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Purgatory is a state of being, not a place

Our imaginations are naturally conditioned to operate in the three dimensions of space and the fourth dimension of time. We cannot think at all without associating some kind of image with each thought so as to be able to tell one idea from another. This necessarily quality of incarnate imagination does not serve us well when we want to understand Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory.

When we project spatial and temporal relations onto the terms that describe the state of the soul after death, we picture a world in which we can travel from one place to another, with something like national boundary lines between them. We suppose that we can see other souls "in" Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory in just the same way as we see other people in the region we are in now.

It is better for us to see that all souls have exactly the same experience at the moment of death: we come into the presence of God and are flooded by His light, His love, His mercy, and His truth. Those who enjoy the light enter the state of perfect bliss and total fulfillment that we call Heaven; those who accept God's mercy but who have not completely broken with sin enter the state of Purgatory, where the fire of God's love cleanses them of all that would keep them from perfect bliss and total fulfillment; those who reject God experience their total immersion in God as a torment and enter the state of final alienation from themselves, from God, and from all others.

Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell are distinguished from each other not by boundary lines but by the quality of our relationship with God. I believe that part of the joy of Heaven will be to have a relationship with all other souls and to know what wonders God has done for each one of them, but I imagine that we will know them in and through God, as God wills, and not by wandering the globe as we do now.

John Henry Newman
"The sinner would not enjoy heaven if he went there; not till he has turned from his sin and is once more looking towards God" (Malcolm Muggeridge, Conversion, 32).

Punishment due to sin

If we have stolen money from others, one effect of repentance must be to give the money back.

If we've spent the money, someone else could pay that part of our debt for us ("make reparation for the temporal punishment due to sin").

It seems to me that there remains the need to truly repent of what we have done and to "be transformed [be metamorphosized] by the renewal of our minds" (Rom 12:2). That is a different issue from simply paying back what we owe to those whom we have injured.

CCC #1459
Many sins wrong our neighbor. One must do what is possible in order to repair the harm (e.g., return stolen goods, restore the reputation of someone slandered, pay compensation for injuries). Simple justice requires as much. But sin also injures and weakens the sinner himself, as well as his relationships with God and neighbor. Absolution takes away sin, but it does not remedy all the disorders sin has caused.[1] Raised up from sin, the sinner must still recover his full spiritual health by doing something more to make amends for the sin: he must "make satisfaction for" or "expiate" his sins. This satisfaction is also called "penance."

The Church's teaching that there is "temporal punishment due to sin" implies that there is some kind of time for souls in eternity. Making reparation for our sins takes time, as does taking on the character of Christ in preparation for our full Communion with God, His angels, and His saints. From a psychological standpoint, the time of purgation may seem like an eternity, as we unravel and mend the whole mystery of our lives; from the eternal standpoint, any finite time, no matter how long in itself, will seem like a single moment. A little clue to this mystery might be found in the accounts of those who find their whole life "flashing before their eyes" when death seems near. As God makes us more like Himself, for us, too, a single day will be like a thousand years, and a thousand years will be like a single day (2 Pet 3:8).

Suffering in Purgatory

Q: I know that you also share a love for C.S. Lewis' writing and that you might have some light to shed on this subject. I've been reading his book, A Grief Observed, and he brings up the idea of the dead feeling the pains of separation, as the living do, and that this might be one of their purgatorial sufferings. He explains that this bereavement is an integral part of our experience of love, and that death is just another phase, not a truncation, of that experience/process. Was wondering what you think about this?
It is a legitimate speculation. Nothing that has been taught dogmatically has made it something that Catholics must either accept or reject; it's an undefined question.
Besides the pain of separation from us (or feeling the pain that we feel with a new, supernatural gift of compassion), the souls in purgatory probably also feel the pain of not yet being fit to enter into union with God, the angels, and the saints. Death separates them from us; sin (or the remnants and effects of sin) separate them from final bliss.
There will be an end to their suffering. Purgatory does not last forever. God requires--and I speculate that they themselves desire--that they make amends for all of their sins and wrongdoing, but no more. There is nothing added on to their purgation other than what is necessary to make them fit for everlasting love. They must endure all that love requires of them so that they may be worthy and capable of an eternity of love with God, His angels, and His saints.
That's just my guess. I haven't been there and the Church doesn't say too much about it because God has not revealed everything there is to know about the affairs of Heaven. He has given us what we need to know to get there from here.

Repairing the damage done by sin

Sin has consequences, even after it is forgiven. Hocky penalty: goals scored against, tiredness among teammates. Deaths, injuries, wounds ... Fixing a house after it is trashed by our friends at a party. Repairing an automobile after driving drunk. Plastering and painting a hole in the wall caused by bad temper. Paying back money that was stolen.


The Final Purification, Or Purgatory

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.
The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.[2] The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:[3]
As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.[4]
This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: "Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin."[5] From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God.[6] The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:
Let us help and commemorate them. If Job's sons were purified by their father's sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.[7]


By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin.[8] In those who have been reborn nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam's sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God.
Yet certain temporal consequences of sin remain in the baptized, such as suffering, illness, death, and such frailties inherent in life as weaknesses of character, and so on, as well as an inclination to sin that Tradition calls concupiscence, or metaphorically, "the tinder for sin" (fomes peccati); since concupiscence "is left for us to wrestle with, it cannot harm those who do not consent but manfully resist it by the grace of Jesus Christ."[9] Indeed, "an athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules."[10]

The punishments of sin

To understand this doctrine and practice of the Church, it is necessary to understand that sin has a double consequence. Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the "eternal punishment" of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the "temporal punishment" of sin. These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin. A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain.[11]
The forgiveness of sin and restoration of communion with God entail the remission of the eternal punishment of sin, but temporal punishment of sin remains. While patiently bearing sufferings and trials of all kinds and, when the day comes, serenely facing death, the Christian must strive to accept this temporal punishment of sin as a grace. He should strive by works of mercy and charity, as well as by prayer and the various practices of penance, to put off completely the "old man" and to put on the "new man."[12]

In the Communion of Saints

The Christian who seeks to purify himself of his sin and to become holy with the help of God's grace is not alone. "The life of each of God's children is joined in Christ and through Christ in a wonderful way to the life of all the other Christian brethren in the supernatural unity of the Mystical Body of Christ, as in a single mystical person."[13]
In the communion of saints, "a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth. between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all good things."[14] In this wonderful exchange, the holiness of one profits others, well beyond the harm that the sin of one could cause others. Thus recourse to the communion of saints lets the contrite sinner be more promptly and efficaciously purified of the punishments for sin.
We also call these spiritual goods of the communion of saints the Church's treasury, which is "not the sum total of the material goods which have accumulated during the course of the centuries. On the contrary the 'treasury of the Church' is the infinite value, which can never be exhausted, which Christ's merits have before God. They were offered so that the whole of mankind could be set free from sin and attain communion with the Father. In Christ, the Redeemer himself, the satisfactions and merits of his Redemption exist and find their efficacy."[15]
"This treasury includes as well the prayers and good works of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are truly immense, unfathomable, and even pristine in their value before God. In the treasury, too, are the prayers and good works of all the saints, all those who have followed in the footsteps of Christ the Lord and by his grace have made their lives holy and carried out the mission in the unity of the Mystical Body."[16]

Obtaining indulgence from God through the Church

An indulgence is obtained through the Church who, by virtue of the power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus, intervenes in favor of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishments due for their sins. Thus the Church does not want simply to come to the aid of these Christians, but also to spur them to works of devotion, penance, and charity.[17]
Since the faithful departed now being purified are also members of the same communion of saints, one way we can help them is to obtain indulgences for them, so that the temporal punishments due for their sins may be remitted.
Purity of Heart

"Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God."

Fear of suffering is a craven motive for gaining indulgences. It may well be a good start on the spiritual life, but God calls us to learn how to hate sin out of the highest and most perfect motives: love of God and love of neighbor.

I believe that the requirement to be free from all attachment to sin--even venial sin--is a clue that we need to be virtuous in order to bear the "weight of glory" (C. S. Lewis) in Heaven. This is something different from clearing the debts incurred by sin against God and our neighbor.

"Being transformed by the inward renewal of our minds" is not something to be feared. That all souls in Purgatory will reach the state of perfection necessary to enjoy communion with perfect persons is certain. What is in doubt (for me) is the manner in which God accomplishes this transformation in us after death.

"Introduction to Indulgences."
The Toughest Requirement
The greatest hurdle is the last. Making a good confession is not particularly difficult, and going to Communion and praying for the Pope's intentions are easier still. It's being free from all attachment to sin that's hard and it's quite possible that even evidently good people, who seek plenary indulgences regularly, never, in their whole lives, obtain one, because they are unwilling to relinquish their favorite little sins.
There is an account of St. Philip Neri, who died in 1595, preaching a jubilee indulgence in a crowed church. A revelation was given to him that only two people in the church were actually receiving the indulgence, an old char-woman and the saint himself. Not exactly encouraging, huh? But don't worry. If you aren't perfectly disposed and can't get the plenary indulgence. you'll at least come away with a partial.
All Souls Indulgences, November 1-8

To gain a plenary indulgence for a soul in Purgatory:[18]

1) Visit a cemetery and say any prayer for the deceased (the person does not need to actually be buried in that particular cemetery).
2) Be in the state of grace when the work is accomplished.
3) Go to confession.
4) Pray for the Holy Father (an Our Father and Hail Mary, as well as the Creed or the Glory Be, are the traditional prayers).
5) Receive communion devoutly.
6) Be free from all attachment to sin (even venial sin).

Note: Communion should be received on the day or near the day in which the visit to the cemetery is made. Confession may be made several days before or after (and one confession suffices for multiple indulgences [but communion must be received for each plenary indulgence]).

Finally: Only one plenary indulgence may be gained each day (excepting in the case of the moment of death, when a second may be acquired).

Intercession by the Souls in Purgatory

There is only one Body of Christ. Some members are on earth (the Church Militant); some are in Purgatory (the Church Suffering); and some are in Heaven (the Church Triumphant). We enjoy real spiritual fellowship with the whole communion of saints. Although there has been no definitive teaching by the Magisterium on the question, many theologians and saints recommend asking for the prayers of the souls in Purgatory.

"The Powerful intercession of the Holy Souls in Purgatory for their benefactors."
The Holy Souls in Purgatory are not able to pray for themselves or do anything at all to relieve their suffering: They rely on our prayers and efforts to help them. It is permissible to believe that they can pray for their benefactors. St. John Vianney said: "If one knew what we may obtain from God by the intercession of the Poor Souls, they would not be so much abandoned. Let us pray a great deal for them, they will pray for us." St. Theresa of Avila (Spain) said that she always obtained the favours, which she asked from God, through the intercession of the Poor Souls in Purgatory. We must help the Holy Souls in Purgatory. In the bible it says that he, who stops (closes) his ears to the cry of the poor, shall cry himself and shall not be heard.
Pray for the Holy Souls and ask them to obtain the favours, which your friends have asked you to pray for

One of the best things that you can do, when a friend asks you to pray for him or her, is to pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, and to ask them to obtain your friend's petition, (healing, employment, financial help, etc.) because The Holy Souls' prayers for their benefactors are very powerful with God, despite the fact that not one prayer that a Holy Soul in Purgatory can say will alleviate his own suffering.

Catholic Encyclopedia, "Purgatory--Invocation of souls"
When there is question of invoking the prayers of those in purgatory, Bellarmine (loc. cit.) says it is superfluous, ordinarily speaking, for they are ignorant of our circumstances and condition. This is at variance with the opinion of Francisco Suárez, who admits knowledge at least in a general way, also with the opinions of many modern theologians who point to the practice now common with almost all the faithful of addressing their prayers and petitions for help to those who are still in a place of purgation. Scavini (Theol. Moral., XI, n. 174) sees no reason why the souls detained in purgatory may not pray for us, even as we pray for one another. He asserts that this practice has become common at Rome, and that it has the great name of St. Alphonsus in its favour. St. Alphonsus in his work the "Great Means of Salvation", chap. I, III, 2, after quoting Sylvius, Gotti, Lessius, and Medina as favourable to his opinion, concludes: "so the souls in purgatory, being beloved by God and confirmed in grace, have absolutely no impediment to prevent them from praying for us. Still the Church does not invoke them or implore their intercession, because ordinarily they have no cognizance of our prayers. But we may piously believe that God makes our prayers known to them". He alleges also the authority of St. Catharine of Bologna who "whenever she desired any favour had recourse to the souls in purgatory, and was immediately heard."

Scriptural Witness

The most powerful scriptural evidence for Purgatory is found in 2 Maccabees 12:39-46. I think any honest reader would have to admit that this passage defines the reality of purification after death as well as advocating prayer to help make amends for the sins of the dead. The key question then becomes why such an honest reader does not include 2 Maccabees among the books of the Bible. The most powerful book that testifies to the reality of Purgatory and the power of prayer for the dead was removed from the canon precisely because Luther rejected this teaching of the Catholic tradition.

Job 1:5 And when each feast had run its course, Job would send for them and sanctify them, rising early and offering sacrifices for every one of them. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Job did this habitually.
2 Maccabees 12:39-46. Note well: Catholics accept this book as part of the Bible; Protestants took it out of their version of the Bible. On the following day, since the task had now become urgent, Judas and his men went to gather up the bodies of the slain and bury them with their kinsmen in their ancestral tombs. But under the tunic of each of the dead they found amulets sacred to the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. So it was clear to all that this was why these men had been slain. They all therefore praised the ways of the Lord, the just judge who brings to light the things that are hidden. Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out. The noble Judas warned the soldiers to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.
Mt 5:23-26 Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.
Mt 12:31-32 Therefore, I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
1 Cor 3:12-15

12 If anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw,

13 the work of each will come to light, for the Day will disclose it. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire [itself] will test the quality of each one’s work.

14 If the work stands that someone built upon the foundation, that person will receive a wage.

15 But if someone’s work is burned up, that one will suffer loss; the person will be saved, but only as through fire.

1 Cor 15:29 Otherwise, what will people accomplish by having themselves baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, then why are they having themselves baptized for them?
2 Tim 2:5 Similarly, an athlete cannot receive the winner’s crown except by competing according to the rules.[19]
Eph 4:22-24

You should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires,
and be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.

1 Pet 1:7 ... so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Tim Staples

"Is Purgatory in the Bible?"
"But nothing unclean shall enter [heaven]" (Rev. 21:27). Hab. 1:13 says, "You [God]... are of purer eyes than to behold evil and cannot look on wrong..."
And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come (Matthew 12:32, emphasis added).
Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; truly I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny (Matthew 5:25-26).
When we add to this the fact that the Greek word for prison, phulake, is the same word used by St. Peter, in I Peter 3:19, to describe the “holding place” into which Jesus descended after his death to liberate the detained spirits of Old Testament believers, the Catholic position makes even more sense. Phulake is demonstrably used in the New Testament to refer to a temporary holding place and not exclusively in this life.
1 Corinthians 3:11-15 may well be the most straightforward text in all of Sacred Scripture when it comes to Purgatory:
For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble—each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.


Metamorphosis is what happens when a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. New life--dramatically new life!--emerges from within the shell of the old. I suspect that when all of our debts have been settled, or, perhaps, as our debts are settled, we metamorphosize into creatures fit to participate in the Heavenly Banquet. This inward transformation is something that God must accomplish in us personally. I don't see how anyone else can make this change for us. "No one else can take a bath for you."

Besides suffering the just punishments that our sins deserve, a healing punishment that sets us free, once and for all, from all that disfigures us, the souls in Purgatory are probably becoming perfect in love as well. This is God's "finishing school," in which He completes the good work that He has already begun in us on earth (Phil 1:16).

Rom 12:2
Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed ["be metamorphosized"] by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.
Rom 12:2
καὶ μὴ συσχηματίζεσθε τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ, ἀλλὰ μεταμορφοῦσθε τῇ ἀνακαινώσει τοῦ νοὸς εἰς τὸ δοκιμάζειν ὑμᾶς τί τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ, τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ εὐάρεστον καὶ τέλειον.

Balanced View

Kindly and well-intentioned catechists have created a bleak picture of Purgatory as the twin of Hell in the hope of motivating us to break with sin ourselves and pray compassionately for those who are being cleansed of sin. I suppose, too, that they probably don't want to give too cheery a view of Purgatory, for fear that some people would indulge in the sin of presumption, planning to "sin now, pay later." The one-sided account of the sorrows of Purgatory obscures the joy of destroying what disfigures us, so that we can become capable of entering the presence of God Himself and His angels and His saints without any shame. There is nothing artificial or extrinsic about the penalty for sin. We ourselves long to be made right, to become whole, and to have all of our relationships mended. Neither God nor we will be content with one moment less of purification than we need, nor one moment more. If we are eager to be united to God, then we must be eager to be cleansed and renewed before we enter His embrace.

Purgatory is not just a place of reparation. It is a house of healing.

If no merit of any kind in Purgatory are stuck there until somebody else rescues them. That sounds wrong. The Purgatorial experience must be cleansing, in and of itself, or else it is meaningless, extrinsic, arbitrary, and unjust. The souls in Purgatory understand and endorse the changes taking place in them. We want to be cleansed of sin and healed of our iniquity.

There isn't the kind of merit that we can gain in this lifetime. It is a different kind of development, growth, reformation, renovation. It may not be a matter of personal sin at all. Could be defects of character. Simply not knowing how to love and be loved. "Finishing school for the spirit."

The time that this rehabilitation, reformation, renewal, renovation, restoration, repentance, reparation, release ... religion.

One clock: near-death experience. "The whole of my life flashed before my eyes." Twinkling of an eye. Like an eternity, but next to nothing compared to eternity. Complete our growth spiritually. Time to be done with guilt, remorse, regret. Death to self, and to all of the bondages rooted in self.

God does not lock people up in Purgatory for no reason, nor does He confine them there with no hope of release. Spiritual experiences in Purgatory are orchestrated by the doctor of the soul, the healer of hearts, our rabbi, are perfectly proportioned to the person's needs--their needs and the needs of the people whom they hurt.

Purgatory is part of Heaven. For the souls in Purgatory, it may feels like an eternity, but the longest sentence in Purgatory is next to nothing when compared to the glory that comes from being completely cleansed and healed. The souls in Purgatory want these good results. They understand the spiritual necessity of what they suffer. They will what God wills for them: complete rehabilitation and renewal of their hearts, minds, and relationships.

We need balance. On the one hand, we want to be motivated to be purified here, to develop a new heart in this lifetime, to love God and to love our neighbor. We should be motivated to pray for the souls in Purgatory. Love is good for both the lover and the beloved. On the other hand, we ought not to picture Purgatory in such a way that it diminishes our trust in God's mercy and love. The punishment is for healing of our wounds and deliverance from sin, so that we can become real lovers, not to drive us away from love.

Beauty of the new life that is in us now, and will come to completion according to God's will.

We desire the blessings that Purgatory promises: complete reconciliation with all whom we have harmed; perfect forgiveness of those who have harmed us; fulfillment of all of the gifts God has given us in this lifetime.

Law of Karma

In simplistic terms, the Hindu doctrine of karma is that good people deserve good, while evil people deserve evil. It is a universal law of justice.

The doctrine of karma highlights the spiritual truth that every good action we undertake is an immediate spiritual benefit us, while every evil action we undertake is an immediate spiritual wound that abides in us. Only good can come to us from the good we do; only evil can come to us from the evil we do.

Much of what I hear or read about Purgatory misses this point. Our sins do not take place outside of us. The just penalties we deserve for our sins cannot be settled impersonally, like payment of a hotel bill or a court fine. Before we lift a finger, our determination to do good is good for us and our determination to do evil is evil for us.

I get the impression from some Catholics that they want to settle accounts without being converted. They want the benefits of loving God without the cost of surrendering to the love of God. They want the fruits of holiness, but not the roots.


Positive Associations Negative Associations
sanitarium A place to become sane. A jail for the insane.
penitentiary Intended as a place to do penance and amend our lives. A place that isolates criminals from society. Violent and unhappy.
hospital Intended to heal the sick. Depressing to me because we cannot guarantee cures.
finishing school
beauty salon
repair shop
flight school
sheltered workshop
replay booth
outcomes assessment
royal highway
intensive care unit
operating room
clean room
shower room
changing room
dress rehearsal
dressing room
Light House
training ground
holding center
outcomes assessment
peer review?
way station


  • Do the souls in Purgatory see and know one another?
  • Do the angels and saints minister to the souls?
  • Do they experience cycles of consolation and desolation?
  • Are they aware of us?
  • How does the sacramental life affect their spiritual experience?
  • Do they meditate and pray?
  • Do they worship together?

Gateway of the Body of Christ

Extra Jesum nulla salus.

John Diller
"No one makes it through purgatory without becoming Catholic."


  1. Cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1712.
  2. Cf. Council of Florence (1439):DS 1304; Council of Trent (1563):DS 1820; (1547):1580; see also Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus (1336):DS 1000.
  3. Cf. 1 Cor 3:15; 1 Pet 1:7.
  4. St. Gregory the Great, Dial. 4,39:PL 77,396; cf. Mt 12:31.
  5. 2 Macc 12:46.
  6. Cf. Council of Lyons II (1274):DS 856.
  7. St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in 1 Cor. 41,5:PG 61,361; cf. Job 1:5.
  8. Cf. Council of Florence (1439): DS 1316.
  9. Council of Trent (1546): DS 1515.
  10. 2 Tim 2:5.
  11. Cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1712-1713; (1563): 1820.
  12. Eph 4:22, 24.
  13. Indulgentiarum doctrina, 5.
  14. Indulgentiarum doctrina, 5.
  15. Indulgentiarum doctrina, 5.
  16. Indulgentiarum doctrina, 5.
  17. Cf. Indulgentiarum doctrina, 5.
  18. "Some Facts about Purgatory."
  19. A loose translation of 2 Tim 2:5 from the Catholic tradition brings out the need for purgation: "None shall be crowned who has not fought well." Until we have completed the whole course God requires of us, we are not ready to enter the victory banquet in Heaven.

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