Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Messages from Purgatory


The latest Tan Books newsletter has announced a new book, Hungry Souls: Supernatural Visits, Messages, and Warnings from Purgatory, in celebration of Holy Souls month.

"...Hungry Souls recounts these stories and many others trustworthy, Church-verified accounts of earthly visitations from the dead in Purgatory. Accompanying these accounts are images from the "Museum of Purgatory" in Rome, which contains relics of encounters with the Holy Souls, including numerous evidences of hand prints burned into clothing and books; burn marks that cannot be explained by natural means or duplicated by artificial ones. Riveting!"


You can read more about the "Museum of Purgatory" here. Interestingly, Tan Books still considers purgatory a fire to be suffered, an idea that tends to be downplayed by many RCs today:

"November is the Month of Holy Souls. In our Charity, we must not neglect to pray for these men and women who are ultimately assured of becoming saints, yet suffer in Purgatory’s fire. They have felt the struggles and crosses of this life and still need our prayers to attain their reward..." source


33 comments:

Kepha said...

A good reminder of what the traditional Roman sensus fidelium believed about Purgatory.

Matthew Bellisario said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew Bellisario said...

You do know that all of these explanations are metaphoric in nature don't you? They are trying to explain something that is supernatural, so it is no surprise that there are different explanations by different people used to try and explain what the experience of purgatory is like for different individuals. You aren't winning over anyone by pointing this out. I don't think anyone really cares. Purgatory exists in some state or place, where the penalty andattachment to sin is purged. Thats all you need to know. You'll find out more about if you ever get there

James Swan said...

Church-verified accounts of earthly visitations from the dead in Purgatory

I wonder how the Church verifies this? This is a much more important thing to be doing than interpreting the Bible.

I'm very tempted to buy the book, but I've been cutting back on buying books- it would've made for a great Halloween read.

James Swan said...

Purgatory exists in some state or place, where the penalty andattachment to sin is purged. Thats all you need to know. You'll find out more about if you ever get there

Purgatory= "The term does not indicate a place, but a condition of existence." Pope John Paul II

Alex said...

The distinction might pertain more to how the term “place” is nuanced. Read Aquinas and Ott below:

On the contrary, Gregory says [The quotation is from St. Augustine (De Civ. Dei i, 8)]: "Even as in the same fire gold glistens and straw smokes, so in the same fire the sinner burns and the elect is cleansed." Therefore the fire of Purgatory is the same as the fire of hell: and hence they are in the same place.

Further, the holy fathers; before the coming of Christ, were in a more worthy place than that wherein souls are now cleansed after death, since there was no pain of sense there. Yet that place was joined to hell, or the same as hell: otherwise Christ when descending into Limbo would not be said to have descended into hell. Therefore Purgatory is either close to, or the same place as, hell.

I answer that, Nothing is clearly stated in Scripture about the situation of Purgatory, nor is it possible to offer convincing arguments on this question. It is probable, however, and more in keeping with the statements of holy men and the revelations made to many, that there is a twofold place of Purgatory. One, according to the common law; and thus the place of Purgatory is situated below and in proximity to hell, so that it is the same fire which torments the damned in hell and cleanses the just in Purgatory; although the damned being lower in merit, are to be consigned to a lower place. Another place of Purgatory is according to dispensation: and thus sometimes, as we read, some are punished in various places, either that the living may learn, or that the dead may be succored, seeing that their punishment being made known to the living may be mitigated through the prayers of the Church.

Some say, however, that according to the common law the place of Purgatory is where man sins. This does not seem probable, since a man may be punished at the same time for sins committed in various places. And others say that according to the common law they are punished above us, because they are between us and God, as regards their state. But this is of no account, for they are not punished for being above us, but for that which is lowest in them, namely sin.

Ludwig Ott stated it thusly:

The cleansing fire (purgatorium) is a place and state of temporal penal purification.

Matt actually discussed this on his own blog two months ago:

http://catholicchampion.blogspot.com/2009/09/purgatory-and-indulgences.html

Edward Reiss said...

"The distinction might pertain more to how the term “place” is nuanced."

Ah yes, there is always a nuance somewhere. Heaven forbid the Infallible Majesterium speak plainly. No, we always need a new "nuance" to decode the infallible teachings of the Infallible Majesterium...

Purgatory isn't a PLACE place, it is a non-place place.

Isn't that clear now?

Alex said...

Very well thought-out response Edward. I'm impressed. You just convinced me that the Catholic Church is wrong. I'll be making an altar call at my local Lutheran Church Sunday. Maybe the one with the woman pastor.

Alex said...

I'm curious Edward, why do you believe that there should be an infallible definition on whether Purgatory be a place or state?

Louis said...

I'm interested in the "church-verified" part. Could any RC's out there shed some light on this? The most interesting part is not about where or what purgatory is, but that the church claims to have miraculous evidence that it exists.

bkaycee said...

When did the one true church start believing in purgatory?

Edward Reiss said...

"Very well thought-out response Edward. I'm impressed. You just convinced me that the Catholic Church is wrong. I'll be making an altar call at my local Lutheran Church Sunday. Maybe the one with the woman pastor."

LOL, we don't have women pastors in the LC-MS, so you will have to go to the Lutheran body with which I am not in fellowship--the ELCA.

Next time you want to throw a sucker punch, make sure you know what you are about.

In any case, I am not trying to show the RCC is wrong , I am just trying to show that RC arguments are, well, rather "nuanced" such that the supposed infallible pronouncements of the Majestrium are not clear at all.

The word "place", in this instance, becomes the subject of speculation because conflicting things have been said about e.g. Purgatory over the years. You guys have to spend a lot of time harmonizing simple statements over the centuries; hence the ever present need for "nuance", which makes a teaching less, not more clear. I think an infallible Majesterium should be able to do better.

"I'm curious Edward, why do you believe that there should be an infallible definition on whether Purgatory be a place or state?"

I don't think it is necessary. I just think it is interesting that a simple statement like "Purgatory is a place" needs nuance. We cannot read "purgatory is a place" as, well, "Purgatory is a place". It has to be a "place", which is not actually a place at all. The pope himself said "place", and if "place" is not actually a place, I would think a better formulation is possible.

Matthew Bellisario said...

"Ah yes, there is always a nuance somewhere. Heaven forbid the Infallible Majesterium speak plainly."

The Church does speak plainly on things it can speak plainly on. This is obviously something that is supernatural in nature, and cannot be explicitly explained in human language. Are you going to criticize Saint Paul and his explanation of heaven when it was revealed to him? (2 Corinthians 12:1-4) He couldn't explain it well because it is beyond his human words and experience to do so. All you people need to know is that it exists in either a state or place. Describing the existence of souls after death takes us to another state of being. This is called a mystery. Only an arrogant "know it all" has to define such things so narrowly, to make it worthy of thier belief. There is no contradiction in the various explanations of purgatory, say what you will.

steve said...

This presents a striking parallel with ufology, alien abductions, &c. Is it Purgatory or the X-Files?

Matthew Bellisario said...

We can also see that Saint John the Evangelist in writing the book of Revelation, cannot adequately describe heaven. I guess we should criticize him for not giving a fuller explanation.

Edward Reiss said...

"We can also see that Saint John the Evangelist in writing the book of Revelation, cannot adequately describe heaven. I guess we should criticize him for not giving a fuller explanation."

No, we shouldn't criticize him. But we shouldn't dissect it so it fits in all of out tidy categories, either by moving the words around to suit us. That is what goes on with "nuance" all too often. Apparently, things are so "nuanced" that "place" refers to "not a place".

Also, I am not saying that there is never any nuance. It is just that RC apologists are constantly making arguments based on "nuance" such that what is said is never really clear. Many precepts are constantly qualified so one can never really take what is said at face value. This is not a recipie for clarity.

Matthew Bellisario said...

The argument is not based on nuance. The fact is purgatory exits. Trying to explain a place or state on a supernatural level is a mystery, get it?

Edward Reiss said...

"The argument is not based on nuance. The fact is purgatory exits. Trying to explain a place or state on a supernatural level is a mystery, get it?"

I "get it", but I also "reject" the idea of constantly introducing "nuance" when things don't work out for a RC apologist. You guys have to constantly patch the holes in your arguments with "nuance".

And if so much "nuance" is required, perhaps less, and not more, explanation is required. It is OK to say we don't know. Also, you would have fewer leaks to patch.

BTW, Alex himself introduced nuance, and his comments were "based" on it.

EA said...

"We can also see that Saint John the Evangelist in writing the book of Revelation, cannot adequately describe heaven. I guess we should criticize him for not giving a fuller explanation."

The Magesterium's pronouncements equate to Scripture? This assumes what it needs to prove.

Andrew said...

I have a question for any of the Catholics on this thread. I think it can be agreed upon that there isn't one clear, unambiguous scripture passage that teaches purgatory. I know that you don't adhere to sola scriptura, but bear with me for a moment. There are many unambiguous refences to heaven and hell in scripture. If purgatory was believed by the apostles, and known by Jesus, why are heaven and hell seen so clearly in scripture, but purgatory is not? Also, I realize that there are passages that are used to defend the concept of purgatory, but there are no passages that really teach it specifically. Why the specifics on heaven and hell, but not purgatory?

L P said...

Edward,

In any case, I am not trying to show the RCC is wrong , I am just trying to show that RC arguments are, well, rather "nuanced" such that the supposed infallible pronouncements of the Majestrium are not clear at all.


I am an ex-RC, "nuanced" is not the term, it is equivocation or as our BOC says - sophistry.

The Majesterium is not unclear it is clear in being undecided, because put it this way - that is a big load to be perfect - yet knowing you are not.

So the Majesterium gives itself --- "wiggle room".

LPC

L P said...

"The argument is not based on nuance. The fact is purgatory exits. Trying to explain a place or state on a supernatural level is a mystery, get it?"

I am intrigued, this is quite similar to the way Buddhists explain Nirvana.

I am curious at this similarity.

LPC

Edward Reiss said...

LP,

"I am an ex-RC, "nuanced" is not the term, it is equivocation or as our BOC says - sophistry. "

That's why I put it in scare quotes. Apart form certain teachings there is indeed a lot of "wiggle room" in RC pronouncements.

Churchmouse said...

Purgatory finds its roots via Alexandrian fathers (Clement and Origen)who were influenced by the pagan perceptions of the afterlife in their day. Rome simply takes the musings of men and reads it back into Scripture, labels them "implications", all the while knowing that their faithful will believe it regardless, even if it truly doesn't exist.

Paul Hoffer said...

Purgatory is actually a concept that started to be understood after the Jewish people were carried off into exile. The Pharisees and Essenes both comment on the doctrine in their writings and reference the doctrine in commentaries on Wisdom and Zechariah not to mention of course 2 Maccabees. Intertestamental witings of Enoch, Testament of Abraham and others discuss the doctrine. There is nothing pagan about it. See, http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=611&letter=P. One must also consider the Kaddish which is an aspect arising out of the same doctrinal notions.

Churchmouse, I would for one be interested in seeing your proof that the doctrine developed from some other pagan source. What religious tradition mayhap did purgatory came from if it did not come from our own religious tradition in the first place?

God bless!

Kepha said...

Infallible nuancing? LOL! That's a good one, Edward. I'm definitely going to be using this one.

beowulf2k8 said...

Bellasario says "the church does speak plainly on things it can speak plainly on." Ah, like making up fake prophecies! Matthew 2:23 "...that it might be fulfilled 'he shall be called a Nazarene'"-- Sorry Catholic Matty but the OT does NOT say that!!!!!

Pilgrimsarbour said...

I'm very tempted to buy the book, but I've been cutting back on buying books-

Whaaaaaaat?

Carrie said...

I am intrigued, this is quite similar to the way Buddhists explain Nirvana.

Rats! I came across a book (I think on Google Books) which was arguing for an early Buddhist influence on Roman Catholicism, but I don't think I bookmarked it.

Churchmouse said...

Paul Hoffer states:

Purgatory is actually a concept that started to be understood after the Jewish people were carried off into exile. The Pharisees and Essenes both comment on the doctrine in their writings and reference the doctrine in commentaries on Wisdom and Zechariah not to mention of course 2 Maccabees. Intertestamental witings of Enoch, Testament of Abraham and others discuss the doctrine. There is nothing pagan about it. See, http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=611&letter=P.

Can you provide evidence that this was a right belief and that it wasn't a belief that arose later? Even the source you offered states that the belief finds its roots in Zorastrianism. Observe:

"The idea of the purging fire through which the soul has to pass is found in the Zend-Avesta ("Bundahis," xxx. 20): "All men will pass into the melted metal and become pure; to the righteous it will seem as though he walks through warm milk" (comp. Enoch, lii. 6-7, lxvii. 6-7). The Church Fathers developed the idea of the "ignis purgatorius" into a dogma according to which all souls, including those of the righteous who remain unscathed, have to pass the purgatory (Origen on Ps. xxxvii., Homily 3; Lactantius, "Divinæ Institutiones," vii. 21, 4-7; Jerome on Ps. cxviii., Sermon 20; Commodianus, "Instructiones," ii. 2, 9); hence prayers and offerings for the souls in purgatory were instituted (Tertullian, "De Corona Militis," 3-4; "De Monogamia," 10; "Exhortatio Castitatis," 11; Augustine, "Enchiridion ad Lauram," 67-69, 109; Gregory I., "Dialogi," iv. 57)."

You said...

One must also consider the Kaddish which is an aspect arising out of the same doctrinal notions.

The Kaddish isn't even remotely purgatorial, but a prayer affirming the sovereignty of God. Reciting the prayer at funerals doesn't assume that it is purgatorially effectual or that it presupposes a purgatorial belief.

You said...

Churchmouse, I would for one be interested in seeing your proof that the doctrine developed from some other pagan source. What religious tradition mayhap did purgatory came from if it did not come from our own religious tradition in the first place?

Did you forget that Christ made a distinction between the traditions of men and proper doctrine (i.e. Mark 7:5-9)? Your own source admits its pagan roots. Also, have you read Medieval scholar Jacques Le Goff's The Birth of Purgatory which traces the roots of the belief from paganism into Christianity and beyond?

Turretinfan said...

Paul Hoffer:

If you've read Plato, you'd be in awkward position to say that there is noting pagan about Purgatory.

-TurretinFan

beowulf2k8 said...

Turretinfan,

You're in an awkward positionsaying there's nothing Pagan about drinking blood in effagy! Why would a Jewish Messiah institute a practice where you drink his blood, even if it is just a symbol? Why would he have his disciples even symbolically disobey the Torah? If you condemn Purgatory for looking Pagan then you must condem the Eucharist too. Why not just admit that the Catholics made your Bible? Have you found "he shall be called a Nazarene" in the OT??? No. So why don't you see the Catholics added and corrupted it? Do you really think the apostle Matthew was so blind as to think Hosea 11:1 (a statement about the Exodus) was a prophecy about Jesus??? Come one! Just admit the Catholics have corrupted these books!

Turretinfan said...

B2k8: Consult a mental health professional. Seriously. Just get yourself checked out.

But yes, drinking a cup that symbolizes blood is not a pagan practice, nor is it something that was added later.