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Catholic view of Purgatory ... Is it real?

michael_legna's picture

Your don't understand Purgatory or time and space

Dan Fugett said –
1. Is it not true that the concept of Purgatory as disassociated with time and space is a recent development of Catholic theology and has not been consistently taught by the Pope himself?

No, there was a statement of clarification which referred to the old informal statements of time being spent in Purgatory as being merely to comfort the believers and make the doctrine easier to understand for the less sophisticated minds of the early Church.

Dan Fugett said -
How does this work? It is my understanding JPII preached that Purgatory (and Hell) are not real in terms of time and space. Where does that square with dogma taught by RCC?

It is fine within the scope of the dogmas of the Church. The reference to Purgatory (and for that matter heaven and hell) not being in time and space does not affect its reality anymore than saying God transcends time and space is a denial of His reality.

Dan Fugett said -
If this is what JPII taught, how does one square this with scripture where Jesus taught of a literal Hell or that RCC maintains supports Purgatory?

They can be literal and still be outside of time and space. Hell is not up and Heaven is not down after all.

Dan Fugett said -
2. For that matter, how does one square JPII's statement with the many statements in contradiction made by other popes and the creeds that refer to Hell/Purgatory as having a time/space dimension????

They were speaking metaphorically to make the teaching easier to undertstand. Just like teaching little children heaven is up and hell is down.

Dan Fugett said -
It seems to me the anathemas are sheer nonsense if one accepts as dogma the assertion that Hell or Purgatory dont literally exist.

No one is saying they don't exist – only that they are outside of time and space as all spiritual things are.

Dan Fugett said -
Logical as you are, wouldnt you agree, if X doesnt ever exist in time and space then it doesnt exist.

No that would only impact sciences ability to study it since it is limited by time and space. Theology has no such limitation.

Dan Fugett said -
God exists and He exists above time and space. Yet Jesus became incarnare, here and now.

Yes, because He is all powerful time and space do not limit Him either.

Dan Fugett said -
That is, God demonstrated existence by choosing, at times, to descend to us in time and space throough the Incarnation and Christophanies of the Old Testament.

There is a difference between existence and proving existence. Do you want to claim that God did not exist until He proved His existence by becoming incarnate? I didn't think so.

Dan Fugett said -
If Purgatory does not exist in time and space, then it doesnt exist at all.

A completely unsupported conclusion unless you want to claim the same thing about heaven and hell and all things spiritual.

Dan Fugett said -
Knowing what will happen, when the assertion is made I am misrepresenting the RCC position, please provide one definition we can count on not changing. A solid dogmatic definition of Purgatory seems to be a moving target within RCC itself.

Pick any dogma you want, none of them have changed in the entire history of the Church.

Here is a good list to use if you don't know any of the Church's dogmas (which it is clear you do not):


Dan Fugett said -
3. In fact, is not part of what led to the Reformation the sale of indulgences that could reduce time mom spent in Purgatory by millions of years (for money of course)?

Yes, part (in fact most of Luther's complaints were related to the abuse of indulgences (selling them) by some of the corrupt clergy. This practice has always been forbidden in the Church and strict guidelines and enforcement was enacted during the Counter Reformation to insure such abuses do not take place again.

Dan Fugett said –
Was it not taught and practiced, by medieval popes, that touching certain relics or walking up the stairs Jesus walked up to Pilate (for money) would reduce Purgatory by so many years for dear old mom ???? Fund a crusade and get Aunt Jane's time in Purgatory reduced. Help pay for this church and get X years taken off Purgatory. So, this supposedly unbroken succession back to the Apostles included people who were full of avarice and quite possibly reprobate from God.

These good works of charity and love do indeed impact the suffering and loss of those who are in purgatory by applying the principle of vicarious satisfaction.

Each good action of the just man possesses a double value: that of merit and that of satisfaction, or expiation. Merit is personal, and therefore it cannot be transferred; but satisfaction can be applied to others, as St. Paul writes to the Colossians (1:24) of his own works: "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the Church,"

Dan Fugett said -
4. How can the Jubilee Year Bull of Indiction commute sentences to purgatory (which implies time and space) if Purgatory exists only as a state of being?

It only implies time and space if you apply an unsophisticated and simplistic notion of the concept of a sentence. Which is why such verbiage was used at times to explain it to the laity.

Dan Fugett said -
How could one avail himself or herself of this indulgence? Do something good or (yes - again) money.

Already answered above.

Dan Fugett said -
5. On the basis of Purgatory as a state of being, there is no ground to exclude Purgatory from happening right now for each person, is there?

No, not technically, but then the same is true of the judgment (which is linked within the process to purgatory), since it too exists outside of time and space.

Dan Fugett said -
You can't have it both ways. It is not logically consistent (or ethical) to make millions to commute a sentence to a place that doesnt exist in space and time.

Only to you who has a poor understanding of the entire doctrine but have not let that stop you from forming opinions and judgments in advance of gaining a fair understanding of the doctrine.