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Catholic view of Purgatory ... Is it real?

michael_legna's picture

If you have questions regarding Purgatory I will try to answer

DanFugett said –
Does the list of scriptures and accompanying explanation at http://www.scripturecatholic.com/purgatory.html provide a fairly accurate statement of RCC teaching of the subject?

I am currently home sick with the flu, so I don’t have the energy to review every source you listed here, but I am familiar with the scripturecatholic site and would be comfortable saying that I expect their description or explanation to be a “fairly accurate statement of RCC teaching”. Since you say you read this thread perhaps if you pointed to something specific in the thread you don’t understand or that you think does not match these sources, so I can either admit my mistake or explain how your understanding of either their or my statements is in error.

DanFugett said –
In addition to Summa, does the statement by John Paul II at http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM reflect an accurate and consistent view of this belief historically or is his statement a more current view of the doctrine?

I did not see you reference anything from the Summa, but I think I am once again comfortable saying that Pope John Paul II description or explanation to reflect an accurate and consistent view of this belief both historically and in the current view, since they are identical and have never changed.

DanFugett said –
Are Summa and Catherine of Genoa going to be accurate representative readings of the current RCC belief?

Since the Summa was written by a Doctor of the Church I believe once you understand the statements made in it properly you would find that they are accurate representations of the RCC beliefs. Catherine of Genoa does not hold that distinction her statements are less trustworthy, and there is a slight chance she could be wrong in her statements, but I think the more likely possibility is that because she was a mystic her statements can be misunderstood by the reader.

DanFugett said –
It is my understanding, from Luther, that the creeds and councils RCC hold on the same level with scripture have changed their opinions from time to time. If that is accurate, I want to read the view that reflects the belief today.

You misunderstand Luther, or he was simply wrong. The only thing that holds an equal level with Holy Scripture is Sacred Tradition, since both are considered the be the word of God. The decisions of Councils (in union with the Pope) and any statements of the Pope made ex cathedra (and this is a very small number) are binding on earth and in heaven, but they are not the word of God, they are protected from error by God, but that is a significant difference. The only way a Creed would be placed even on this last level would be for those which were specifically promulgated from a Council.

If Luther claimed these teachings changed, and by changed means reversed and not just expanded, then he was wrong in that as well. No dogma of the Catholic Church has ever been changed.

DanFugett said –
Upon reading this thread, my question was why isnt Jesus life and work sufficient for RCC? (Everyone please take a minute to read the whole paragraph - there is no insult intended here.)

His work was and is sufficient for making the offer of our salvation. We still have to properly accept that gift, unless you don’t believe that faith, perfected by love is not needed either. If that is the case, and we have no role what so ever in our own salvation, then all people would be saved.

But if you read this thread you would know that purgatory is not an issue of salvation. Purgatory refers to the purification, the burning away of flawed works, described in 1 Cor 3:11-15.

DanFugett said –
From my perspective, which has been Protestant all my life, it seems that RCC have to have all these extra "props" (I just dont know a better word) like Mary as Co-mediatrix, the merits of other peole as if Jesus work isnt enough, purgatory to do what Jesus finished work at calvary already did for us, etc.

Well I can only address the “props” you mention, so I can only say that the title of Co-mediatrix for Mary is only intended to emphasize her special role in making our salvation available. Just as Eve played a special role in losing our state of grace through her disobedience, so too Mary through her obedience played a special role in bringing our source of salvation (Jesus) into the world.

DanFugett said –
Luther said, "God has placed two ways before us in His Word: salvation by faith, damnation by unbelief (Mark 16:16). He does not mention purgatory at all. Nor is purgatory to be admitted, for it obscures the benefits and grace of Christ."

Once again purgatory is not a salvation issue. Luther is also therefore wrong that it in anyway obscures the benefits or grace of Christ. Maybe if you provided you understanding of 1 Cor 3:11-15, or better yet responded to my interpretation of these verses we might see what this testing could be without it in anyway reducing the saving grace offered as a free gift for salvation.

DanFugett said –
What makes the doctrine of purgatory seem so "dangerous" from my viewpoint is when coupled with a belief system that one cannot satisfy God and get into heaven without accepting what the RCC teaches.

This is another mistake on your behave. The Catholic Church does not teach that only those who accept every last teaching of the RCC are going to heaven. Of course, as we see in this next verse, it is not possible to get into heaven without accepting what Jesus taught.

Mar 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

And since He established a Church, which He promised would not fail, then somewhere on the earth there is His Church and so one needs to be in agreement with its teachings.

DanFugett said –
I read somewhere that RCC teaches the humanity of the Popes and that some were corrupt in history so if I overstepped the line and you think he is infallible, I am sorry for crossing the line.

No, the Catholic Church does not teach that the Pope is infallible. The Catholic Church teaches that when (and only when) the Pope speaks ex cathedra (from the Chair of Peter) on a matter of dogma, he is protected from error by the power of the Holy Spirit (so as to fulfill the promise of being able to bind on earth as in heaven). What this means is that when the Pope makes an official statement of doctrine for all the members of the Church to follow, then he is infallible. This authority is similar to the one held by the Councils but has been used even less frequently. In fact I think it has only been used twice in the past three hundred years.

The rest of his life he is merely a man, he sins and must repent and seek forgiveness. So no, the Pope is not infallible and it is certainly possible for some of the Popes to have been scoundrels, regrettable but possible.