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Author Topic: Indulgences, Temporal Punishment, Purgatory, etc  (Read 175206 times) Average Rating: 5
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« Reply #90 on: December 09, 2007, 10:27:10 PM »


Indulgences, of course, have nothing to do with salvation. Recent movies like Dogma continue to spread that falsehood. The beneficiaries of indulgences are already saved. Indulgences have to do with the purification (or purgatory, as we call it) upon death and have nothing to do with the judgment or salvation of souls.

To us Orthodox it is just another western invention.

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« Reply #91 on: December 09, 2007, 10:28:49 PM »

It's not really about getting off scott-free, it's more a matter of graces being made available to them that assist with the purifying process, allowing them to more easily relinquish the attachments that keep them from being totally one with Christ and pure.

So are you stating you believe in created Grace?
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« Reply #92 on: December 09, 2007, 10:52:02 PM »

To us Orthodox it is just another western invention.

Yes, I'm well acquainted with that fact, though thank you for bringing it up.
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« Reply #93 on: December 10, 2007, 12:22:29 AM »

What I understand about Purgatory from Roman Catholics is that it could mean anything.  Many Orthodox believe that some can be purged from the fire of Hades.  All Roman Catholics have to do is mold the belief of Purgatory into this Orthodox belief and voila!  You have the "same belief."  There are other beliefs of Purgatory obviously, but it seems that the official Roman Catholic belief of purgatory is "some sort of unknown state at an unknown time of some unknown Divine fire purging us to be cleansed before we are in the comforts of Paradise."

As for indulgences, it seems to me to be an over-description of the priestly power to loose and bind for the person and for the departed's sins.

Now, I only wanted this to be a discussion without the "You're wrong, I'm right" type of discussion or "It was believed since the beginning of the Church."  We already know what we think in our minds.  The point of this thread is to offer us some proof and discussion and rebuttals.  So far, I've only seen a rebuttal by the Orthodox on certain verses offered by Catholics that the Catholic replied with something along the likes of "I'm not going to give up the Apostolic faith with your beliefs."  Come on people.  We know we can be more scholarly than that.

God bless.
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« Reply #94 on: December 10, 2007, 03:43:20 PM »

Wow, how did that happen? She is all over the place in the texts and prayers of the IC Mass.

Did you go to a Mass later in the afternoon, say, 4 or 5pm? If you that, that was a vigil Mass for today, the Second Sunday of Advent. The latest I've seen an IC Mass is noon.

Exactly what happened. I figured that out later on.
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« Reply #95 on: December 26, 2007, 11:56:44 AM »

Merged 'Someone Help me with Indulgences with kindness please...' with previous post on Indulgences.

Please remain charitable.  It is a valid issue that many RCs have trouble with when exploring/converting to Orthodoxy.  So no drive-by posts.

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« Reply #96 on: December 26, 2007, 12:22:32 PM »

What exactly would you like to discuss about it?   Smiley
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« Reply #97 on: December 26, 2007, 12:47:19 PM »

What exactly would you like to discuss about it?   Smiley

Well, I guess I was looking for a very kind way of understanding the Orthodox teaching on binding and loosing and how it functions in the Orthodox Church. How does grace repair the damage wrought by sin? In the West, this would be addressed by Purgatory and penance unless the Church extends the grace of the Saints to those asking her to loose their sins from them out of mercy or at least the temporal damage those sins cause.
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« Reply #98 on: December 26, 2007, 07:19:54 PM »

Well, I guess I was looking for a very kind way of understanding the Orthodox teaching on binding and loosing and how it functions in the Orthodox Church. How does grace repair the damage wrought by sin? In the West, this would be addressed by Purgatory and penance unless the Church extends the grace of the Saints to those asking her to loose their sins from them out of mercy or at least the temporal damage those sins cause.
I am also interested in this question. What would be the Orthodox teaching on what happens when a serious sin is forgiven by confession, but perhaps the repentance of the sinner is not as perfect as it should be, considering the seriousness of the sin. Would there not be some temporal damage left for that person to work on, and how would this be done? I think that the Orthodox do not believe in Purgatory, but Catholics do.
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« Reply #99 on: December 26, 2007, 07:30:28 PM »

"Temporal damage" I believe (please weigh in on this if I am horrendously wrong) in Orthodoxy is seen as scars (going with the illness analogy of sin) and that although we are truly healed through Christ the wounds are still there and can be reopened in a short time if the scar is disturbed. (this is the way I have always thought about it)
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« Reply #100 on: December 26, 2007, 08:10:33 PM »

Here is part of a lecture on purgatory (and in turn, atonement, sin, etc) off a Coptic website.  I hope this answers a little.  The language is not too harsh in the article, but obviously, it is in opposition of purgatory, indulgences, etc.  I am busy for a bit, so I cannot full write a response, but hopefully later on I can.

Quote
1. Purgatory is against the doctrine of Atonement and Redemption

Roman Catholics believe that purgatory is a place where "we atone for our sins" while atonement is the work of our Lord Jesus Christ alone. The Basis of the doctrine of Atonement and Redemption is that man is incapable of paying for the Divine Justice no matter how much he does, he suffers, or is punished.

The Holy Bible says,

  • "Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed" (Rom 3:24-25)
  • "If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world." (1 Jn 2:1-2)
  • "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 Jn 4:10)

2. Purgatory is against the doctrine of Salvation

Salvation is only by blood and only the blood of Christ. The blood of Christ is the only purge. "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." (1 Jn 1:7). 'All sin' refers to every kind of sin mentioned by the Catholics the mortal, the venial or any other. The only condition is repentance "confess our sins" "walk in the light" (1 Jn 1:7,9). St Paul says, "But with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption" (Heb 9:12). Purgatory is an insult to the work of the Cross for we say that on the Cross appeared the Divine Love "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son" (Jn 3:16) How would that love agree with the pain of purgatory for forgiven sins and unintentional sins?

To believe in the purgatory is to believe of a partial salvation as if Christ came to save us from the shame of sin not from its penalty.

3. Purgatory is against the sacrament of repentance

Repentance blots sin, God forgives it and does not remember it.

  • Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out. (Acts 3:19)
  • I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins. (Isa 44:22)
  • And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, nailed to the cross. (Col 2:13,14).
  • I, even I, am He Who blots out transgressions for My own sake and I will not remember your sins. (Isa 43:25).

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« Reply #101 on: December 26, 2007, 08:39:21 PM »

Here is part of a lecture on purgatory (and in turn, atonement, sin, etc) off a Coptic website.  I hope this answers a little.  The language is not too harsh in the article, but obviously, it is in opposition of purgatory, indulgences, etc.  I am busy for a bit, so I cannot full write a response, but hopefully later on I can.

Well, I agree that *perfect* repentance blocks sin, but the problem that I am referring to  is that with some of us, the repentance may not be perfect, especially considering the severity of some sins. Further, another problem bothering me  is with small sins, that may not be forgiven at the time of death, and so Purgatory makes sense to me.
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« Reply #102 on: December 26, 2007, 09:42:12 PM »

My Church teaches it does. You asked about it, and I tried to explain what we mean by it.

I don't think I ever described it as a "place." The doctrine does not require it be a place. The doctrine is only that a state of purification exists, that the prayers, alms and oblations of the faithful can have an effect on those in that state, and that the Catholic Church calls this state Purgatory. All else is opinion.

Forgive me, but I was under the impression this was more of a discussion than an exchange of apologetics or polemics. Of course I know you believe Purgatory doesn't exist, but that was not the point of the discussion. The discussion was concerned with what we Catholics believe about it. You don't have to agree (and I wouldn't expect you to agree, or even to understand it well, since you are not a Catholic), but bald statements like "It doesn't exist" don't exactly help the discussion, unless a rat-a-tat-tat of "Yes it does!" "No it doesn't!" "Yes it does" "No it doesn't!" is considered a discussion.

I'm off to celebrate that other RC bogeyman, the IC.  Wink God bless.

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Purgitory and indulgences from iv read here and on the catholic boards is confusing to catholic let alone to the orthodox faithful ,,,Sound like a roadblock to  the straight and narrow path to salvation ,,i think it's silly and not necessary...life it self is confusing enough ,,,im curious why the church R.C. dosn't really explain what it really means by these and how one can really get one if it truly exists acording to there belief ...so the faithful catholics know for a fact with out trying guess if they got one or not....stashko........SmileyCentral.com" border="0
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« Reply #103 on: December 26, 2007, 09:44:26 PM »

Well, I agree that *perfect* repentance blocks sin, but the problem that I am referring to  is that with some of us, the repentance may not be perfect, especially considering the severity of some sins. Further, another problem bothering me  is with small sins, that may not be forgiven at the time of death, and so Purgatory makes sense to me.

I've actually just started reading The Soul After Death by Blessed Seraphim Rose, so I cannot comment on everything yet, but I was able to find an excerpt on the internet which will save me some typing.   Tongue

"In the Orthodox doctrine, on the other hand, which St. Mark teaches, the faithful who have died with small sins unconfessed, or who have not brought forth fruits of repentance for sins they have confessed, are cleansed of these sins either in the trial of death itself with its fear, or after death, when they are confined (but not permanently) in hell, by the prayers and Liturgies of the Church and good deeds performed for them by the faithful. Even sinners destined for eternal torment can be given a certain relief from their torment in hell by these means also. There is no fire tormenting sinners now, however, either in hell (for the eternal fire will begin to torment them only after the Last Judgment), or much less in any third place like "purgatory"; all visions of fire which are seen by men are as it were images or prophecies of what will be in the future age. All forgiveness of sins after death comes solely from the goodness of God, which extends even to those in hell, with the cooperation of the prayers of men, and no "payment" or "satisfaction" is due for sins which have been forgiven."

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« Reply #104 on: December 27, 2007, 12:46:01 AM »

"In the Orthodox doctrine, on the other hand, which St. Mark teaches, the faithful who have died with small sins unconfessed, or who have not brought forth fruits of repentance for sins they have confessed, are cleansed of these sins either in the trial of death itself with its fear, or after death, when they are confined (but not permanently) in hell, by the prayers and Liturgies of the Church and good deeds performed for them by the faithful. ...
Well, being cleansed of small (venial?) sins or imperfect repentance for confessed larger sins, by being confined *temporarily* in hell sounds like Purgatory to me. And being cleansed while there by the prayers and Liturgies of the Church and good deeds performed for them by the faithful sounds to me to be pretty close to almost the same as the Catholic teaching on the value of prayer and such for the suffering souls in Purgatory?
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« Reply #105 on: December 27, 2007, 12:51:08 AM »

According to the RCC, a plenary indulgence requires, among other things, a lack of all attachment to sin.  Is this an absolute requirement?  If so, where in the Fathers or the Bible is this demonstrated, and if not, why doesn't the Pope lift this restriction so that more people can achieve it?

As it is, it sounds to me to be an invitation to spiritual delusion.  For who can know whether or no he is free from attachment to sin?  "I can achieve this or that plenary indulgence, not only for myself but for those in purgatory.  I can make an 'act of heroic virtue' and all my good works will apply to the Poor Souls in purgatory."  O Man, how can you think you can save anyone, when you cannot even save yourself?  Not even the holiest Athonite monk would presume to say to themselves "I am free from attachment to sin!"
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« Reply #106 on: December 27, 2007, 01:00:24 AM »

On a review of the movie Ostrov, I posted some remarks apropos to this topic.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,12667.0.html

Father Anatoly spends a life repenting of a crime he didn't commit, and brings many to God in the process.

No merit involved, just as St. Seraphim said, "save yourself, and a thousand around you are saved."
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« Reply #107 on: December 27, 2007, 02:33:49 AM »

I've actually just started reading The Soul After Death by Blessed Seraphim Rose, so I cannot comment on everything yet, but I was able to find an excerpt on the internet which will save me some typing.   Tongue

"In the Orthodox doctrine, on the other hand, which St. Mark teaches, the faithful who have died with small sins unconfessed, or who have not brought forth fruits of repentance for sins they have confessed, are cleansed of these sins either in the trial of death itself with its fear, or after death, when they are confined (but not permanently) in hell, by the prayers and Liturgies of the Church and good deeds performed for them by the faithful. Even sinners destined for eternal torment can be given a certain relief from their torment in hell by these means also. There is no fire tormenting sinners now, however, either in hell (for the eternal fire will begin to torment them only after the Last Judgment), or much less in any third place like "purgatory"; all visions of fire which are seen by men are as it were images or prophecies of what will be in the future age. All forgiveness of sins after death comes solely from the goodness of God, which extends even to those in hell, with the cooperation of the prayers of men, and no "payment" or "satisfaction" is due for sins which have been forgiven."


I see.  So they are cleansed - dare I say purged... dare I say purgatory...   
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« Reply #108 on: December 27, 2007, 04:33:47 AM »

I see.  So they are cleansed - dare I say purged... dare I say purgatory...   

Well, that he sums up quite well in the paragraph previous to that.

"This teaching strikes the Orthodox reader (as indeed it struck St. Mark) as one of an entirely too 'literalistic' and 'legalistic' character. The Latins by this time had come to regard heaven and hell as somehow 'finished' and 'absolute,' and those in them as already possessing the fullness of the state they will have after the Last Judgment; thus, there is no need to pray for those in heaven (whose lot is already perfect) or those in hell (for they can never be delivered or cleansed from sin). But since many of the faithful die in a 'middle' state—not perfect enough for heaven, but not evil enough for hell—the logic of the Latin arguments required a third place of cleansing ('purgatory'), where even those whose sins had already been forgiven had to be punished or give 'satisfaction' for their sins before being sufficiently cleansed to enter heaven. These legalistic arguments of a purely human 'justice' (which actually deny God's supreme goodness and love of mankind) the Latins proceeded to support by literalistic interpretations of certain Patristic texts and various visions; almost all of these interpretations are quite contrived and arbitrary, because not even the ancient Latin Fathers spoke of such a place as 'purgatory,' but only of the 'cleansing' from sins after death, which some of them referred to (probably allegorically) as by 'fire.'"

But, I'm hardly an authority on any of this.  I'm still a catechumen and learning myself.
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« Reply #109 on: December 27, 2007, 07:23:04 AM »

From Inner Kingdom, by Bishop Kallistos Ware; (page 205)

"It is true that Orthodox theologians usually express reservations about the doctrine of purgatory as developed in medieval and post-medieval Roman Catholic teaching; but at the same time most of the allow for some sort of purging or purification after death. See my book (published un the name Timothy Ware), Eustratios Argenti: A Study of the Greek Church Under Turkish Rule (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1964), 1390160. Elsewhere I have suggested that the Catholic and Orthodox views on the "middle state" after death are leass sharply opposed than appears at first. See my article "One Body in Christ: Death and Communion of Saints," Sobonost 3:2 (1981), 179-91.

There is also an incomplete entry on Purgatory at Wikipedia. While Wikipedia might not be the most reliable source, it does give some references that might help for further investigation on this topic.

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Purgatory

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« Reply #110 on: December 27, 2007, 01:49:34 PM »

Hello,

Father Corapi describes it this way: Think of a piece of wood, a 2X4. Drive a nail into it - that's sin. Go to Confession and the nail is removed, that is the eternal guilt associated with that sin is removed. But what is left - a big hole (size varies according to the sin). That hole is what is called temporal punishment due to sin. Indulgences, penances, and Purgatory are means of healing those holes in us, so that we may be presented to God as a whole piece of wood.
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« Reply #111 on: December 27, 2007, 02:34:21 PM »

Father John Corapi always did have interesting analogies.   Smiley
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« Reply #112 on: December 27, 2007, 02:50:15 PM »

Hello,

Father John Corapi always did have interesting analogies.   Smiley

Yup, I hope he returns to preaching soon.  Smiley
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« Reply #113 on: December 27, 2007, 10:04:12 PM »

To me, I don't the problem is in Purgatory, but the problem lies more so in trying to understand the idea of indulgences.  Is there a practice in the Orthodox Church (or the ancient Church) that one can use to create some sort of parallel with the idea of indulgences?
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« Reply #114 on: December 28, 2007, 11:01:57 AM »

Hello,

Father Corapi describes it this way: Think of a piece of wood, a 2X4. Drive a nail into it - that's sin. Go to Confession and the nail is removed, that is the eternal guilt associated with that sin is removed. But what is left - a big hole (size varies according to the sin). That hole is what is called temporal punishment due to sin. Indulgences, penances, and Purgatory are means of healing those holes in us, so that we may be presented to God as a whole piece of wood.


I think this analogy isnt a good one for us Orthodox.  When God forgives He forgives unconditionally and without leaving guilt behind.  No holes, at least not for us.  Yes, we cannot know all our sins even if we make a life confession. There are always the chance that we have forgotten sins and sins that we commit unknowingly and when we die we die with some of these sins on our soul. We rely on God's mercy to forgive us in the state between our earthly life and our final reward.  There is no burning away of "temperal punishment" or "venial sins" at least not in the Context of Roman Catholicism.  We do recognize that those who die unrepentent can and will receive their just rewards in eternal damnation. This is why frequent confession and reception of Holy Communion is essential for one to have a chance at salvation.   As an Orthodox Christian I would love to have the Orthodox faith adopt this purgatory thing because it sure would make the life after a little more predictable.

 
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The Divine Mercy


« Reply #115 on: December 28, 2007, 02:27:53 PM »

Hello,

When God forgives He forgives unconditionally and without leaving guilt behind.

I said that God takes away all guilt of sin - no guilt is left behind.


No holes, at least not for us.

So after going to Confession, you are a perfect Saint? You have all the virtues there are and there is no vice left in you? There  no more inclinations to sin and you have no more desire to sin?


Yes, we cannot know all our sins even if we make a life confession. There are always the chance that we have forgotten sins and sins that we commit unknowingly and when we die we die with some of these sins on our soul.

If one honestly forgets a sin (e.g., they don't intentionally not mention for whatever reason - like its too embarrassing) then when the Priests confers absolution, all of your sins are forgiven - each and every one.


We rely on God's mercy to forgive us in the state between our earthly life and our final reward.  There is no burning away of "temperal punishment" or "venial sins" at least not in the Context of Roman Catholicism.

Then what do you make of Scripture such as:

Matthew 5:25-26 - 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.

Matthew 5:48 - So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Luke 12:47-48 - That servant who knew his master's will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master's will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly. Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.

1 Corinthians 3:10-17 - According to the grace of God given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But each one must be careful how he builds upon it, for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there, namely, Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, 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. If the work stands that someone built upon the foundation, that person will receive a wage. But if someone's work is burned up, that one will suffer loss; the person will be saved, but only as through fire. Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.

Hebrews 12:14 - Strive for peace with everyone, and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Hebrews 12:23 - and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven, and God the judge of all, and the spirits of the just made perfect,

1 Peter 1:6-7 -In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, 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.

Revelations 3:18-19 - I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire 14 so that you may be rich, and white garments to put on so that your shameful nakedness may not be exposed, and buy ointment to smear on your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and chastise. Be earnest, therefore, and repent.

Revelations 21:27 - but nothing unclean will enter it, nor any (one) who does abominable things or tells lies. Only those will enter whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.

...and more.

And from the Early Church Fathers:

The same divine fire, therefore, with one and the same force and power, will both burn the wicked and will form them again, and will replace as much as it shall consume of their bodies, and will supply itself with eternal nourishment: which the poets transferred to the vulture of Tityus. Thus, without any wasting of bodies, which regain their substance, it will only burn and affect them with a sense of pain. But when He shall have judged the righteous, He will also try them with fire. Then they whose sins shall exceed either in weight or in number, shall be scorched by the fire and burnt: but they whom full justice and maturity of virtue has imbued will not perceive that fire; for they have something of God in themselves which repels and rejects the violence of the flame. So great is the force of innocence, that the flame shrinks from it without doing harm; which has received from God this power, that it burns the wicked, and is under the command of the righteous. Nor, however, let any one imagine that souls are immediately judged after death. For all are detained in one and a common place of confinement, until the arrival of the time in which the great Judge shall make an investigation of their deserts. Then they whose piety shall have been approved of will receive the reward of immortality; but they whose sins and crimes shall have been brought to light will not rise again, but will be hidden in the same darkness with the wicked, being destined to certain punishment. (Lactantius, The Divine Institutes, 7:21)

I think that the noble athletes of God, who have wrestled all their lives with the invisible enemies, after they have escaped all of their persecutions and have come to the end of life, are examined by the prince of this world; and if they are found to have any wounds from their wrestling, any stains or effects of sin, they are detained. If, however they are found unwounded and without stain, they are, as unconquered, brought by Christ into their rest. (Basil, Homilies on the Psalms, 7:2 - sorry, no online link)

If, then whether by forethought here, or by purgation hereafter, our soul becomes free from any emotional connection with the brute creation, there will be nothing to impede its contemplation of the Beautiful...
...Just as those who refine gold from the dross which it contains not only get this base alloy to melt in the fire, but are obliged to melt the pure gold along with the alloy, and then while this last is being consumed the gold remains, so, while evil is being consumed in the purgatorial fire, the soul that is welded to this evil must inevitably be in the fire too, until the spurious material alloy is consumed and annihilated by this fire...
...When such, then, have been purged from it and utterly removed by the healing processes worked out by the Fire, then every one of the things which make up our conception of the good will come to take their place; incorruption, that is, and life, and honour, and grace, and glory, and everything else that we conjecture is to be seen in God, and in His Image, man as he was made. (Gregory of Nyssa, On the Soul and the Resurrection)

When he has quitted his body and the difference between virtue and vice is known he cannot approach God till the purging fire shall have cleansed the stains with which his soul was infested. That same fire in others will cancel the corruption of matter, and the propensity to evil. (Gregory of Nyssa, Sermon on the Dead - sorry no online link, actually I found one, but it is dead Angry)

And it is not impossible that something of the same kind may take place even after this life. It is a matter that may be inquired into, and either ascertained or left doubtful, whether some believers shall pass through a kind of purgatorial fire, and in proportion as they have loved with more or less devotion the goods that perish, be less or more quickly delivered from it. This cannot, however, be the case of any of those of whom it is said, that they"shall not inherit the kingdom of God," unless after suitable repentance their sins be forgiven them. When I say "suitable," I mean that they are not to be unfruitful in almsgiving; for Holy Scripture lays so much stress on this virtue, that our Lord tells us beforehand, that He will ascribe no merit to those on His right hand but that they abound in it, and no defect to those on His left hand but their want of it, when He shall say to the former,"Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom," and to the latter, "Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire." (Augustine, Enchiridion, 69)

For our part, we recognize that even in this life some punishments are purgatorial,—not, indeed, to those whose life is none the better, but rather the worse for them, but to those who are constrained by them to amend their life.  All other punishments, whether temporal or eternal, inflicted as they are on every one by divine providence, are sent either on account of past sins, or of sins presently allowed in the life, or to exercise and reveal a man's graces.  They may be inflicted by the instrumentality of bad men and angels as well as of the good.  For even if any one suffers some hurt through another's wickedness or mistake, the man indeed sins whose ignorance or injustice does the harm; but God, who by His just though hidden judgment permits it to be done, sins not.  But temporary punishments are suffered by some in this life only, by others after death, by others both now and then; but all of them before that last and strictest judgment.  But of those who suffer temporary punishments after death, all are not doomed to those everlasting pains which are to follow that judgment; for to some, as we have already said, what is not remitted in this world is remitted in the next, that is, they are not punished with the eternal punishment of the world to come. (Augustine, City of God, 21:13)


Our Lord saith in the Gospel: Walk whiles you have the light: and by his Prophet he saith: In time accepted have I heard thee, and in the day of salvation have I holpen thee: which the Apostle St. Paul expounding, saith: Behold,  now is the time acceptable; behold, now the day of salvation. Solomon, likewise, saith: Whatsoever thy hand is able to do, work it instantly: for neither work, nor reason, nor knowledge, nor wisdom shall be in hell, whither thou dost hasten. David also saith: Because his mercy is for ever. By which sayings it is plain, that in such state as a man departeth out of this life, in the same he is presented in judgment before God. But yet we must believe that before the day of judgment there is a Purgatory fire for certain small sins: because our Saviour saith, that he which speaketh blasphemy against the holy Ghost, that it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come. Out of which sentence we learn, that some sins are forgiven in this world, and some other may be pardoned in the next: for that which is denied concerning one sin, is consequently understood to be granted touching some other. But yet this, as I said, we have not to believe but only concerning little and very small sins, as, for example, daily idle talk, immoderate laughter, negligence in the care of our family (which kind of offences scarce can they avoid, that know in what sort sin is to be shunned), ignorant errors in matters of no great weight: all which sins be punished after death, if men procured not pardon and remission for them in their lifetime: for when St. Paul saith, that Christ is the foundation:  and by and by addeth: And if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble: the work of every one, of what kind it is, the fire shall try. If any man's work abide which he built thereupon, he shall receive reward; if any mans work burn, he shall suffer detriment, but himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire. For although these words may be understood of the fire of tribulation, which men suffer in this world: yet if any will interpret them of the fire of Purgatory, which shall be in the next life: then must he carefully consider, that the Apostle said not that he may be saved by fire, that buildeth upon this foundation iron, brass, or lead, that is, the greater sort of sins, and therefore more hard, and consequently not remissible in that place: but wood, hay, stubble, that is, little and very light sins, which the fire doth easily consume. Yet we have here further to consider, that none can be there purged, no, not for the least sins that be, unless in his lifetime he deserved by virtuous works to find such favour in that place. (Gregory the Great, Dialogues 4:39)

...and more.
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« Reply #116 on: December 28, 2007, 03:04:23 PM »

Believe me, we can find plenty of Patristic quotes in opposition to what you are posting, Athanasios....proof texters such as yourself never quite get that any one person can write or say or do literally anything on the face of the planet. It is decisions made by the Church that matter.

I like this explanation:

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/death/stmark_purg.aspx

Quote
In explanation of the Apostle's words, they quoted the commentary of S. John Chrysostom, who, using the word fire, gives it the meaning of an eternal, and not temporary, purgatorial fire; explains the words wood, hay, stubble, in the sense of bad deeds, as food for the eternal fire; the word day, as meaning the day of the last judgment; and the words saved yet so as by fire, as meaning the preservation and continuance of the sinner's existence while suffering punishment. Keeping to this explanation, they reject the other explanation given by S. Augustine, founded on the words shall be saved, which he understood in the sense of bliss, and consequently gave quite another meaning to all this quotation. "It is very right to suppose," wrote the Orthodox teachers, "that the Greeks should understand Greek words better than foreigners. Consequently, if we cannot prove that any one of those saints, who spoke the Greek language, explains the Apostle's words, written in Greek, in a sense different to that given by the blessed John, then surely we must agree with the majority of these Church celebrities." The expressions sothenai, sozesthai, and soteria, used by heathen writers, mean in our language continuance, existence (diamenein, einai.) The very idea of the Apostle's words shows this. As fire naturally destroys, whereas those who are doomed to eternal fire are not destroyed, the Apostle says that they continue in fire, preserving and continuing their existence, though at the same time they are being burned by fire. To prove the truth of such an explanation of these words by the Apostle, (ver. 11, 15,) they make the following remarks: The Apostle divides all that is built upon the proposed foundation into two parts, never even hinting of any third, middle part. By gold, silver, stones, he means virtues; by hay, wood, stubble, that which is contrary to virtue, i. e., bad works. "Your doctrine," they continued to tell the Latins, "would perhaps have had some foundation if he (the Apostle) had divided bad works into two kinds, and bad said that one kind is purified by God, and the other worthy of eternal punishment. But he made no such division; simply naming the works entitling man to eternal bliss, i.e., virtues, and those meriting eternal punishment, i.e., sins. After which he says, 'Every man's work shall be made manifest,’ and shows when this will happen, pointing to that last day, when God will render unto all according to their merits: 'For the day,' he says, 'shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire.' Evidently, this is the day of the second coming of Christ, the coming age, the day so called in a particular sense, or as opposed to the present life, which is but night. This is the day when He will come in glory, and a fiery stream shall precede Him. (Dan. vii. 10; Ps. 1. 3; xcvii. 3; 2 S. Pet. iii. 12, 15.) All this shows us that S. Paul speaks here of the last day, and of the eternal fire prepared for sinners. 'This fire,' says he, 'shall try every man's work of what sort it is,' enlightening some works, and burning others with the workers. But when the evil deed will be destroyed by fire, the evil doers will not be destroyed also, but will continue their existence in the fire, and suffer eternally. Whereas then the Apostle does not divide sins here into mortal and venial, but deeds in general into good and bad; whereas the time of this event is referred by him to the final day, as by the Apostle Peter also; whereas, again, he attributes to the fire the power of destroying all evil actions, but not the doers; it becomes evident that the Apostle Paul does not speak of purgatorial fire, which, even in your opinion, extends not over all evil actions, but over some of the minor sins. But these words also, 'If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss,' (zemiothesetai, i.e., shall lose,) shows that the Apostle speaks of the eternal tortures; they are deprived of the Divine light: whereas this cannot be spoken of those purified, as you say; for they not only do not lose anything, but even acquire a great deal, by being freed from evil, and clothed in purity and candour."

(bolded text is mine)

Here is an exceprt from the goarch website that explains this quite succinctly:

http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article7076.asp

Quote
The moral progress of the soul, either for better or for worse, ends at the very moment of the separation of the body and soul; at that very moment the definite destiny of the soul in the everlasting life is decided. (see Androutsos Dogmatics p. 409). It will be judged not according to its deeds one by one, but according to the entire total results of its deeds and thoughts. The Orthodox Church believes that at this moment the soul of the dead person begins to enjoy the consequences of its deeds and thoughts on earth - that is, to enjoy the life in Paradise or to undergo the life in Hell. There.is no way of repentance, no way of escape, no reincarnation and no help from the outside world. Its place is decided forever by its Creator and judge.

The Orthodox Church does not believe in purgatory (a place of purging), that is, the inter-mediate state after death in which the souls of the saved (those who have not received temporal punishment for their sins) are purified of all taint preparatory to entering into Heaven, where every soul is perfect and fit to see God. Also, the Orthodox Church does not believe in indulgences as remissions from purgatoral punishment. Both purgatory and indulgences are inter-corrolated theories, unwitnessed in the Bible or in the Ancient Church, and when they were enforced and applied they brought about evil practices at the expense of the prevailing Truths of the Church. If Almighty God in His merciful loving-kindness changes the dreadful situation of the sinner, it is unknown to the Church of Christ. The Church lived for fifteen hundred years without such a theory.


So, what do we believe? After we die, we are judged, and also that prayers are efficacious. We do not need to ask why, because we take it on faith that they are, as witnessed by Scripture and Tradition.

Why do you need to try to explain this?
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« Reply #117 on: December 28, 2007, 03:38:16 PM »

Hello,

Believe me, we can find plenty of Patristic quotes in opposition to what you are posting, Athanasios....proof texters such as yourself never quite get that any one person can write or say or do literally anything on the face of the planet.
I also found it humorous that when the Orthodox quote from the Fathers, it's an exposition of the Faith - when Catholics do the same, it's proof texting or quote mining.  laugh

In my defense, those who truly are proof texters and quote miners do at times rip quotes out of context ... but I strive not to do that. I try to provide as much of the Patristic quote as I think is in context and I strive to provide an online quote to the original source in its entirety for a reader to get a complete context of the quote - though this isn't always possible to find online links.


It is decisions made by the Church that matter.
Indeed, and isn't that where the argument really is. Which one has the authentic interpretation or even the authority to interpret the Scriptures and Tradition - the Orthodox Church or the Catholic Church. And even beyond that, which viewpoint is proper - Byzantine or Latin. I for one don't see the conflict between the two (except where it is claimed that the other view is wrong). For instance, given the quote from Goarch:

Quote
The moral progress of the soul, either for better or for worse, ends at the very moment of the separation of the body and soul; at that very moment the definite destiny of the soul in the everlasting life is decided. (see Androutsos Dogmatics p. 409). It will be judged not according to its deeds one by one, but according to the entire total results of its deeds and thoughts. The Orthodox Church believes that at this moment the soul of the dead person begins to enjoy the consequences of its deeds and thoughts on earth - that is, to enjoy the life in Paradise or to undergo the life in Hell. There.is no way of repentance, no way of escape, no reincarnation and no help from the outside world. Its place is decided forever by its Creator and judge.

I could say that as a Catholic. Purgatory is not seen as a method of repentance (though some Orthodox have told me they believe that even those in hell can repent and be saved before the Final Judgement). On another thread, someone linked to the east2west site where they pretty much got the Catholic official viewpoint (where all the rest would be theologoumenon). And it is:

In the Catholic understanding, only two points are necessary dogma concerning "purgatory": 1) There is a place of transition/transformation for those en-route to Heaven, and 2) prayer is efficacious for the dead who are in this state.

Though, like I said on the other thread - I'd modify it to say state/place.


We do not need to ask why, because we take it on faith that they are, as witnessed by Scripture and Tradition.

Why do you need to try to explain this?

I think this question would be better suited for its own thread.
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« Reply #118 on: December 28, 2007, 04:01:50 PM »

Believe me, we can find plenty of Patristic quotes in opposition to what you are posting,
Dear Fr. Chris:
    This is a difficult one for some Catholics to understand. For example, how would you explain the excerpt from The Soul After Death, by Fr. Seraphim Rose, App. I, pp. 196-213, as given in Reply #103?
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« Reply #119 on: December 28, 2007, 07:12:18 PM »

^^How would I explain it?

See, I don't have to, beyond the fact that God is inherently a mystery. In His condescension, He will work out our salation through the Mysteries of His Church. That we know; all else are details that limit Him regarding His plan for us.

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« Reply #120 on: December 28, 2007, 08:48:47 PM »

^^How would I explain it?

See, I don't have to, beyond the fact that God is inherently a mystery. In His condescension, He will work out our salation through the Mysteries of His Church. That we know; all else are details that limit Him regarding His plan for us.


OK. Thank you.
With all due respect and esteem for the  good Orthodox Christians here, I will honestly have to say, that I haven't changed my mind about what I already wrote in reply #104.
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« Reply #121 on: December 29, 2007, 12:43:22 AM »

Believe me, we can find plenty of Patristic quotes in opposition to what you are posting, Athanasios....proof texters such as yourself never quite get that any one person can write or say or do literally anything on the face of the planet. It is decisions made by the Church that matter.

I like this explanation:

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/death/stmark_purg.aspx

(bolded text is mine)

Here is an exceprt from the goarch website that explains this quite succinctly:

http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article7076.asp

So, what do we believe? After we die, we are judged, and also that prayers are efficacious. We do not need to ask why, because we take it on faith that they are, as witnessed by Scripture and Tradition.

Why do you need to try to explain this?

Yes, I saw this article on the Greek Orthodox website and I found myself confused. It reminds me of the Protestant view...Why are prayers helpful, then?
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« Reply #122 on: December 29, 2007, 04:53:06 PM »

Hello,

Yes, I saw this article on the Greek Orthodox website and I found myself confused. It reminds me of the Protestant view...Why are prayers helpful, then?

Which part?
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« Reply #123 on: December 31, 2007, 08:42:43 PM »

Hello,

Which part?

On the Greek Orthodox link titled "Death, The Treshold to Eternal Life." Under the section "God's Judgment," it confuses me why one would pray for the dead. It seems the article speaks of prayers and remembering loved ones as part of human nature, but not helpful for them...Huh I mean, I reject the Latin specifics of Purgatory, but that souls are purified is not an issue to me. Excesses in Indulgences are likewise troubling, but our deeds and prayers are surely helpful...
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« Reply #124 on: January 01, 2008, 03:38:40 PM »

Hello,

Which part?

We can not know the extent or limitless bounty of God's mercy.  Sorry to say that no one has yet come back from the grave except Christ and Lazarus, and the later, to my knowledge, didnt put pen to papyrus to record his journey.  Tradition has it that Lazarus became a bishop.
Our take on the eternal is no less creditable than yours. We do believe there is a state in which our sins are dismissed by God provided we are truly repentant.  You call this state purgatory we dont.

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« Reply #125 on: January 15, 2008, 09:03:31 PM »

it confuses me why one would pray for the dead.

I have often thought that our prayers are not temporal, nothing in the spiritual life is.  Really, what creates TIME?....The Earth rotating and revolving around the sun and measured incrementally by humans....both PHYSICAL realities.  So TIME is a result of our physical reality has no involvement in the spiritual world, including the afterlife.  So when we pray for the dead it is perhaps that our prayers and whatever they achieve are applied to that person during their lifetime when they needed it.  And this is also my problem with the Catholic teaching that people spend X amount of time in purgatory.  There is no sun, earth, moon, tides, and so on governing purgatory (or Heaven and Hell) with physical earthly time.

What do you think?

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« Reply #126 on: January 16, 2008, 01:46:45 AM »

I have often thought that our prayers are not temporal, nothing in the spiritual life is.  Really, what creates TIME?....The Earth rotating and revolving around the sun and measured incrementally by humans....both PHYSICAL realities.  So TIME is a result of our physical reality has no involvement in the spiritual world, including the afterlife.  What do you think?
We may measure time by the earth rotating around the sun, but that does not define time. Time is some sort of a dimension in which events occur in sequence. So time does have relevance to our spiritual world. For example, at one point in time, a man may be a sinner. But after a while, he may repent, and then later on in time, he may become a saint. So time does have a relevance to our spiritual life.
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« Reply #127 on: January 16, 2008, 01:49:34 AM »

  And this is also my problem with the Catholic teaching that people spend X amount of time in purgatory.  There is no sun, earth, moon, tides, and so on governing purgatory (or Heaven and Hell) with physical earthly time.
What do you think?
Purgatory makes sense to me, since a man may die with small or venial sins on his soul, or he may have repented imperfectly for his serious or mortal sins, and thereby would not make it to heaven right away.
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« Reply #128 on: April 21, 2008, 10:55:21 PM »

Why is 'Temporal Punishment' separate from 'Eternal Punishment'? I mean why aren't we purged in Hell? Why is Purgatory separate?
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« Reply #129 on: June 05, 2008, 01:40:27 AM »

Thankfully Doctor Martin Luther restored part the Gospel to the Western world. I totally support his Orthodox stand against indulgences, purgatory, satisfactions, etc.

Yes, but he wiped many other important things from Christendom in the west. Such as a valid Priesthood, a valid Hierachy and a valid Mass. And replaced it with an ever splintering school of heretics.
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« Reply #130 on: June 05, 2008, 01:28:06 PM »

Quote
... a man may die with small or venial sins on his soul, or he may have repented imperfectly for his serious or mortal sins, and thereby would not make it to heaven right away.

Fwiw, here's what St. Mark of Ephesus had to say:

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But if souls have departed this life in faith and love, while nevertheless carrying away with themselves certain faults, whether small ones over which they have no repented at all, or great ones for which--even though they have repented over them--they did not undertake to show fruits of repentance: such souls, we believe, must be cleansed from this kind of sins, but not by means of some purgatorial fire or a definite punishment in some place (for this, as we have said, has not at all be handed down to us). But some must be cleansed in the very departure from the body, thanks only to fear, as St. Gregory the Dialogist literally shows; while others must be cleansed after the departure from the body, either while remaining in the same earthly place, before they come to worship God and are honored with the lot of the blessed, or--if their sins were more serious and bind them for a longer duration--they are kept in [hades], but not in order to remain forever in fire and torment, but as it were in prison and confinement under guard.

All such ones, we affirm, are helped by the prayers and Liturgies performed for them, with the cooperation of the Divine goodness and love for mankind. This Divine cooperation immediately disdains and remits some sins, those committed out of human weakness, as Dionysius the Great (the Areopagite) says in 'Reflections on the Mystery of Those Reposed in Faith' (In 'The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, 7, 7); while other sins, after a certain time, by righteous judgments it either likewise releases and forgives--and that completely--or lightens the responsibility for them until that final judgment. And therefore we see no necessity whatever for any other punishment or for a cleansing fire; for some are cleansed by fear, while others are devoured by gnawings of conscience with more torment than any fire, and still others are cleansed only the the very terror before the Divine Glory and the uncertainty as to what the future will be...

And so, we intreat God and believe to deliver the departed from (eternal torment), and not from any other torment or fire apart from those torments and that fire which have been proclaimed to be forever. And that, moreover, the souls of the departed are delivered by prayers from confinement in [hades], as if from a certain prison, is testified, among many others, by Theophanes the Confessor, called the Branded. ...In one of the canons for the reposed he thus prays for them: 'Deliver, O Savior, Thy slaves who are in the [hades] of tears and sighing' (Octoechos, Saturday canon for the deposed, Tone 8, Canticle 6, Glory). - St. Mark of Ephesus, First Homily on the Refutation of the Latin Chapters Concerning Purgatorial Fire

There is also the idea in the Church Fathers that just standing in the presence of God will be like standing before a purifying fire, which would burn our "impurities" off. How this idea squares with that of St. Mark of Ephesus, I'm not so sure.
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #131 on: February 09, 2009, 05:15:38 PM »

The announcement in church bulletins and on Web sites has been greeted with enthusiasm by some and wariness by others. But mainly, it has gone over the heads of a vast generation of Roman Catholics who have no idea what it means: “Bishop Announces Plenary Indulgences."

In recent months, dioceses around the world have been offering Catholics a spiritual benefit that fell out of favor decades ago — the indulgence, a sort of amnesty from punishment in the afterlife — and reminding them of the church’s clout in mitigating the wages of sin.

The fact that many Catholics under 50 have never sought one, and never heard of indulgences except in high school European history (where Martin Luther denounces the selling of them in 1517 and ignites the Protestant Reformation) simply makes their reintroduction more urgent among church leaders bent on restoring fading traditions of penance in what they see as a self-satisfied world.

“Why are we bringing it back?” asked Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio of Brooklyn, who has embraced the move. “Because there is sin in the world.” ...

To read the rest of the article go to: For Catholics, Heaven Moves a Step Closer
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« Reply #132 on: February 09, 2009, 05:30:40 PM »

“Why are we bringing it back?” asked Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio of Brooklyn, who has embraced the move. “Because there is sin in the world.” ...

This is a non sequitur.  How does the sinfulness of the world affect the sinners in purgatory?  Does God punish them or purify more because we are still screwing up here on earth.  Again, this is another reason why this doctrine of the Catholic Church really needs to be jettisoned once and for all.
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« Reply #133 on: February 09, 2009, 05:36:26 PM »

“Why are we bringing it back?” asked Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio of Brooklyn, who has embraced the move. “Because there is sin in the world.” ...

This is a non sequitur.  How does the sinfulness of the world affect the sinners in purgatory?  Does God punish them or purify more because we are still screwing up here on earth.  Again, this is another reason why this doctrine of the Catholic Church really needs to be jettisoned once and for all.
I think that he meant that because the world is and always has been sinful that we now need indulgences for ourselves and those in purpatory need them as well. If there were no such thing as sin, there would be no need for indulgences.
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« Reply #134 on: February 09, 2009, 05:37:08 PM »

If there were no such thing as sin, there would be no need for indulgences.

There is no need for indulgences. Period.
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