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Author Topic: Indulgences, Temporal Punishment, Purgatory, etc  (Read 175880 times) Average Rating: 5
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« Reply #405 on: March 24, 2009, 11:06:01 PM »

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church

III. THE FINAL PURIFICATION, OR PURGATORY

1030 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.

1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.606 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:607


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.608

1032 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."609 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.610 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.611

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« Reply #406 on: March 25, 2009, 01:07:40 AM »

username!,

They were the easiest to find and post (and its late and I just got back from an icon painting class 
Smiley ) but several Orthodox authors deal with subject.  As far as standard teaching goes , I am not aware of one.  Some hold to toll-houses, some believe in release from the fore-court of hell, some don't believe in anything, and each of them is acceptable as theological opinion.

The Church does not state that Purgatory is about paying a debt.  The Catechism states: "The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned."  I don't see how purification can be equated with punishment.  I think the Catholic teaching, as cited in the Catechism,  is actually much more compatible with Orthodox theology than the Orthodox theologumen of release from the fore-court of Hell, which definately entails punishment and suffering.  I agree with you in rejecting medieval Latin errors on the subject. 

Fr. Deacon Lance

Yet spending time somewhere to be purified from the sins you committed during life is paying debt Smiley A purification period in a place set aside for the elect is not found in the Orthodox Church.  We are forgiven/healed and we don't subscribe to owing time for purification vis-a-vis purgatory.  These differences are indeed huge.  Toll houses are a weak argument since it isn't an official part of the deposit of faith. 

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« Reply #407 on: March 25, 2009, 01:11:54 AM »


1032 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."

Father,

I'd lile to comment if I may, for those who don't know the context. 

What had happened was that many of the dead Jewish soldiers were found to have small idols in their clothing.  They had been worshipping idols, seeking their protection in warfare,  and the text says that this idolatry is the reason God allowed them to be slain in battle.

So the surviving soldiers began to offer profound prayers that this dreadul sin would be forgiven and Judas Maccabeus decided to send a large quantity of silver to the Jerusalem temple for prayers for the forgivness of these idolators.

The whole incident substantiates not just prayers for the dead but the Orthodox hope and belief that sin, very serious sin (mortal sin if you will), may be forgiven by God after death.

2 Macc 12: 39-46

Fr Ambrose

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« Reply #408 on: March 25, 2009, 01:15:56 AM »

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.

This question  of the Catechism's mention of sins being forgiven after death used to come up frequently on CAF, and people would say that it means that venial sins may be forgiven after death, not mortal sins. 

I checked with a Catholic bishop and was told that this is so.  Mortal sin cannot be forgiven after death, only venial sin can.

What is the official teaching?
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« Reply #409 on: March 25, 2009, 01:22:04 AM »

IV. HELL

1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: "He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."612 Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren.613 To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called "hell."

1034 Jesus often speaks of "Gehenna" of "the unquenchable fire" reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost.614 Jesus solemnly proclaims that he "will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,"615 and that he will pronounce the condemnation: "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!"616

1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, "eternal fire."617 The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.

1036 The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few."618


Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where "men will weep and gnash their teeth."619

1037 God predestines no one to go to hell;620 for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want "any to perish, but all to come to repentance":621

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« Reply #410 on: March 25, 2009, 01:26:29 AM »

username!,

They were the easiest to find and post (and its late and I just got back from an icon painting class 
Smiley ) but several Orthodox authors deal with subject.  As far as standard teaching goes , I am not aware of one.  Some hold to toll-houses, some believe in release from the fore-court of hell, some don't believe in anything, and each of them is acceptable as theological opinion.

The Church does not state that Purgatory is about paying a debt.  The Catechism states: "The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned."  I don't see how purification can be equated with punishment.  I think the Catholic teaching, as cited in the Catechism,  is actually much more compatible with Orthodox theology than the Orthodox theologumen of release from the fore-court of Hell, which definately entails punishment and suffering.  I agree with you in rejecting medieval Latin errors on the subject. 

Fr. Deacon Lance

Yet spending time somewhere to be purified from the sins you committed during life is paying debt Smiley A purification period in a place set aside for the elect is not found in the Orthodox Church.  We are forgiven/healed and we don't subscribe to owing time for purification vis-a-vis purgatory.  These differences are indeed huge.  Toll houses are a weak argument since it isn't an official part of the deposit of faith. 



Ah, but the Catholic Church teaches Purgatory is a state not a place and no longer speaks of spending time there.  One simply undergoes purification. 

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« Reply #411 on: March 25, 2009, 01:37:45 AM »

I don't see how purification can be equated with punishment. 

Of course Catholics do not believe any more that purgatory entails
any punishment for temporal punishment due to sin. What a thought!
That previous Catholic teaching has been banished back to the Dark Ages.


There is such a teaching in the Baltimore Catechism but it is outdated now and believed only by some of the older Catholic generations.

Q. 853. How does the Church by means of Indulgences remit the temporal punishment due to sin?

A. The Church, by means of Indulgences, remits the temporal punishment due to sin by applying to us the merits of Jesus Christ, and the superabundant satisfactions of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the saints; which merits and satisfactions are its spiritual treasury.

---

The online Catholic Encyclopdeas also seems to be stuck in a time warp and has an erroneous teaching.

Purgatory (Lat., "purgare", to make clean, to purify) in accordance with Catholic teaching is a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God's grace, are, not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.

---


Thomas Aquinas also taught erroneously that there was punishment in purgatory. In fact he speaks of it so many times that I can give you only a small selection of his words on the matter from the Summa...  Obviously, it was one of the popular heresies of his day!

The below is all from Question 2

Question 2. The Quality of Souls Who Expiate Actual Sin or Its Punishment in Purgatory


The severity of that punishment is not so much a consequence of the degree of sin, as of the disposition of the person punished, because the same sin is more severely punished then than now. Even so a person who has a better temperament is punished more severely by the same sentence than another; and yet the judge acts justly in condemning both for the same crimes to the same punishment.

In Purgatory there will be a twofold pain; one will be the pain of loss, namely the delay of the divine vision, and the pain of sense, namely punishment by corporeal.

It would seem that this punishment is voluntary. For those who are in Purgatory are upright in heart. Now uprightness in heart is to conform one's will to God's, as Augustine says (Serm. i in Ps. 32).  Therefore, since it is God's will that they be punished, they will suffer that punishment voluntarily.

Further, every wise man wills that without which he cannot obtain the end he has in view. Now those who are in Purgatory know that they cannot obtain glory, unless they be punished first. Therefore they are punished willingly.

On the contrary, no one asks to be freed from a punishment that he suffers willingly. Now those who are in Purgatory ask to be set free, as appears from many incidents related in the Dialogue of Gregory (iv, 40,65). Therefore they will not undergo that punishment voluntarily.

It is, however, possible that they [the angels] take them to the place of punishment

Since the obligation incurred by guilt is nothing else than the debt of punishment, a person is freed from that obligation by undergoing the punishment which he owed. Accordingly the punishment of Purgatory cleanses from the debt of punishment
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« Reply #412 on: March 25, 2009, 01:41:44 AM »

Fr. Ambrose,

Quote
Of course Catholics do not believe any more that purgatory entails
any punishment for temporal punishment due to sin. What a thought!
That previous Catholic teaching has been banished back to the Dark Ages.

I think the Catechism makes that quite clear.

Fr. Deacon Lance
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« Reply #413 on: March 25, 2009, 05:08:49 AM »

 How can Greek Catholics be criticized for believing in Purgatory as defined by the Catechism, when some Orthodox believe in something worse like release from the fore-court of Hell?



Remember that Pope Saint Gregory the Great prayed for the Emperor Trajan and his prayer was heard...Trajan was saved: the Roman emperor, he who was a pagan, he who killed Christians in the Colosseum!
 
Why did this great Pope of Rome pray for Trajan?

Because there was a time when the holy Church of Rome was joined with her sister Churches and grace flowed through her in abundance. There was a time when the Romans believed that in exceptional circumstances God would deliver souls from hell. But since their falling away from the unity of the Church this teaching has been rejected. An ever increasing spirit of logic and legalism slowly overwhelmed the earlier inner life of grace and freedom.

We see the belief in the great prayer which still remains in the Roman liturgy:

"Libera animas omnium fidelium defunctorum de poenis inferni et de profundo lacu."

Roman scholars will say that this prayer means exactly what it says. Roman theologians will say that this was an error in the belief of the ancient Church and they have corrected it. They have retained the prayer but they no longer understand it as their ancestors in the faith understood it.

But there is no doubt that my ancestors in the faith, from the Emerald Isle, during the millennium when they were Orthodox believed that souls could be released from hell.   Take Saint Samthann of Clonbroney.  She was well known for the ability to get a soul out of hell.  Saint Aidan of Ferns was also known for this. Praying a soul out of hell was, however, not an uncommon accomplishment for Irish saints; one scholar Lisa Bitel has claimed it to be an "almost exclusively Celtic motif."

So, certainly in the early days when Christianity was fresh and strong they thought that they could pray a man out of hell. Now it may be seen as rather questionable theology in our days, for either Church. Maybe the early Christians were wrong. Who can say? Once again, their old belief places a gentle question mark over some of the things that we have declared certain.

Here is something from the Rule of Saint Maelruain, from the holy monastery of Tallaght. It is 8th century:

"There is nothing which a person does for a soul that has departed that does not help it, both vigil and abstinence, and singing the intercession and frequent blessings. Filii pro mortuis parentibus debent poenitere.

A whole year therefore was Saint Maidoc of Ferns, with all his people, living on water and biscuit so as to ransom the soul of Brandubh, son of Eochaidh, from hell."
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« Reply #414 on: March 25, 2009, 06:55:26 AM »

 How can Greek Catholics be criticized for believing in Purgatory as defined by the Catechism, when some Orthodox believe in something worse like release from the fore-court of Hell?
Quote
What are you talking about?  Please do tell me what a "release from the fore-court of hell" is? 

It's possible that Father's residual memory is playing tricks!   Smiley  Unless my own memory is failing me (always a possibility) I believe that the former Roman Catholic teaching of many centuries by many Popes and many great theologians (Thomas Aquinas, Robert Bellarmine) was that purgatory, as well as limbo,were sections in the upper levels of hell.  I suppose that these upper layers could be seen as the "forecourts of hell" and this would explain where the confusion comes in.
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« Reply #415 on: March 25, 2009, 10:05:13 AM »

So, certainly in the early days when Christianity was fresh and strong they thought that they could pray a man out of hell. Now it may be seen as rather questionable theology in our days, for either Church. Maybe the early Christians were wrong. Who can say? Once again, their old belief places a gentle question mark over some of the things that we have declared certain.
What is a merciful heart? It is a heart on fire for the whole of creation, for humanity, for the birds, for the animals, for demons, and for all that exists. By the recollection of them the eyes of a merciful person pour forth tears in abundance. By the strong and vehement mercy that grips such a person's heart, and by such great compassion, the heart is humbled and one cannot bear to hear or to see any injury or slight sorrow in any in creation. For this reason, such a person offers up tearful prayer continually even for irrational beasts, for the enemies of the truth, and for those who harm her or him, that they be protected and receive mercy. And in like manner such a person prays for the family of reptiles because of the great compassion that burns with without measure in a heart that is in the likeness of God.
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« Reply #416 on: March 25, 2009, 11:15:31 AM »

I guess I don't really understand why the idea of a place like purgatory is offensive to the Orthodox (which is probably why I haven't converted, yet  Wink ).

I understand that you don't have the same concept of original sin, so perhaps that is where the difference comes in - yes?

FWIW, C.S. Lewis, who certainly wasn't concerned about anything the Pope had to say, also believed in Purgatory.  He describes it in "Mere Christianity" and even in some of his children's books.  Remember when Eustace had to have his dragon-skin torn off in "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader"?  That was Lewis' definition of Purgatory, right there.
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« Reply #417 on: March 25, 2009, 11:27:26 AM »

Fr. Ambrose,

Quote
Of course Catholics do not believe any more that purgatory entails
any punishment for temporal punishment due to sin. What a thought!
That previous Catholic teaching has been banished back to the Dark Ages.

I think the Catechism makes that quite clear.

Fr. Deacon Lance


If the Catechism doesn't teach the notion of temporal punishments what does this mean:

Quote from: The Catechism of the Catholic Church
The punishments of sin

1472 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.

1473 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."

 Huh

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« Reply #418 on: March 25, 2009, 11:28:24 AM »

There are Protestants whose concept of original sin is very close to what the RCs teach, and yet they don't believe in purgatory either-of course because it is not a biblical doctrine.
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« Reply #419 on: March 25, 2009, 12:05:56 PM »

Show and Tell:



I took this photo several years ago.  It somewhat epitomizes (I think at least) the RC understanding. 
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« Reply #420 on: March 25, 2009, 12:57:15 PM »

I guess I don't really understand why the idea of a place like purgatory is offensive to the Orthodox (which is probably why I haven't converted, yet  Wink ).

I understand that you don't have the same concept of original sin, so perhaps that is where the difference comes in - yes?

FWIW, C.S. Lewis, who certainly wasn't concerned about anything the Pope had to say, also believed in Purgatory.  He describes it in "Mere Christianity" and even in some of his children's books.  Remember when Eustace had to have his dragon-skin torn off in "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader"?  That was Lewis' definition of Purgatory, right there.

No one said it is offensive to the Orthodox.  The concept of Original sin is different, the concept of the afterlife is different, et al... when you add this all up think about what that really changes? 
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« Reply #421 on: March 25, 2009, 01:44:22 PM »

No one said it is offensive to the Orthodox.

No offense meant by saying it's offensive ..  Cool

The concept of Original sin is different, the concept of the afterlife is different, et al... when you add this all up think about what that really changes?

To be honest, I'm just not sure.  I'm still learning.

Frankly, my personal opinion, which doesn't really coincide with either Catholic or Orthodox AFAIK, is that none of us really knows for sure till we get there, so it's all just speculation at this point.  angel
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« Reply #422 on: March 25, 2009, 02:15:34 PM »

none of us really knows for sure till we get there, so it's all just speculation at this point.  angel
That pretty much sums up the Orthodox understanding. We do not speak about that which we do not know. Purgatory was not something that was dogmatized when the Churches were one. And it is not something that the Orthodox have accepted as doctrine.
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« Reply #423 on: March 25, 2009, 03:34:34 PM »

No one said it is offensive to the Orthodox.

No offense meant by saying it's offensive ..  Cool

The concept of Original sin is different, the concept of the afterlife is different, et al... when you add this all up think about what that really changes?

To be honest, I'm just not sure.  I'm still learning.

Frankly, my personal opinion, which doesn't really coincide with either Catholic or Orthodox AFAIK, is that none of us really knows for sure till we get there, so it's all just speculation at this point.  angel

No we can go with what has been revealed to us and that doesn't include any sort of purgatory.. no matter how you flip and spin the definition.  Different definitions of things theological lead to what?  Who created everything including the theological issues we debate?  If we have different approached and dogma on things related to God what can be said ultimately about those differing approaches? 
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« Reply #424 on: March 25, 2009, 04:14:07 PM »

No we can go with what has been revealed to us and that doesn't include any sort of purgatory.. no matter how you flip and spin the definition.

What exactly is it that has been revealed to you that hasn't been revealed to me?  Because I have been told the same thing about purgatory by the (roman) Catholic Church, and am not convinced.  What proof do you have that you're right and they're wrong?

Also, I noticed Mickey says:

Quote
That pretty much sums up the Orthodox understanding. We do not speak about that which we do not know.

What do you know that Mickey and I don't know?  Wink
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« Reply #425 on: March 25, 2009, 04:28:43 PM »

(If you don't believe me, try going to a Catholic school to give a small talk on icons and experience the pain of the children almost shouting at you:  "No, Father, we don't pray to Mary.  We don't pray to Saints" and you glance at the teacher and she smiles wryly and says that this is the way things are taught now.)

My mother was a Catholic School teacher for 25 years until she retired a couple years ago, and I can assure you she taught her kids to pray to the Virgin Mary and the Saints and to reverence icons.  There are many Catholic teachers still teaching things the "old way".

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« Reply #426 on: March 25, 2009, 04:32:57 PM »

No we can go with what has been revealed to us and that doesn't include any sort of purgatory.. no matter how you flip and spin the definition.

What exactly is it that has been revealed to you that hasn't been revealed to me?  Because I have been told the same thing about purgatory by the (roman) Catholic Church, and am not convinced.  What proof do you have that you're right and they're wrong?

Also, I noticed Mickey says:

Quote
That pretty much sums up the Orthodox understanding. We do not speak about that which we do not know.

What do you know that Mickey and I don't know?  Wink


You obviously missed what I meant..... the only way we know anything about God what has been revealed to us, not to me personally.  And I think you're misunderstanding the jist of the argument, Catholics, no matter what rite are not the same as Orthodox in belief.  And the beliefs are so different on key things, basic things not just the pope thing either. 
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« Reply #427 on: March 25, 2009, 04:38:32 PM »

No we can go with what has been revealed to us and that doesn't include any sort of purgatory.. no matter how you flip and spin the definition.

What exactly is it that has been revealed to you that hasn't been revealed to me?  Because I have been told the same thing about purgatory by the (roman) Catholic Church, and am not convinced.  What proof do you have that you're right and they're wrong?

Also, I noticed Mickey says:

Quote
That pretty much sums up the Orthodox understanding. We do not speak about that which we do not know.

What do you know that Mickey and I don't know?  Wink

Never said revealed to me did I?  I would suggest learning the fundamental differences between the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Communion before trying to ask me what I know. 
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« Reply #428 on: March 25, 2009, 04:40:19 PM »

Never said revealed to me did I?  I would suggest learning the fundamental differences between the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Communion before trying to ask me what I know. 

I have obviously stepped into this on the wrong foot as usual.  My apologies for whatever I have said that has made you angry with me.  I will creep humbly back into the shadows now.  Cry
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« Reply #429 on: March 25, 2009, 04:42:25 PM »

Fr. Ambrose,

Quote
Of course Catholics do not believe any more that purgatory entails
any punishment for temporal punishment due to sin. What a thought!
That previous Catholic teaching has been banished back to the Dark Ages.

I think the Catechism makes that quite clear.

Fr. Deacon Lance


If the Catechism doesn't teach the notion of temporal punishments what does this mean:

Quote from: The Catechism of the Catholic Church
The punishments of sin

1472 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.

1473 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."

 Huh



Alpo,

I think this is where the Catechism gets into trouble by falling back into punishment language and trying to assign temporality (place, time, punishment) to the non-temporal (soul).  I think they should have concentrated on: "On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures" which the Eastern Fathers would say is our fallen nature and its subjugation to the passions.  It can be interpreted as punishment in so far as we are attached to and enjoy our passions and are loathe to give them up.  But as the Catechism states that is punishment we inflict on ourselves not one that God inflicts on us.  The purpose of repentance and asceticism is to purify us of our passions.  If we die repentant but still attached to our passions it makes sense for me that one will experince God's light(fire) as purifying, just as those unrepentant will experience it as torture, and those purified in this life experince it only as joy.

Fr. Deacon Lance
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« Reply #430 on: March 25, 2009, 04:56:31 PM »

Ah but isn't this thread really about what the Greek Catholics believe? 

Yes it is.  The problem is, some Orthodox like to dig up the worst Latin theological excesses and present them as the required belief of Greek Catholics.

Why does it always have to come back to this same argument... "this is held by some Orthodox."

Because its a good arguement.  How can Greek Catholics be criticized for believing in Purgatory as defined by the Catechism, when some Orthodox believe in something worse like release from the fore-court of Hell?

Fr. Deacon Lance

What are you talking about?  Please do tell me what a "release from the fore-court of hell" is? 

I believe that it is standard Orthodox teaching that after death and particular judgement the Heaven or Hell we experience is not the final version but only a foretaste, the fore-court if you will,  of what we will receive on the Great Day of Judgement and the Resurrection of the Dead.  Some Fathers taught that offering Liturgies and prayers for the dead can obtain the release of some from the fore-court of Hell.  This is an acceptable theological opinion for Orthodox to hold, unless I am mistaken.  This not quite the same as the Latin idea of Purgatory but close. 

Fr. Deacon Lance
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« Reply #431 on: March 25, 2009, 07:18:58 PM »

I think this is where the Catechism gets into trouble...

So we agree that according to the Catechism "purgatory entails any punishment for temporal punishment due to sin"? Wink
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« Reply #432 on: March 25, 2009, 10:02:42 PM »

Ah but isn't this thread really about what the Greek Catholics believe? 

Yes it is.  The problem is, some Orthodox like to dig up the worst Latin theological excesses and present them as the required belief of Greek Catholics.

Why does it always have to come back to this same argument... "this is held by some Orthodox."

Because its a good arguement.  How can Greek Catholics be criticized for believing in Purgatory as defined by the Catechism, when some Orthodox believe in something worse like release from the fore-court of Hell?

Fr. Deacon Lance

What are you talking about?  Please do tell me what a "release from the fore-court of hell" is? 

I believe that it is standard Orthodox teaching that after death and particular judgement the Heaven or Hell we experience is not the final version but only a foretaste, the fore-court if you will,  of what we will receive on the Great Day of Judgement and the Resurrection of the Dead.  Some Fathers taught that offering Liturgies and prayers for the dead can obtain the release of some from the fore-court of Hell.  This is an acceptable theological opinion for Orthodox to hold, unless I am mistaken.  This not quite the same as the Latin idea of Purgatory but close. 

Fr. Deacon Lance

The difference is what matters. It's not the same, I wouldn't call a football a Ford F-350.
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« Reply #433 on: March 25, 2009, 10:53:02 PM »


I think this is where the Catechism gets into trouble by falling back into punishment language and trying to assign temporality (place, time, punishment) to the non-temporal (soul).

We have been told for years on CAF that this present Catechism is semi-infallible.    It was composed on the instructions of Pope John Paul II who vetted every line of it and then commanded its use throughout the Catholic Church.

We also have the teaching on this matter of purgatory and punishment from Pope Paul VI and he completes his document with the instructions that his words must stand until eternity

The 1967 Apostolic Constitution Indulgentium Doctrina 
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-vi_apc_19670101_indulgentiarum-doctrina_en.html


"2. It is a divinely revealed truth that sins bring punishments inflicted by God's sanctity and justice. These must be expiated either on this earth through the sorrows, miseries and calamities of this life and above all through death, or else in the life beyond through fire and torments or "purifying" punishments..."


Sorry, Father, but you are setting your own opinion in opposition to the official teaching of two of the modern Popes.  You lose.  Two tanks versus one Tonka toy.   Grin

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« Reply #434 on: March 25, 2009, 11:03:46 PM »


We also have the teaching on this matter of purgatory and punishment from Pope Paul VI and he completes his document with the instructions that his words must stand until eternity

The 1967 Apostolic Constitution Indulgentium Doctrina 
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-vi_apc_19670101_indulgentiarum-doctrina_en.html

Father,

A lot has changed since 1967. Shocked
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« Reply #435 on: March 25, 2009, 11:09:51 PM »

[I believe that it is standard Orthodox teaching that after death and particular [partial is the Orthodox term] judgement the Heaven or Hell we experience is not the final version but only a foretaste, the fore-court if you will,  of what we will receive on the Great Day of Judgement and the Resurrection of the Dead. 

Yes.


Quote
Some Fathers taught that offering Liturgies and prayers for the dead can obtain the release of some from the fore-court of Hell. 

Are these Fathers not your Fathers also?


Quote
Some Fathers taught that offering Liturgies and prayers for the dead can obtain the release of some from the fore-court of Hell.

Not from the "fore-court of Hell" but from Hell.   I have not come across the expression "fore-court of Hell", neither in patristic writings nor elsewhere.  Do you have one or two references. 
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« Reply #436 on: March 25, 2009, 11:17:35 PM »


We also have the teaching on this matter of purgatory and punishment from Pope Paul VI and he completes his document with the instructions that his words must stand until eternity

The 1967 Apostolic Constitution Indulgentium Doctrina 
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-vi_apc_19670101_indulgentiarum-doctrina_en.html

Father,

A lot has changed since 1967. Shocked

So in 1967 Pope Paul VI was guilty of teaching the faithful heresy.

When was this corrected?   What Pope and what document overturned Pope Paul's teaching?   Do you have references? 

When a Pope concludes an Apostolic Constitution with the admonition that his teaching must stand unto eternity, is this simply hogwash?  Does everybody know that it can be rejected 40 years later?

Is there nothing certain and solid in your Church apart from the two infallible statements: the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption? 
----------

The 1967 Apostolic Constitution Indulgentium Doctrina 
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-vi_apc_19670101_indulgentiarum-doctrina_en.html



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« Reply #437 on: March 25, 2009, 11:19:20 PM »

Quote
Is there nothing certain and solid in your Church apart from the two infallible statements: the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption? 


Fr Ambrose, there's a third statement: Papal Infallibility (1870).  laugh
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« Reply #438 on: March 25, 2009, 11:26:53 PM »

Quote
Is there nothing certain and solid in your Church apart from the two infallible statements: the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption? 


Fr Ambrose, there's a third statement: Papal Infallibility (1870).  laugh

That's a tricky one since it was proclaimed by a Council of the Roman Catholic Church.  It seems that the Melkite Catholics (and other Eastern Catholics?) do not feel obliged to accept doctrine promulgated by what they see as local Councuils of the Church of Rome.  They do not accept these Councils as Ecumenical.  Even their eparchial website in the States says this in black and white.
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« Reply #439 on: March 25, 2009, 11:45:32 PM »


We also have the teaching on this matter of purgatory and punishment from Pope Paul VI and he completes his document with the instructions that his words must stand until eternity

The 1967 Apostolic Constitution Indulgentium Doctrina 
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-vi_apc_19670101_indulgentiarum-doctrina_en.html

Father,

A lot has changed since 1967. Shocked

So in 1967 Pope Paul VI was guilty of teaching the faithful heresy.

When was this corrected?   What Pope and what document overturned Pope Paul's teaching?   Do you have references? 

When a Pope concludes an Apostolic Constitution with the admonition that his teaching must stand unto eternity, is this simply hogwash?  Does everybody know that it can be rejected 40 years later?

Is there nothing certain and solid in your Church apart from the two infallible statements: the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption? 
----------

The 1967 Apostolic Constitution Indulgentium Doctrina 
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-vi_apc_19670101_indulgentiarum-doctrina_en.html

The Pope may have been speaking rather unofficially. Officially, the Catholic Church teaches two things about purgatory: (1) it exists [yeah, that's helpful Grin] and (2) the faithful still alive can help the souls in purgatory via prayer, offerings, etc.

I'm not sure if that's a helpful teaching or not, but the Council of Trent apparently thought so:
Quote
"Whereas the Catholic Church, instructed by the Holy Ghost, has from the Sacred Scriptures and the ancient tradition of the Fathers taught in Councils and very recently in this Ecumenical synod (Sess. VI, cap. XXX; Sess. XXII cap.ii, iii) that there is a purgatory, and that the souls therein are helped by the suffrages of the faithful, but principally by the acceptable Sacrifice of the Altar; the Holy Synod enjoins on the Bishops that they diligently endeavor to have the sound doctrine of the Fathers in Councils regarding purgatory everywhere taught and preached, held and believed by the faithful" (Denzinger, "Enchiridon", 983).
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« Reply #440 on: March 31, 2009, 03:43:29 PM »

Please note that the Catechism teaches:
1.  There is a state of final purification.
2.  Prayer for those in that state is effective.

That is all Eastern Catholics are required to believe, we are not required to accept medieval Latin add ons to the above.
Are Western Catholics required to accept the medieval Latin add ons?  I realize this is a discussion about the beliefs of Greek Catholics, but I would find it interesting, to say the least, if there was a difference here.
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« Reply #441 on: April 01, 2009, 09:59:16 AM »

would it be accurate to say that many Orthodox agree with the doctrine of Purgatory, as officially defined (which has been asserted by some ecumenically-minded Catholics), but wish that it had not been officially defined?

No, because purgatory is based on an heretical doctrine that Christ did not accomplish the full remission and satisfaction for sin.

According to Catholic theology the punishment God requires for sin is of two categories.

1.  An eternal punishment due to sin.  Only Christ could make satisfaction to the Father for this

2. A temporal punishment due to sin.  Individuals must make satisfaction for their own temporal punishment,
whether in this life by prayer and fasting and self-punishment, or in the next life by purgatorial sufferings.

Orthodoxy won't come near this theology, not even with a barge pole.   Grin
Oh Father, I would expect better than mischaracterization of the Catholic faith from a priest. How sad.
Actually, we do believe that Christ is the one who accomplished the remission of our sins. However, this does not remove temporal consequences of our sins. Christ did not take that away. Sometimes these temporal consequences spill over into the after life and this is called purgatory.
Furthermore purgatory is based on the idea that, as the scriptures that state, "nothing unclean will enter into heaven." Now, I don't know anyone who's motives and intentions are perfect and pure in everything they do. Thus, even those who die in God's friendship have some things about them that are "unclean". God must remove this uncleanliness or no one would be aloud in heaven. And yes, it is Christ's blood that washes away our sins, but even after being forgiven, are you then perfect and all of your motives pure? I think not.
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« Reply #442 on: April 01, 2009, 10:56:18 AM »

In my own opinion this another one of those "apophatic" moments where Orthodox belief is defined by reading up on what the Catholics say they believe and then coming out and criticizing it; i.e. we know it's wrong because the Catholics believe it.

Anyhow, one of the more interesting pieces I have read on the middle state of souls in Byzantine thought can be found here

http://www.doaks.org/publications/doaks_online_publications/DOP55/DP55ch06.pdf

It is a scholarly study published by Dumbarton Oaks.

One of the things it touches on is the rise of the idea of "demonic tollgates" as a pre Christian idea that came to fruition in the apocryphal tale of Theodora.  To quote one section

Quote
The tradition of the tollgates was firmly established throughout the east long before the end of late antiquity, although it received typically Byzantine elaboration in the tenth-century Life of Basil the Younger (d. 944). Like a play within a play, the life describes the ordeal of a certain Theodora, a pious though not perfect woman, whose soul passes through a series of twenty-two tollgates arranged in three groups of seven, with a final examination for general “inhumanity and hardness of heart.” The story proved to be quite popular and was known, for instance, to Meletios Galesiotes (ca. 1209–86), who mentions Theodora twice by name in the verses of his Alphabetalphabeto.  It is worthy of note that Mark Eugenikos (d. 1445), who was undoubtedly familiar with the tradition of the demonic tollgates, failed to mention it in his polemics against purgatory at the Council of Florence (1438–39). The attempted cover-up was soon ex-posed, however, by Eugenikos’ disciple, Gennadios Scholarios (ca. 1400–1472) who, in one of his grand gestures toward the West, stated that the trial of the “tollgates” was, in fact, the Byzantine equivalent of purgatory, minus the fireworks. Indeed, the soul of Theodora was, in the end, spared the ordeal of the tollgates after her spiritual director, St. Basil the Younger, indulged her with a gold coin taken from the coffers of his own merits

Fascinating I must say!
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« Reply #443 on: April 01, 2009, 11:08:07 AM »

Provide the quote so that we can discuss it.

Here it is. 



From the Catechism of the Catholic Church

III. THE FINAL PURIFICATION, OR PURGATORY

1030 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.

1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.606 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:607

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.608

1032 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."609 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.610 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.611
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« Reply #444 on: April 01, 2009, 03:18:21 PM »

Provide the quote so that we can discuss it.

Here it is. 



From the Catechism of the Catholic Church

III. THE FINAL PURIFICATION, OR PURGATORY

1030 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.

1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.606 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:607

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.608

1032 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."609 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.610 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.611
The catechism is free to use traditional symbolic language to describe purgatory. It does not necessarily mean that there is a literal fire. The word fire here can just as easily mean purification or suffering as it often does in the scriptures. We as Catholics, must believe in a post death purification that invovles suffering. The word "fire" is a good symbol for this suffering.
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« Reply #445 on: April 01, 2009, 03:45:33 PM »

would it be accurate to say that many Orthodox agree with the doctrine of Purgatory, as officially defined (which has been asserted by some ecumenically-minded Catholics), but wish that it had not been officially defined?

No, because purgatory is based on an heretical doctrine that Christ did not accomplish the full remission and satisfaction for sin.

According to Catholic theology the punishment God requires for sin is of two categories.

1.  An eternal punishment due to sin.  Only Christ could make satisfaction to the Father for this

2. A temporal punishment due to sin.  Individuals must make satisfaction for their own temporal punishment,
whether in this life by prayer and fasting and self-punishment, or in the next life by purgatorial sufferings.

Orthodoxy won't come near this theology, not even with a barge pole.   Grin
Oh Father, I would expect better than mischaracterization of the Catholic faith from a priest. How sad.
Actually, we do believe that Christ is the one who accomplished the remission of our sins. However, this does not remove temporal consequences of our sins. Christ did not take that away. Sometimes these temporal consequences spill over into the after life and this is called purgatory

Papist,

You are playing the sophist, something forced upon modern Catholics by the changes in their teachings since Vatican II, changes which they have to accept and at the same time they have to do a juggling act to make out that there have been no changes.  What a nightmare!

Will you place your hand on the holy Cross and say: 

"The Catholic Church and the Popes have never taught that there is temporal punishment in Purgatory and this involves suffering and torment.


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« Reply #446 on: April 01, 2009, 03:56:35 PM »

[Oh Father, I would expect better than mischaracterization of the Catholic faith from a priest. How sad.

The problem is that some of Catholicism's theology is in a state of flux and there are divergent teachings.  So Catholics may use one argument one day and the next day use another if it is more appropriate.

I'd like to pull a post from a mutual friend who writes here.

-oOo-

Do yourself a favor and pick up any book in the 1950's teaching the Roman Catholic Faith...

This is The Faith
Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma
Everyman's Theology
Baltimore Catechism
etc

and you will find the faith taught by the Roman Catholic Church in the 1950's and 'all' of them taught Purgatory, Limbo, etc in the same exact way with very little in common with today's Roman Catholic Theology.

Modern Roman Catholics are all about reductionism. Separating 'depictions' from Doctrine, Traditions from traditions, etc etc. That is because within this kind of reconstruction you would be forced to deal with the contradictions such a move in Theology would create.

I'd recommend that Catholics start rereading the Classics and realize that Post-Vatican II Theology is a departure from what has been taught and thought for one thousand years.

Now you and others may argue that this 'piece' of Classic Theology wasn't 'infallibly' spoken or was only tradition with a small "t".   For me that spin on the reductionism happening within the Roman Catholic Church since Vatican II is such a farce.  It's rationalizing how we 'change the theology of the Roman Catholic Church' without admitting that we are changing the theology of the Roman Catholic Church... and that is weak in my opinion.

For hundreds of years Roman Catholics were taught Purgatory was a 'place and state' and that Limbo was a 'place and state' but in our modern times such certainties have been sidelined to make room for other theological opinions.  I ask, what happened to 'truth'?   I look and I see Catholicism reconstructing itself and pretending that it really isn't because this or that wasn't spoken infallibly or was actually never 'really' part of Tradition but only tradition with a small "t".   I simply can't believe in the Roman Catholic Church because of such nonsense and have simply embraced the Church that Catholicism is attempting to remake itself into... the Holy Orthodox Catholic Church.

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« Reply #447 on: April 01, 2009, 04:11:58 PM »


Ah, but the Catholic Church teaches Purgatory is a state not a place and no longer speaks of spending time there.   

This was simply an opinion of Pope John Paul's which he spoke about at two papal lunchtime audiences.

It was then taken up enthusiastically in some Catholic circles.

How's does a Pope's lunchtime opinion jump to become church teaching binding on the faithful? 
« Last Edit: April 01, 2009, 04:12:45 PM by Irish Hermit » Logged
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Holy Father Patrick, pray for us


« Reply #448 on: April 01, 2009, 04:21:11 PM »

[From the Catechism of the Catholic Church

III. THE FINAL PURIFICATION, OR PURGATORY


1032 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."

The reference to this section in the history of Judas Maccabeus is an important one.   It proves that the West is wrong when it believes that grave sin, mortal sin, cannot be forgiven after death.  The text of Maccabees demonstrates that it can. 

For a fuller explanation see an earlier message  http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20355.msg304145.html#msg304145
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« Reply #449 on: April 01, 2009, 05:38:33 PM »

The catechism is free to use traditional symbolic language to describe purgatory. It does not necessarily mean that there is a literal fire. The word fire here can just as easily mean purification or suffering as it often does in the scriptures. We as Catholics, must believe in a post death purification that invovles suffering. The word "fire" is a good symbol for this suffering.

I see.  So basically you are saying that you are free to interpret it any way you like. 

As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire.

Seems pretty clear to me.  If they wanted to say that it could be interpreted metaphorically, surely they would have made it clearer and used words other than "we must believe..."
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