Summary: Biblical truth about Purgatory


Who among you went into the cemetery yesterday? Who will still come today or tomorrow?

Its very hard now a days, traffic, pick pocketers, congestion, heat, rain, bomb treats etc..

(May nagsabi nga dahil daw mahirap dumalaw sa mga patay ngayon bakit hindi naman I declare na ang mga namatay naman ang dumalaw sa atin) Two implications, One is the Sociological/ Cultural. With all of these Filipino families can’t escape the pull and attraction that came unsuspectingly from Society as a social event or from the Church as a doctrine. Dominantly, the Nov. 1 event is perceived as a cultural/ sociological phenomenon. It had become a family reunion for both the living and the dead. Holidays are extended to give way for its celebration.

Second is the Theological/Spiritual, here we must be this aspect also commands great influence to us on how we celebrate Nov. 1. The things we bring, we prepare, we do are very much explained by the doctrine of Purgatory.

Joseph Pohle defines it as, “A state of temporary punishment for those who departing this life in the grace of God. Are not entirely free from venial sins have not yet fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.”

It came from the word, purge thus from the idea of purgation of individual souls.

I. Historical Development

• Purgatory in Roman Catholic thought developed during the Middle Ages (14th century) Council of Florence and hardened into dogma in reaction to the Protestant rejection of it. The Council of Trent (1545-63) declared that those who reject the doctrine of purgatory are "anathema," accursed.

• Purgatory is the doctrine that the intermediate state is not only the place of fixed blessing and torment, but primarily the place of passage by punishment toward blessing as postbaptismal sins are atoned for. Since some sins are more grievous than others, the time of punishment varies.

• The church here "below" can also aid those being punished through prayers and masses. Even outright absolution has been granted through the exercise of the power of the keys of Peter, the pope. Recent Roman Catholic thought has seen purgatory in more positive terms as a preparing, cleansing, or maturing transition from life on earth to the joys of heaven.

• Theologians like Thomas Aquinas, Tertullian, and contemporaries like Joseph Pohle developed such theology.

I. Biblical Reference

We all know that the Roman Catholic Church has two Authorities the Bible and tradition. This mainly is the probable reason why we differ in our use of the scripture.

• Heb. 9:27 - “Since human beings die only once, after which comes judgement”.

This is interpreted that all who are clean will go to heaven and all who are heavy sinners will go to Hell, those however has venial sin will undergo purgatory.

• II Macc. 12:39-45- “39. Next day, they came to find Judas (since the necessity was by now urgent) to have the bodies of the fallen taken up and lay to rest among their relatives in their ancestral tombs.

40. But when they found on each of the dead men, under their tunics, objects dedicated to the idols of Jamnia, which the Law prohibits to Jews, it became clear to everyone that this was why these men had lost their lives.

41. All then blessed the ways of the Lord, the upright judge who brings hidden things to light,

42. And gave themselves to prayer, begging that the sin committed might be completely forgiven. Next, the valiant Judas urged the soldiers to keep themselves free from all sin, having seen with their own eyes the effects of the sin of those who had fallen;

43. After this he took a collection from them individually, amounting to nearly two thousand drachmas, and sent it to Jerusalem to have a sacrifice for sin offered, an action altogether fine and noble, prompted by his belief in the resurrection.

44. For had he not expected the fallen to rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead,

45. Whereas if he had in view the splendid recompense reserved for those who make a pious end, the thought was holy and devout. Hence, he had this expiatory sacrifice offered for the dead, so that they might be released from their sin.”

• Matt. 12:32- “And anyone who says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but no one who speaks against the Holy Spirit will be forgiven either in this world or in the next.”

III. Why it’s not Biblical?

• Based on Apocrypha- the psuedo wrtting, during the intertestamental period.

• An Interplay of Bible and Tradition which renders the Tradition more authoritative than the Bible when in conflict with each other. Ex. Pope, Council of Trent. Dogma etc.

• Implies Salvation by Works. Renders the work of Christ useless. Gal. 3:1-14/ Eph. 2:8-9

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