Holiness Necessary for Future Blessedness,” 1834 (On Hebrews 12:14).

37 Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church, vol. 2, “Ante-Nicene Christianity: A.D. 100-325,” 5th ed., New York: 1889; rep. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans,ch. 12, sec. 156, 604-606.

38 New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1964, 107-109.

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Commemoration of the faithful departed (All Souls Day – November 2)

The History of All Saints and All Souls Day

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Readings & Reflections with Cardinal Tagle’s Video: The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls Day), November 2  http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2015/11/01/readings-reflections-with-cardinal-tagles-video-the-commemoration-of-all-the-faithful-departed-all-souls-november-22015/

Masses of Mercy: Why We Offer Prayers for the Dead http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/11/03/masses-of-mercy-why-we-offer-prayers-for-the-dead/

What is purgatory? Purgatory  is the state of those who die in God’s friendship, assured of their eternal salvation, but who still have need of purification to enter the happiness of heaven (CCC: 1030-1031, 1054).

How can we help the souls being purified in purgatory? Because of the communion of saints, the faithful who are still pilgrims on earth are able to help the souls in purgatory by offering prayers in suffrage for them, especially the Eucharistic sacrifice. They also help them by almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance (CCC: 1032).

In what does hell consist? Hell consists in the eternal damnation of those who die in mortal sin through their own free choice. The principal suffering of hell is eternal separation from God in whom alone we can have the life and happiness for which we were created and for which we long Christ proclaimed this reality with the words, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire” (Matthew 25:41; CCC: 1033-1035, 1056-1057).

Death does not put an end to life with loved ones in Christ. It actually enhances Life. “What is the Church if not the assembly of all the saints? The communion of saints is the Church” (CCC: 945). “Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness… They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus…. So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped” (CCC: 956). “In full consciousness of this communion of the whole Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the Church in its pilgrim members, from the very earliest days of Christian religion, has honored with great respect the memory of the dead; and because it is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins she offers her suffrages for them (2 Macc 12:45). Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective” (CCC: 958).