Existence of Purgatory

Confessions and Commentaries of a Catholic

Both reason and faith tell us that there is a middle ground of expiation, where the soul is cleansed from all stain of sin before it can enter the glory of heaven. “There shall not enter into it anything defiled” (Apoc. 21:27). Christ said, “Amen, I say to thee, thou will not come out from it until thou hast paid the last penny” (Matt. 5:26). Even persons who deny the existence of purgatory instinctively pray for their loved ones who have died. This would be great inconsistency if their reason did not tell them that their prayers would do the dead good. Prayers are useless for those in heaven or hell.

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9 thoughts on “Existence of Purgatory

  1. I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject, but I understand Purgatory less from the judicial aspect and more from a personal aspect: when one turns from sin, there is a natural pain that one can experience. For instance, even though Jesus forgives sins, one can still recoil at the thought of sins committed.

    I think pride makes the best example: when we realize that we were wrong about something we did, even if for only a moment, we have a time where we “feel bad” about our actions. I think that when we die, we will see God in his infinite majesty, and we will see for the first time how sinful we were – we will come to experience the full weight of “what we’ve done” on earth. And we will feel the pain of regret as we struggle to accept God’s love in spite of our wickedness. We can even see that in our earthly interactions: we can sometimes struggle to accept forgiveness when we really regret something. And that forgiveness can feel both good and bad. That, I believe, is one way in which we can feel the pain of purgatory.

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  2. Ok, after reading the original article about Purgatory, to me it makes no sense. If there is a punishment for sins made by the Christian, then it is atoned when he repents, so I don’t see the need to punish an atoned sin. And it comes back to the “good works” doctrine, when you said that works don’t get someone into Heaven, well it seems as though that people are using works (prayer) to get those who are supposedly in Purgatory to Heaven. It is very anti-Biblical if you ask me.

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    • You are saying that when a Christian repents of sin, then there will be no punishment?

      For every sin, there is punishment, even after the sinner repents. If a crime is not punished, then how can God be called “All-Just”?

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      • David repented of his sin with Bathsheba, but he was still punished for his sin on earth, but his sin was taken away after that. Old things had passed away. There is a difference between the sin taken away, and justified.

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      • Jonah, I believe that we have a sort of agreement. Yes, David is a great example of temporal punishment, punishment dealt to forgiven sin. Even though David’s sin was forgiven, there was still punishment for it. Now, my question is, what if a person dies without serving this punishment due to sin?

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