The following comes from an Oct. 30 story by Valerie Schmalz in Catholic San Francisco.
…. 1. Purgatory exists: The Catechism of the Catholic Church states there are three states of the church, those who are living on earth, those who are in purgatory and those who are in heaven with God.
2. It is not a second chance: The soul is already saved. Purgatory is a place to pay off debts for sins that were forgiven but for which sufficient penance had not been done on earth.
3. It is not an actual place: Blessed John Paul II said in an Aug.4, 1999 general audience that purgatory was a state of being: “The term does not indicate a place, but a condition of existence.” Pope Benedict XVI said in a Jan. 12, 2011 general audience, “This is purgatory, an interior fire.”
4. Purgatory is not punishment but God’s mercy: “Few people can say they are prepared to stand before God,” says Susan Tassone, author of “Prayers, Promises, and Devotions for the Holy Souls in Purgatory” (Our Sunday Visitor, 2012). “If we didn’t have purgatory there would be very few people in heaven, because it would be heaven or hell. It is his mercy that allows us to prepare to be with him in heaven.”
5. Our prayers for the souls in purgatory help them achieve heaven: “The doctrine of purgatory recalls how radically we take love of neighbor,” says Sulpician Father Gladstone Stevens, vice rector and dean of men at St. Patrick’s Seminary & University, Menlo Park. “The obligation to pray for each other does not cease when biological life ends. God wants us to always pray for each other, work for each other’s redemption.”
6. The souls in purgatory can intercede for those on earth but cannot pray for themselves: The Catechism of the Catholic Church (958) states: “… the church in its pilgrim members, from the very earliest days of the Christian religion, has honored with great respect the memory of the dead; … Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.”
7. God does not send souls to purgatory – each soul sends itself to purgatory: Once a soul sees itself with the light of God, it realizes it cannot stay in his presence until all imperfections are wiped away.“The soul chooses,” Tassone says.
8. There is no fire in purgatory: But each soul is aflame with the pain of being separated from God and with the desire to be purified so it can be in the beatific vision. Each soul also feels joy knowing it will one day be with God, Father Stevens and Tassone say.
9. There is a special day and month to pray for the souls in purgatory: Nov. 2 or All Souls’ Day is the day set aside and November is the month in the liturgical calendar to pray especially for all the souls who are in purgatory. Nov. 2 is called “The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed,” but the church asks us to pray always for each other, including for the souls in purgatory.
10. Prayers for souls in purgatory always count: Pope Benedict says in his encyclical Spe Salve (“On Christian Hope”), regarding the souls of the dead, “ … in the communion of souls simple terrestrial time is superseded. It is never too late to touch the heart of another, nor is it ever in vain.”
To read the original story, click here.
I will be happy to make to the last row of purgatory after I die….
God invites you to heaven.
Funny thing — recent polls and literature suggest that few, very few, “Catholics” believe in Purgatory. And why is that? The answer is that the “Modern” Catholic Church is ashamed to stand behind the belief in Purgatory, just as it also rejects the notion that many people on earth actually go to Hell. And, how do we know that there is no fire in Purgatory, as Ms. Schmalz opines? In fact, it would make excellent sense that there is physical, as well as emotional torment, in Purgatory. It is not just a place to go where things are OK but not yet perfect.
When is the last time a priest (or a bishop) said anything at all about Purgatory, especially when speaking of someone that just died? Too bad that grieving families fail to pray for the soul of their loved one who is much more likely than not in Purgatory, than in Heaven, playing the “Heavenly back nine” with his also-dead buddies (which is the type of homily almost universally given now by Catholic priests at funeral masses, kind of like the dead one just went to a sort of Disneyland).
Jesus “wept” when he stood before the tomb of Lazarus. Was He sad for the loss of his friend, or for the fact that Lazarus was probably going through some tough times in Purgatory? The Catholic Church should make its beliefs known to all, and make the Faith actively recognize the reality of Purgatory, or conclusively junk the belief now — kind of what they have been trying to do with the notion of “Limbo.”
Oh, yes, St. Christopher. The latest memo says – let me see – no fire in Purgatory. Guess that means that – poof – the fire is gone. Just like Hell.
But I doubt we’ll hear anything conclusive from anybody on this or any subject. Clarity is the one true anathema.
I have tried in my above comments to add some clarity. I hope it helps.
May God have mercy on an amoral Amerika!
Viva Cristo Rey!
God bless, yours in Their Hearts
Kenneth M. Fisher, Founding Director
Concerned Roman Catholics of America, Inc.
Kenneth, thank you and God bless. Please forgive my sarcastic posting of earlier. You are absolutely correct in that the opinions expressed in the above article are just that – opinions. To include the opinions of past Popes who have no authority to change reality.
That said, a good friend of mine who makes a tidy living as a freelance writer, is forever trying to get me into the business. Her advice: Don’t obsess about what you do and what you do not know. Present your article from a position of authority and – voila – you become the authority. People are conditioned to believe that anything published is by virtue of it’s getting published is somehow the Truth.
Thank you again for lending clarity not only to this thread, but to the whole of California Catholic Daily!
Kind of like how so many who believed the “Da Vinci Code”, even though the author clearly said it was fiction, and it was filled with error, even as to the size of the painting. Oh well, I have always been a Doubting Thomas. Even in high school if I did not believe what was in the textbook, I would give the answer they wanted on the test, but precede it with “According to the book or textbook”. That meant, “Here’s the answer you want, but I do not believe it.”
This is why there are so many inaccuracies and falsehoods in the media and on the internet, I guess. People now think that is a good thing. When the reader knows about the subject that you write about as if you are an authority and catches the inaccuracies, you become the stupid idiot that doesn’t know what they are talking about. I would take your “friend’s” advice with a whole lotta grains of salt.
My friend is in the “business” of freelance writing, k. She actually makes a living doing it. That said, her advice with regard to writing freelance is precisely what the experts advise if one is attempting to create a market niche/name that will sell. (Used in her case to support her FAMILY)
Speaking with authority about one’s opinion and experience is what folks have done for centuries – we’re not talking about making stuff up or pulling it out of ‘dark places.’ Although some do as much.
Please try to keep comments in context… and avoid the use of parenthesis to intimate that my friend is no friend. Your veiled hostility is neither understood or appreciated.
Her advice: Don’t obsess about what you do and what you do not know. Present your article from a position of authority and – voila – you become the authority. People are conditioned to believe that anything published is by virtue of it’s getting published is somehow the Truth.
That is what you wrote. Now you want to backpedal.
It is an absolute outrage. There is no morality anymore.
And they are quotation marks, not parentheses.
You can’t make a silk purse out a sow’s ear.
Nobody is backpedalling, k. And what in the world has you in such a dither? My friend does not write on religious subjects. She is a freelance writer. And *nowhere* did I state that one should adopt such an attitude regarding spiritual matters.
Goodness sakes. Have a relaxing Sunday and take a powder. As for the sows ear, I’m happy my friend has found a way to supplement her homeschooling efforts. She writes on a wide variety of home subjects – but I won’t lend you any info on who she is, although you could likely benefit. But these outrageous attacks of yours – even on other threads with regard to me – is beyond the pale.
Purgatory is the new Limbo……and on its way out as a doctrine. This is a very controversial teaching that is relatively new to the Church. The Church simply had a theological fight about the so called “middle ground” that some thought MAY exist and went through the Bible to find vague and ambiguous quotes that could be liberally construed as a new Church doctrine. A doctrine as important as the Church thinks Purgatory is would have been disclosed by Christ himself and it wasn’t. If the Macabbees burned candles for their dead, well mazel tov, but that doesn’t carve out a new doctrine of Purgatory. I wasn’t aware the Macabees were so highly regarded that they merited such an important doctrine of salvation that even Christ ignored in his time on earth. Some priests don’t believe in it, but are careful not the say so. Most Purgatory boosters say it’s fire, but the new changes say it’s not. Who knows. I focus on Christ as the Redeemer, not on yet another controversial doctrine that is cooked up at the Vatican courtesy of theorlogical fights that have little relevance to the laity in the pews or to Salvation.
Oh, good grief. Here we go again. The Catholic Church is not sola scriptura – but depends also on the Tradition passed on by the Apostles.
That said, if you’re into what Christ said himself, you should know that marriage is between a man and a woman, too. Christ said so. (And no, you didn’t mention that in this posting, GC, but come on.)
Those clerics who ‘secretly’ believe that which the Church doesn’t teach are nothing but suspect. And they are not that closed mouthed about it either. What a farce. But hey, what the clerics believe defines Truth, right? All legal and wrapped up in a bow. At least according to the ‘new’ rules and whatever majority can wrangle their way into the power chair.
So, having said that, why doesn’t some fun loving modernist concerned for the salvation of countless souls – oh unite thou Bleeding Hearts – just petition the Pope to unbind the faithful from any sin. As in, “Sin is an outdated doctrine that is unconcerned with the salvation of souls!!!”
That way we can all get on with life and anticipate salvation by mandate of the people!!!
Anne Malley, we have yet to figure out what Good Cause’s good cause is. He does keep me laughing though.
I was young and headstrong once too, Ann T. And how. Love that you’d answer your test questions with ‘…according to the book.’ That’s all anybody wants anymore. Just regurgitate the &#@ we give you and – hallelujah – all’s well. Then again, if I were the one responsible for the &#@, I might be spinning it that way too.
There but by the grace of God go each and every one of us. So let’s keep at Good Cause until we get to the last layer of onion skin!!! If the dialogue goes on long enough, experience will prove the teacher if nothing else.
You should rejoice in the truth that the good cause of Purgatory exists. There is purifying hope for all who sincerely repent of living only for bad causes.
” The devil does not bring sinners to hell with their eyes open:
he first blinds them with the malice of their own sins.
Before we fall into sin, the enemy labours to blind us,
that we may not see the evil we do
and the ruin we bring upon ourselves by offending God.
After we commit sin, he seeks to make us dumb,
that, through shame, we may conceal our guilt in confession.”
~ St. Alphonsus Liguori ~
good cause, what do you mean by “relatively new” teaching? And when you say that the teaching on Purgatory is “a very controversial teaching”, who but Protestants are opposed to it?
Good cause, wrong. It is alluded to and referred to in the Bible by both Christ himself and St. Paul.
The souls of the Just which, in the moment of death, are burdened with venial sins or temporal punishment due to sins, enter Purgatory. This is Catholic Dogma.
This appeared in the Diocesan Newspaper in San Francisco. Good Job! Maybe it will be reprinted in the Tidings……………………. you think?
JimAroo, from what I can tell, the Tidings used to publish 100% liberal dribble. Now it only publishes about 80% liberal dribble. This is my impression anyway.
All right, all right: I was doing ok with this summary til I got to # 8 that declaratively states “..There is no fire in purgatory..” Wrong, wrong, wrong: CCC 1031 notes: “The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire.” (ref. 1 Cor 3:15; 1 Peter 1:7). Origen (d. ca 254) also speaks of a place of cleansing fire of those who have died, and advocates prayer for the dead. Augustine warns of a purgatorial fire (see Enarration on Psalm 37, no. 3). Also, the CCC 1031 references St Gregory the Great (ca 600 AD) that before the Judgment there is “a purifying fire.” Let’s just stick with the tradition of the CC, Valerie Schmalz, and not try to palliate the truth.
There is some type of a “fire”, an image well-attested by tradition, that purifies, let’s stick with that, and not try to avoid “frightening the children.”
Don’t you know that the new authority of the “catholic” church comes from “leaders” like “good cause”, “Valerie Schmalz, etc. etc. ad nauseam, and not from such old fuddy duddies as Our Lord Himself, Our Blessed Mother, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Francis de Sales etc. etc. ad gloriam!
May God have mercy on an amoral Amerika!
Viva Cristo Rey!
God bless, yours in Their Hearts
Kenneth M. Fisher, Founding Director
Concerned Roman Catholics of America, Inc.
How true, Kenneth. That’s why as a ‘concerned’ Catholic, or should I say as one who is just plain Catholic, I try to focus on maintaining the Faith. That is what the Faith has always taught not the streamlined Core-Curriculum version that would redefine Faith to mean nothing more than a blind, lobotomized obedience to misapplied authority.
Good Cause would do well to learn about the ancient tradition of purgatory that is not “relatively new” to the Church (goes back to the time of Origen at least (250’s AD), as well as attestation in scripture (see prior post) and is actually a dogmatic matter of belief (4 Last Things, which all Catholics must believe in, so it is not “going out as a belief like Limbo” (by the way, which was taught by Augustine one of the 4 original Western Church Fathers, but what does that matter after all. And as for “some priests dont believe in [purgatory]”, that is the weakest argument yet. Some priests dont believe in Mary ever Virgin nor the Immaculate Conception nor the Assumption nor.. (you get the idea).
Clarification: in the CCC, purgatory is listed under the section of the 4 Last Things: it is not one of the 4 Last Things. But belief in purgatory is a “de fide” requirement of Catholics (Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of CAtholic Dogma).
There is a most holy priest Fr. Joseph Dwight (an American) I know who lives in Italy. He has a great website that is dedicated to searching for the Truth. Amongst the articles he has posted is a very good one on Purgatory. It is called the Manuscript on Purgatory or Manuscript of St Mary of the Cross. You can access it at: https://purgatory-manu.blogspot.com/
It is about a suffering soul in Purgatory Sr. Mary Gabriel conversing with Sr. Mary of the Cross.
Thank you Gerard…..hopefully it will help those who need more understanding. Also another good one is Catholic Answers website, they can help also answer any questions or doubts that some may have on said subject. : )
If we accept that Purgatory is a state of existence and not a place, in other words a process we go through to cleanse ourselves of any remaining lack of worthiness to spend eternity in the presence of the Holy Trinity, how could that be a bad thing? We cleanse ourselves when we prepare to go out into the world of sinners!
Also, what difference will it make in how one conducts his or her life in one iota if by some astounding means we could determine in advance whether or not we do go into a state of Purgatory before going to Heaven? The instructions we have been given from God as to how to think, behave, live and pray would not need a single memo describing a single modification from His instructions. What is the point of worrying about this or debating it endlessly in print or even in our minds?
Fear not, we shall all know the truth of these things in time to come. Just live as you have been taught so well by Our Lord, Jesus Christ, all thanks to the Holy Roman Catholic Church, and don’t sweat the small stuff.
My Holy Church is my Mother, and like my own sainted earthly mother, would give up her life in order to keep me from harm. Our Church has had a great deal of time to unravel many of the mysteries that perplex us and she speaks with great authority. I am content and secure in the knowlege that she has the welfare of our souls very much to her mind. The doctrine of purgatory is logical, comforting and merciful, please be careful in being too anxious to canonize your dead, lest you deny them the prayers , masses and novenas that they need to shorten their time in Purgatory. My own dear mother has been gone for 71 years, but I still pray for her every day and I will never stop until I see her face once again.