Sunday, March 15, 2009
"In Sacred Scripture, we can grasp certain elements that help us to understand the meaning of [purgatory], even if it is not formally described. They express the belief that we cannot approach God without undergoing some kind of purification."- Pope John Paul II
Translation: We have a theological concept without explicit proof, so any verse that sounds remotely close enough to that concept weighs in as affirmative Biblical evidence.
Purgatory= "The place or condition in which the souls of the just are purified after death and before they can enter heaven." Fr. John A. Hardon .
Purgatory= "The term does not indicate a place, but a condition of existence." Pope John Paul II
Translation: Pick one of these or both: a)Hardon was wrong b) The Pope was not intending to speak infallibly
"It may surprise you to know that the Church makes very few binding statements about what purgatory is. The sections in the Catechism of the Catholic Church are very short. The most important statement is: "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" (CCC 1030)."- This Rock, "Is Purgatory Found in the Bible?"
Translation: We have enough wiggle room to speculate or further develop this doctrine. That is, you can say almost anything about purgatory and still be in harmony with the Roman Catholic Church.
"Purgatory used to be seen as a waiting room or a jail cell where the soul pays reparation for the "temporal punishment for sin" by 'doing time.' In fact, some devotionals used to assign a specific number of years in Purgatory for each sin, and a certain number of years that could be taken off of our sentence in Purgatory for an act of indulgence. I do not know much about this practice, and if anyone knows more about it I would really appreciate if you could explain it more clearly by leaving a comment for this post. The vision of Purgatory as a waiting room or a jail cell has somewhat fallen out of favor among post-Vatican II theologians. One reason is the awareness that Purgatory is experienced before the resurrection of our bodies. Without a body, a soul does not experience time in the same way we do now."-Saint Peter Catholic Church
Translation: Understanding the Roman Catholic doctrine of Purgatory will be different in each generation. That is, each generation of Catholic scholars are given the freedom to speculate and interpret purgatory however they'd like to.
"Just as the doctrine of purgatory flows from the Catholic understanding of grace, so misconceptions flow from a misunderstanding of grace. Errors concerning this doctrine are most prevalent among Protestants due to their teaching of sola fide."-Catholics United for The Faith
Translation: The Roman Catholic template of grace didn't match up to all the information presented in the Bible, so purgatory was put forth to try to make it all work. Sola Fide though can account for all the relevant Biblical passages without importing an extra-biblical concept.
"Certain Protestants, such as C.S. Lewis, have also held to the truth of the doctrine [of Purgatory]"-Catholic Culture
Translation: A smart Protestant believed the Bible and in Purgatory, so should you. Forget doing exegesis, or studying the Bible. Lewis was too smart not to be wrong on Purgatory, but we can't figure out exactly why he wasn't smart enough to be a Roman Catholic....