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Author Topic: Indulgences, Temporal Punishment, Purgatory, etc  (Read 175019 times) Average Rating: 5
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stanley123
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« Reply #1125 on: April 12, 2010, 02:39:10 AM »

As a matter of clarification, according then to your belief, sins may be absolved after death? If this is your belief, would that include all sins, or just the more moderate ones?

All sins, even the worst.  This is the teaching of sacred Scripture.

The history of Judas Maccabeus is an important one in this matter.   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. 

To give some context to the incident in Maccabees... 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 dreadful sin would be forgiven and Judas Maccabeus decided to send a large quantity of silver to the Jerusalem temple for prayers for the forgiveness of these idolaters.

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


Is this a universal teaching among all Orthodox or are there some who take a different view?
Also, how would you reconcile this with the words of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 25:41 :""Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.'"

What's the contradiction?
I forgot the line of discussion here. Sorry. 
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« Reply #1126 on: April 12, 2010, 02:44:07 AM »

Quote
The sin is forgiven. However, even after the sin has been forgiven, there may remain a temporal punishment due to sin which can be remitted by penitential works such as fasting, almsgiving, prayer, works of charity in this world, or by purification in purgatory in the next.


Quote
His sin is forgiven, but according to Catholic belief, God does not always remit the whole punishment due to sin,


Still doesn't answer the question of are confessed sins forgiven and removed from the spiritual record after absolution? And what of this: As far as the east is from the west, so far has He taken our sins from us. (Ps. 102/103) Do indulgences and purgatory override the words of the psalm and the words and actions of your sacrament of absolution? Seems these "doctrinal developments" do. Your church has unfortunately painted itself into a semantic corner over the remission of sins, in the guise of the notion of purgatory (oh, your sins aren't quite forgiven, even after confession and absolution), and, worse, indulgences, the "get out of jail free" card. The most unbelievable aspect of all this is the twisting of Christ's words to the "good thief" to justify an erroneous doctrine.
I am sorry to read that you feel that way about it. I tried to explain the teaching as I understand it to be.
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« Reply #1127 on: April 12, 2010, 03:13:52 AM »

[Yeah. I can see your argument. Still, I don;t think it proves that there is no purgatory. Catholics have what is called a plenary indulgence which remits all of the temporal punishment due to sin and there is no reason why Our Lord would not have given the good thief total forgiveness and a plenary indulgence.

Stanley, the idea that the Saviour gve the Good Thief a "plenary indulgence" is a bit farfetched.

The usual Catholic explanation is that the Good Thief received a Baptism by Blood on the cross, and as with all baptism it forgave all his previous sins and wiped out both the eternal and the temporal punishment due to his sins.  His soul was fresh and clean.

Up to that point the theory of Baptism by Blood seems fine, EXCEPT it comes slap bang up against the modern teaching of Purgatory and its purpose as the purification of a person's soul from all his sinful inclinations (habitus) so that he may be worthy to behold the divine vision of God.  This is NOT accomplished by Baptism.  Now obviously the Good Thief had no time to undergo this purification.  All this sins and punishments, both eternal and temporal, were remitted but how was his soul prepared and made worthy of the divine vision?  Was this purification somehow forced upon him instantaneously by the Saviour?  A wave of the hand, and bingo, all his sinful inclinations were destroyed in a second by a divine act of spiritual violence against his innermost being and personality?

If anything the instantanteous salvation of the Thief on the Cross argues against Purgatory and against the need for complete purity of the soul and the will before it is possible to be in God's presence.

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« Reply #1128 on: April 12, 2010, 03:27:50 AM »

[Yeah. I can see your argument. Still, I don;t think it proves that there is no purgatory. Catholics have what is called a plenary indulgence which remits all of the temporal punishment due to sin and there is no reason why Our Lord would not have given the good thief total forgiveness and a plenary indulgence.

Stanley, the idea that the Saviour gve the Good Thief a "plenary indulgence" is a bit farfetched.

The usual Catholic explanation is that the Good Thief received a Baptism by Blood on the cross, and as with all baptism it forgave all his previous sins and wiped out both the eternal and the temporal punishment due to his sins.  His soul was fresh and clean.

Up to that point the theory of Baptism by Blood seems fine, EXCEPT it comes slap bang up against the modern teaching of Purgatory and its purpose as the purification of a person's soul from all his sinful inclinations (habitus) so that he may be worthy to behold the divine vision of God.  This is NOT accomplished by Baptism.  Now obviously the Good Thief had no time to undergo this purification.  All this sins and punishments, both eternal and temporal, were remitted but how was his soul prepared and made worthy of the divine vision?  Was this purification somehow forced upon him instantaneously by the Saviour?  A wave of the hand, and bingo, all his sinful inclinations were destroyed in a second by a divine act of spiritual violence against his innermost being and personality?

If anything the instantanteous salvation of the Thief on the Cross argues against Purgatory and against the need for complete purity of the soul and the will before it is possible to be in God's presence.


Well that was his case, where he (the thief) was crucified on a cross.
But let's suppose a man goes confession and he says that he has just stolen $50,000. The priest then gives him absolution. Will his sin be completely forgiven even if he does not return the money to the widow from whom he stole it?
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« Reply #1129 on: April 12, 2010, 03:32:41 AM »

As a matter of clarification, according then to your belief, sins may be absolved after death? If this is your belief, would that include all sins, or just the more moderate ones?

All sins, even the worst.  This is the teaching of sacred Scripture.

The history of Judas Maccabeus is an important one in this matter.   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. 

To give some context to the incident in Maccabees... 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 dreadful sin would be forgiven and Judas Maccabeus decided to send a large quantity of silver to the Jerusalem temple for prayers for the forgiveness of these idolaters.

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


Is this a universal teaching among all Orthodox or are there some who take a different view?
Also, how would you reconcile this with the words of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 25:41 :""Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.'"

What's the contradiction?
On rereading this, I see the contradiction.
On the one hand, Jesus describes in the passage quoted those who will be sent into everlasting fire. Now according to Father Ambrose, a sin can be forgiven after death. How can a mortal sin be forgiven after death if that person has been condemned to everlasting fire?   
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« Reply #1130 on: April 12, 2010, 03:38:45 AM »

[Yeah. I can see your argument. Still, I don;t think it proves that there is no purgatory. Catholics have what is called a plenary indulgence which remits all of the temporal punishment due to sin and there is no reason why Our Lord would not have given the good thief total forgiveness and a plenary indulgence.

Stanley, the idea that the Saviour gve the Good Thief a "plenary indulgence" is a bit farfetched.

The usual Catholic explanation is that the Good Thief received a Baptism by Blood on the cross, and as with all baptism it forgave all his previous sins and wiped out both the eternal and the temporal punishment due to his sins.  His soul was fresh and clean.

Up to that point the theory of Baptism by Blood seems fine, EXCEPT it comes slap bang up against the modern teaching of Purgatory and its purpose as the purification of a person's soul from all his sinful inclinations (habitus) so that he may be worthy to behold the divine vision of God.  This is NOT accomplished by Baptism.  Now obviously the Good Thief had no time to undergo this purification.  All this sins and punishments, both eternal and temporal, were remitted but how was his soul prepared and made worthy of the divine vision?  Was this purification somehow forced upon him instantaneously by the Saviour?  A wave of the hand, and bingo, all his sinful inclinations were destroyed in a second by a divine act of spiritual violence against his innermost being and personality?

If anything the instantanteous salvation of the Thief on the Cross argues against Purgatory and against the need for complete purity of the soul and the will before it is possible to be in God's presence.


Well that was his case, where he (the thief) was crucified on a cross.
But let's suppose a man goes confession and he says that he has just stolen $50,000. The priest then gives him absolution. Will his sin be completely forgiven even if he does not return the money to the widow from whom he stole it?

Christ is Risen, Alleluia

Not quite answering your question but....

why is Baptism able to utterly remit the eternal and the temporal punishment due to sin

and yet Confession can remit only the eternal punishment, and the temporal punishment remains on the soul, unremitted.


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« Reply #1131 on: April 12, 2010, 03:52:19 AM »


Now according to Father Ambrose, a sin can be forgiven after death. How can a mortal sin be forgiven after death if that person has been condemned to everlasting fire?   

Christ is Risen, Alleluia

How? Because  Eastern Christians, Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic, believe there is a possibility of salvation right up until the time of the final judgement when Christ shall return with all the angels to judge the earth.

Your Church teaches that what it calls venial sins may be forgiven after death... but it draws back from saying the same of what it calls mortal sins.   The East makes no such clearcut distinction between sins, apart from the obvious fact that some are worse than others.


An interesting quote from Saint Martin of Tours which backs up Saint Augustine's statement that in the early Church there was a widespread belief in the possibility of final salvation for all, even including for the devil if he repented.

“If thou, thyself, wretched being, wouldst but desist from attacking mankind, and even, at this period, when the day of judgment is at hand, wouldst only repent of your deeds, I, with a true confidence in the Lord, would promise you the mercy of Christ.

Chapter XXII.

Martin preaches Repentance even to the Devil.

Now, the devil, while he tried to impose upon the holy man by a thousand injurious arts, often thrust himself upon him in a visible form, but in very various shapes. For sometimes he presented himself to his view changed into the person of Jupiter, often into that of Mercury and Minerva. Often, too, were heard words of reproach, in which the crowd of demons assailed Martin with scurrilous expressions. But knowing that all were false and groundless, he was not affected by the charges brought against him. Moreover, some of the brethren bore witness that they had heard a demon reproaching Martin in abusive terms, and asking why he had taken back, on their subsequent repentance, certain of the brethren who had, some time previously, lost their baptism by falling into various errors. The demon set forth the crimes of each of them; but they added that Martin, resisting the devil firmly, answered him, that by-past sins are cleansed away by the leading of a better life, and that through the mercy of God, those are to be absolved from their sins who have given up their evil ways. The devil saying in opposition to this that such guilty men as those referred to did not come within the pale of pardon, and that no mercy was extended by the Lord to those who had once fallen away, Martin is said to have cried out in words to the following effect: “If thou, thyself, wretched being, wouldst but desist from attacking mankind, and even, at this period, when the day of judgment is at hand, wouldst only repent of your deeds, I, with a true confidence in the Lord, would promise you the mercy of Christ.” O what a holy boldness with respect to the loving-kindness of the Lord, in which, although he could not assert authority, he nevertheless showed the feelings dwelling within him! And since our discourse has here sprung up concerning the devil and his devices, it does not seem away from the point, although the matter does not bear immediately upon Martin, to relate what took place; both because the virtues of Martin do, to some extent, appear in the transaction, and the incident, which was worthy of a miracle, will properly be put on record, with the view of furnishing a caution, should anything of a similar character subsequently occur.

Source :: Sulpitius Severus "On the Life of St. Martin" Chapter XXI
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« Reply #1132 on: April 12, 2010, 03:54:12 AM »

^^  Whenever I would ask such a question (about temporal punishment), I was always pointed in the direction of Thomas Aquinas.

Quote
...in Baptism man begins a new life, and by the baptismal water becomes a new man, as that no debt for previous sin remains in him. on the other hand, in Penance, a man does not take on a new life, since therein he is not born again, but healed. Consequently by virtue of the keys which produce their effect in the sacrament of Penance, the punishment is not entirely remitted, but something is taken off the temporal punishment, the debt of which could remain after the eternal punishment had been remitted. Nor does this apply only to the temporal punishment which the penitent owes at the time of confession, as some hold, (for then confession and sacramental absolution would be mere burdens, which cannot be said of the sacraments of the New Law), but also to the punishment due in Purgatory, so that one who has been absolved and dies before making satisfaction, is less punished in Purgatory, than if he had died before receiving absolution.
Summa Theologica, XP, Q18, A2
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« Reply #1133 on: April 12, 2010, 03:55:59 AM »


Now according to Father Ambrose, a sin can be forgiven after death. How can a mortal sin be forgiven after death if that person has been condemned to everlasting fire?   

Christ is Risen, Alleluia

How? Because  Eastern Christians, Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic, believe there is a possibility of salvation right up until the time of the final judgement when Christ shall return with all the angels to judge the earth.

Your Church teaches that what it calls venial sins may be forgiven after death... but it draws back from saying the same of what it calls mortal sins.   The East makes no such clearcut distinction between sins, apart from the obvious fact that some are worse than others.


An interesting quote from Saint Martin of Tours which backs up Saint Augustine's statement that in the early Church there was a widespread belief in the possibility of final salvation for all, even including for the devil if he repented.

“If thou, thyself, wretched being, wouldst but desist from attacking mankind, and even, at this period, when the day of judgment is at hand, wouldst only repent of your deeds, I, with a true confidence in the Lord, would promise you the mercy of Christ.

Chapter XXII.

Martin preaches Repentance even to the Devil.

Now, the devil, while he tried to impose upon the holy man by a thousand injurious arts, often thrust himself upon him in a visible form, but in very various shapes. For sometimes he presented himself to his view changed into the person of Jupiter, often into that of Mercury and Minerva. Often, too, were heard words of reproach, in which the crowd of demons assailed Martin with scurrilous expressions. But knowing that all were false and groundless, he was not affected by the charges brought against him. Moreover, some of the brethren bore witness that they had heard a demon reproaching Martin in abusive terms, and asking why he had taken back, on their subsequent repentance, certain of the brethren who had, some time previously, lost their baptism by falling into various errors. The demon set forth the crimes of each of them; but they added that Martin, resisting the devil firmly, answered him, that by-past sins are cleansed away by the leading of a better life, and that through the mercy of God, those are to be absolved from their sins who have given up their evil ways. The devil saying in opposition to this that such guilty men as those referred to did not come within the pale of pardon, and that no mercy was extended by the Lord to those who had once fallen away, Martin is said to have cried out in words to the following effect: “If thou, thyself, wretched being, wouldst but desist from attacking mankind, and even, at this period, when the day of judgment is at hand, wouldst only repent of your deeds, I, with a true confidence in the Lord, would promise you the mercy of Christ.” O what a holy boldness with respect to the loving-kindness of the Lord, in which, although he could not assert authority, he nevertheless showed the feelings dwelling within him! And since our discourse has here sprung up concerning the devil and his devices, it does not seem away from the point, although the matter does not bear immediately upon Martin, to relate what took place; both because the virtues of Martin do, to some extent, appear in the transaction, and the incident, which was worthy of a miracle, will properly be put on record, with the view of furnishing a caution, should anything of a similar character subsequently occur.

Source :: Sulpitius Severus "On the Life of St. Martin" Chapter XXI

This appears to contradict the concept of condemnation to everlasting fire.
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« Reply #1134 on: April 12, 2010, 04:00:43 AM »

Stanley, the idea that the Saviour gve the Good Thief a "plenary indulgence" is a bit farfetched.
It is not that way for a Catholic who understands the meaning of plenary indulgence.
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« Reply #1135 on: April 12, 2010, 04:13:37 AM »

Christ is Risen, Alleluia
Indeed He has risen!
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« Reply #1136 on: April 12, 2010, 04:17:08 AM »

Stanley, the idea that the Saviour gve the Good Thief a "plenary indulgence" is a bit farfetched.
It is not that way for a Catholic who understands the meaning of plenary indulgence.
Christ is Risen, Alleluia

Oh Stanley, next you'll be saying that in Baptism Christ grants a Plenary Indulgence out of His merits gained on the Cross and the Indulgence remits all the temporal punishment due to the sins of the baptized person.  :-)
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« Reply #1137 on: April 12, 2010, 04:22:24 AM »

^^  Whenever I would ask such a question (about temporal punishment), I was always pointed in the direction of Thomas Aquinas.

Quote
...in Baptism man begins a new life, and by the baptismal water becomes a new man, as that no debt for previous sin remains in him. on the other hand, in Penance, a man does not take on a new life, since therein he is not born again, but healed. Consequently by virtue of the keys which produce their effect in the sacrament of Penance, the punishment is not entirely remitted, but something is taken off the temporal punishment, the debt of which could remain after the eternal punishment had been remitted. Nor does this apply only to the temporal punishment which the penitent owes at the time of confession, as some hold, (for then confession and sacramental absolution would be mere burdens, which cannot be said of the sacraments of the New Law), but also to the punishment due in Purgatory, so that one who has been absolved and dies before making satisfaction, is less punished in Purgatory, than if he had died before receiving absolution.
Summa Theologica, XP, Q18, A2

I've always thought that Aquinas lived in his own nightmare.  I've never been really able to believe that God appeared to him and commended him for his wriitings, such as the requirement to put dissident believers to death.  I could see the God of Calvin doing that, but not the God of Christians.
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« Reply #1138 on: April 12, 2010, 04:23:09 AM »

Stanley, the idea that the Saviour gve the Good Thief a "plenary indulgence" is a bit farfetched.
It is not that way for a Catholic who understands the meaning of plenary indulgence.
Christ is Risen, Alleluia

Oh Stanley, next you'll be saying that in Baptism Christ grants a Plenary Indulgence out of His merits gained on the Cross and the Indulgence remits all the temporal punishment due to the sins of the baptized person.  :-)
 Yes. :-)  :-)
But wait.
Was the good thief a special case or not?
It seems to me like he was.
Consider the ordinary thief who has stolen $50,000 from a widow. This was her life savings. now he goes to confession and the priest gives him absolution. Was his sin completely forgiven even if he does not return the money?
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« Reply #1139 on: April 12, 2010, 04:27:57 AM »

About the Thief, I was always instructed that by paradise, it meant "Abraham's Bosom", rather than Heaven.  So, when Christ descended into Hell, they were in "paradise" together on that day.  What supposedly happened to the Thief afterwards? *shrugs*
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« Reply #1140 on: April 12, 2010, 06:13:59 AM »

About the Thief, I was always instructed that by paradise, it meant "Abraham's Bosom", rather than Heaven.  So, when Christ descended into Hell, they were in "paradise" together on that day.  What supposedly happened to the Thief afterwards? *shrugs*
Christ is Risen, Alleluia

In accordance with the principle that our iconography is an expression of our faith, this 17th century icon raises interesting points of view.  Does  it express the belief of the Church?  Or is it merely one possible option among many since the Church has a rather non-definitive and fluid approach as to the mysteries of the afterdeath state and the time before the Second Coming of the Lord?

In it we see that the Mother of God and the Angels, the Saints of both the Old and the New Testament are already in Heaven and they surround Christ our Saviour.

Below Heaven there is what must be Paradise because Dismas the Good Thief is depicted there - a forlorn and somewhat lonely figure without any companions.

Then, also within Paradise, we find the Bosom of Abraham.   This raises the question as to why Dismas, of all the Old Testament people, is both outside the company of Heavan and also outside the Bosom of Abraham?  Is he in some sort of voluntary exile?


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« Reply #1141 on: April 12, 2010, 01:50:02 PM »

Quote from Stanley, reply #1119: "However, even after the sin has been forgiven, there may remain a temporal punishment due to sin which can be remitted by penitential works such as fasting, almsgiving, prayer, works of charity in this world, or by purification in purgatory in the next."
***
And there, I think, is the heart of the issue. We fast, give alms, pray, or do works of charity out of love of neighbor and the desire to become more Christlike people. We don't do it because we're afraid of hell (I hope).
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« Reply #1142 on: April 12, 2010, 02:01:25 PM »

Stanley, the idea that the Saviour gve the Good Thief a "plenary indulgence" is a bit farfetched.
It is not that way for a Catholic who understands the meaning of plenary indulgence.
Christ is Risen, Alleluia

Oh Stanley, next you'll be saying that in Baptism Christ grants a Plenary Indulgence out of His merits gained on the Cross and the Indulgence remits all the temporal punishment due to the sins of the baptized person.  :-)
 Yes. :-)  :-)
But wait.
Was the good thief a special case or not?
It seems to me like he was.
Consider the ordinary thief who has stolen $50,000 from a widow. This was her life savings. now he goes to confession and the priest gives him absolution. Was his sin completely forgiven even if he does not return the money?


This is unbelievable.

The point of the mystery of confession is that it is part of the process of repentance. If you go to confession and are never truly repentant, then nothing happens. No magic absolution. If you do not go to magic confession, but are still truly and honestly repentant, you will still be forgiven. If your hypothetical thief were truly repentant, then I am sure he would go the way of Zacchaeus and give back what he stole.

And the forgiveness of sins through baptism cannot possibly confer the merits gained by Christ on the Cross, because John baptized for the forgiveness of sins before the Crucifixion.
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« Reply #1143 on: April 12, 2010, 02:46:30 PM »

Quote from Stanley, reply #1119: "However, even after the sin has been forgiven, there may remain a temporal punishment due to sin which can be remitted by penitential works such as fasting, almsgiving, prayer, works of charity in this world, or by purification in purgatory in the next."
***
And there, I think, is the heart of the issue. We fast, give alms, pray, or do works of charity out of love of neighbor and the desire to become more Christlike people. We don't do it because we're afraid of hell (I hope).

Actually, that is not the heart of the issue, since according to Catholic understanding those who find themselves in the process of purgatorial purification are already "in" Heaven and assured of the Beatific Vision.  This is why in Dante's Purgatorio the souls in Purgatory are filled with joyous expectation and welcome their purificatory sufferings. 

At the Council of Florence, the central dividing issue between the West and the East was on the nature of the purgatorial fire.  The Latins generally asserted that the fire was a created, temporary fire; the Easterners rejected this.

Contemporary Catholic theologians have generally abandoned the thesis of a created fire.  The essential point about Purgatory, they assert, is the process of sanctification, which they describe as a process of purification of all remaining attachments and self-will.  The older language of "temporal punishment" for sin must be understood in this light.   

Hence I suggest that the real question is, Can the Orthodox accept as theologoumenon the construal of Purgatory as a process of sanctification?   Is there anything here to which the Orthodox object in principle?
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« Reply #1144 on: April 12, 2010, 03:23:40 PM »

Contemporary Catholic theologians have generally abandoned the thesis of a created fire. 

It seems that you are saying that the RCC has morphed the original meaning of purgatory over a period of time.  Huh
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« Reply #1145 on: April 12, 2010, 03:51:06 PM »

<snip>
Hence I suggest that the real question is, Can the Orthodox accept as theologoumenon the construal of Purgatory as a process of sanctification?   Is there anything here to which the Orthodox object in principle?

I think that it could only be thought of this way from an Orthodox perspective if the person voluntarily participates in such a process and that it is not imposed or required of by God as a precondition to receiving His forgiveness and mercy.

The Orthodox Church understands the state of 'unrest' for the dead in Christ as the suffering experienced by the 'naked' conscience.  The process of healing the conscience may take time, and be facilitated or sped up through the prayers of the living and the intercessions of the saints.  This is found in all the services for the dead in the Evchologion.

Since the healing of the conscience is a necessary part of sanctification, then such an argument can be made though only on a limited basis.
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« Reply #1146 on: April 12, 2010, 04:04:16 PM »

If your hypothetical thief were truly repentant, then I am sure he would go the way of Zacchaeus and give back what he stole.
Not always, as we see from the thief on the cross. He may not have that opportunity to return what he had stolen and the widow and the children are still starving after all their money has been stolen from them.
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« Reply #1147 on: April 12, 2010, 05:59:03 PM »

Contemporary Catholic theologians have generally abandoned the thesis of a created fire. 

It seems that you are saying that the RCC has morphed the original meaning of purgatory over a period of time.  Huh

I think Catholics would prefer to think of it as a clarification.  Smiley 

See paragraphs 44-48 of Pope Benedict's encyclical Spe Salvi.
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« Reply #1148 on: April 12, 2010, 06:20:35 PM »

<snip>
Hence I suggest that the real question is, Can the Orthodox accept as theologoumenon the construal of Purgatory as a process of sanctification?   Is there anything here to which the Orthodox object in principle?

I think that it could only be thought of this way from an Orthodox perspective if the person voluntarily participates in such a process and that it is not imposed or required of by God as a precondition to receiving His forgiveness and mercy.

As I mentioned, in the Catholic perspective, all the souls in Purgatory are already forgiven and saved.  Purification is not a condition of God's mercy but it is a condition of our enjoyment of the presence of God.  I see no difference between Catholicism and Orthodoxy on this point.

Quote
The Orthodox Church understands the state of 'unrest' for the dead in Christ as the suffering experienced by the 'naked' conscience.  The process of healing the conscience may take time, and be facilitated or sped up through the prayers of the living and the intercessions of the saints.  This is found in all the services for the dead in the Evchologion.

Since the healing of the conscience is a necessary part of sanctification, then such an argument can be made though only on a limited basis.[/font][/size]

The Catholic agrees.  Sounds like fundamental agreement exists between the two communions.
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« Reply #1149 on: April 12, 2010, 06:35:37 PM »

Contemporary Catholic theologians have generally abandoned the thesis of a created fire. 

It seems that you are saying that the RCC has morphed the original meaning of purgatory over a period of time.  Huh
There is nothing wrong with using different metaphors for purgatory over time. Do you believe that hell is a literal fire because it is described as such in the bible?
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« Reply #1150 on: April 12, 2010, 06:36:55 PM »

The Catholic agrees.  Sounds like fundamental agreement exists between the two communions.
I don't like to pretend like real differences do not exist but in this case I have to agree with you.
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« Reply #1151 on: April 12, 2010, 06:48:05 PM »

<snip>
Hence I suggest that the real question is, Can the Orthodox accept as theologoumenon the construal of Purgatory as a process of sanctification?   Is there anything here to which the Orthodox object in principle?

I think that it could only be thought of this way from an Orthodox perspective if the person voluntarily participates in such a process and that it is not imposed or required of by God as a precondition to receiving His forgiveness and mercy.

As I mentioned, in the Catholic perspective, all the souls in Purgatory are already forgiven and saved.  Purification is not a condition of God's mercy but it is a condition of our enjoyment of the presence of God.  I see no difference between Catholicism and Orthodoxy on this point.

Quote
The Orthodox Church understands the state of 'unrest' for the dead in Christ as the suffering experienced by the 'naked' conscience.  The process of healing the conscience may take time, and be facilitated or sped up through the prayers of the living and the intercessions of the saints.  This is found in all the services for the dead in the Evchologion.

Since the healing of the conscience is a necessary part of sanctification, then such an argument can be made though only on a limited basis.[/font][/size]

The Catholic agrees.  Sounds like fundamental agreement exists between the two communions.

I would personally accept the the theologoumenon of purgatory as a continual process of sanctification through uncreated fire.

Unfortunately, you are still bent on the notion that sin requires punishment after it is "forgiven." If the nonexistent hypothetical thief had really done permanent harm to someone, and, say, the thief immediately got hit by a truck and had no opportunity whatsoever to make up for his sin, if he were still truly repentant, and honestly would have turned his life around, he still gets forgiven, just like the thief on the cross, IMHO, God willing.

No plenary indulgences. Forgiveness means nothing if punishment is still required.
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« Reply #1152 on: April 12, 2010, 07:51:57 PM »


Unfortunately, you are still bent on the notion that sin requires punishment after it is "forgiven." If the nonexistent hypothetical thief had really done permanent harm to someone, and, say, the thief immediately got hit by a truck and had no opportunity whatsoever to make up for his sin, if he were still truly repentant, and honestly would have turned his life around, he still gets forgiven, just like the thief on the cross, IMHO, God willing.

No plenary indulgences. Forgiveness means nothing if punishment is still required.

Hmmm.  It appears that you are the one who is insisting on "punishment."  I believe that I described purgatory as a process of sanctification and healing, a process which will no doubt involves some kind of personal suffering, as is inevitable and necessary in the process of our liberation from our self-will.  Is this "punishment"?  The Latin Church has historically used this language to speak of this purificatory suffering, but the punishment is therapeutic, not punitive.  I refer you to the already cited encyclical, Spe Salvi, as well as Pope John Paul II's catechetical addresses on Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory.  Thus John Paul:

Quote
In following the Gospel exhortation to be perfect like the heavenly Father (cf. Mt 5: 48) during our earthly life, we are called to grow in love, to be sound and flawless before God the Father "at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints" (1 Thes 3: 12f.). Moreover, we are invited to "cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit" (2 Cor 7: 1; cf. 1 Jn 3: 3), because the encounter with God requires absolute purity.  Every trace of attachment to evil must be eliminated, every imperfection of the soul corrected. Purification must be complete, and indeed this is precisely what is meant by the Church's teaching on purgatory. The term does not indicate a place, but a condition of existence. Those who, after death, exist in a state of purification, are already in the love of Christ who removes from them the remnants of imperfection.

I acknowledge that in centuries preceding the Catholic Church's presentation of Purgatory has sometimes resembled an eschatological torture chamber, where God metes out punishment to the last farthing.  But this is not the interpretation that is advanced in the Catholic Catechism, the teachings of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, nor the best contemporary Catholic theologians.  Also see my own very fallible reflections on this topic.  What is essential in the Catholic understanding of Purgatory is purification.

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« Reply #1153 on: April 12, 2010, 08:45:20 PM »


Unfortunately, you are still bent on the notion that sin requires punishment after it is "forgiven." If the nonexistent hypothetical thief had really done permanent harm to someone, and, say, the thief immediately got hit by a truck and had no opportunity whatsoever to make up for his sin, if he were still truly repentant, and honestly would have turned his life around, he still gets forgiven, just like the thief on the cross, IMHO, God willing.

No plenary indulgences. Forgiveness means nothing if punishment is still required.

Hmmm.  It appears that you are the one who is insisting on "punishment."  I believe that I described purgatory as a process of sanctification and healing, a process which will no doubt involves some kind of personal suffering, as is inevitable and necessary in the process of our liberation from our self-will.  Is this "punishment"?  The Latin Church has historically used this language to speak of this purificatory suffering, but the punishment is therapeutic, not punitive.  I refer you to the already cited encyclical, Spe Salvi, as well as Pope John Paul II's catechetical addresses on Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory.  Thus John Paul:

Quote
In following the Gospel exhortation to be perfect like the heavenly Father (cf. Mt 5: 48) during our earthly life, we are called to grow in love, to be sound and flawless before God the Father "at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints" (1 Thes 3: 12f.). Moreover, we are invited to "cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit" (2 Cor 7: 1; cf. 1 Jn 3: 3), because the encounter with God requires absolute purity.  Every trace of attachment to evil must be eliminated, every imperfection of the soul corrected. Purification must be complete, and indeed this is precisely what is meant by the Church's teaching on purgatory. The term does not indicate a place, but a condition of existence. Those who, after death, exist in a state of purification, are already in the love of Christ who removes from them the remnants of imperfection.

I acknowledge that in centuries preceding the Catholic Church's presentation of Purgatory has sometimes resembled an eschatological torture chamber, where God metes out punishment to the last farthing.  But this is not the interpretation that is advanced in the Catholic Catechism, the teachings of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, nor the best contemporary Catholic theologians.  Also see my own very fallible reflections on this topic.  What is essential in the Catholic understanding of Purgatory is purification.



No kidding the RC used to think of it as some kind of torture chamber. And apparently, they're having a hard time breaking out of that shell. My RC missal from 1968 (reformed liturgy) says that you can gain indulgences from saying the Rosary while driving a car as long as the bracelet is somewhere "on one's person." Can someone explain this??? What's happening is that enough people are walking out of churches that the Vatican had to back down on the severity of their own doctrine by "rewording" it while supposedly remaining consistent with their legalistic predecessors. The fire is either therapeutic, or it is the satisfaction of God's need to punish people. It is either created or uncreated. It cannot be both.

And yes, you can say that therapeutic fire is a form of punishment--as Paul says, "Judge yourselves, lest you be judged." (Indeed, it is possible that hell is such (1Cor 3:15).) But I ask you, if purgatory is a sanctifying process rather than a juridical punishment, then how is it possible to grant a plenary indulgence? Mustn't one be purified, whether one has given an indulgence or not, either in this life or the next? Or do plenary indulgences actually purge the soul, while the mere acts of repentence and confession do not?
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« Reply #1154 on: April 12, 2010, 09:03:07 PM »

Christ is Risen, Alleluia

Reading Fr Kimel's post and Stanley's I perceive that they are not in accord with papal teaching -ironic considering that it is always the Orthodox being told they do not understand Purgatory correctly.   What is being portrayed is a version of Purgatory Lite, a kind of happy clappy Purgatory.

The papal teaching differs.

Quote
The Petrine teaching of Pope Paul VI, 1967

"The truth has been divinely revealed that sins are followed by punishments. God's holiness and justice inflict them. Sins must be expiated. This may be done on this earth through the sorrows, miseries and trials of this life and, above all, through death. Otherwise the expiation must be made in the next life through fire and torments or purifying punishments."   " Apostolic Constitution on Indulgences, Pope Paul VI, 1967 
See  Indulgentiarum Doctrina


So, the Pope says, expiation, fire, torments, purifying punishments.  These are the facts of what is taking place in Purgatory but Stan and Fr Kimel would rather cover over these facts.
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« Reply #1155 on: April 12, 2010, 09:04:59 PM »

Christ is Risen, Alleluia

Reading Fr Kimel's post and Stanley's I perceive that they are not in accord with papal teaching -ironic considering that it is always the Orthodox being told they do not understand Purgatory correctly.   What is being portrayed is a version of Purgatory Lite, a kind of happy clappy Purgatory.

The papal teaching differs.

Quote
The Petrine teaching of Pope Paul VI, 1967

"The truth has been divinely revealed that sins are followed by punishments. God's holiness and justice inflict them. Sins must be expiated. This may be done on this earth through the sorrows, miseries and trials of this life and, above all, through death. Otherwise the expiation must be made in the next life through fire and torments or purifying punishments."   " Apostolic Constitution on Indulgences, Pope Paul VI, 1967 
See  Indulgentiarum Doctrina


So, the Pope says, expiation, fire, torments, purifying punishments.  These are the facts of what is taking place in Purgatory but Stan and Fr Kimel would rather cover over these facts.

I don't think we are covering up anything. Just as fire is used as imagery for hell, fire is used as imagery for purgatory. Unless of course, you believe that there is literal physical fire in hell...
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« Reply #1156 on: April 12, 2010, 09:18:37 PM »

Christ is Risen, Alleluia

Reading Fr Kimel's post and Stanley's I perceive that they are not in accord with papal teaching -ironic considering that it is always the Orthodox being told they do not understand Purgatory correctly.   What is being portrayed is a version of Purgatory Lite, a kind of happy clappy Purgatory.

The papal teaching differs.

Quote
The Petrine teaching of Pope Paul VI, 1967

"The truth has been divinely revealed that sins are followed by punishments. God's holiness and justice inflict them. Sins must be expiated. This may be done on this earth through the sorrows, miseries and trials of this life and, above all, through death. Otherwise the expiation must be made in the next life through fire and torments or purifying punishments."   " Apostolic Constitution on Indulgences, Pope Paul VI, 1967 
See  Indulgentiarum Doctrina


So, the Pope says, expiation, fire, torments, purifying punishments.  These are the facts of what is taking place in Purgatory but Stan and Fr Kimel would rather cover over these facts.

I don't think we are covering up anything. Just as fire is used as imagery for hell, fire is used as imagery for purgatory. Unless of course, you believe that there is literal physical fire in hell...

Well, it says that physical suffering and death in this life are what remits sins, so why should I assume that it is talking strictly about spiritual suffering in the intermediate state? So, with whose doctrine is literal hellfire consistent?
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« Reply #1157 on: April 12, 2010, 09:23:40 PM »

So, with whose doctrine is literal hellfire consistent?
I thought it was the teaching of Jesus:
Matthew 25:41 .....'Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.'
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« Reply #1158 on: April 12, 2010, 09:28:52 PM »

Christ is Risen, Alleluia

Reading Fr Kimel's post and Stanley's I perceive that they are not in accord with papal teaching -ironic considering that it is always the Orthodox being told they do not understand Purgatory correctly.   What is being portrayed is a version of Purgatory Lite, a kind of happy clappy Purgatory.

The papal teaching differs.

Quote
The Petrine teaching of Pope Paul VI, 1967

"The truth has been divinely revealed that sins are followed by punishments. God's holiness and justice inflict them. Sins must be expiated. This may be done on this earth through the sorrows, miseries and trials of this life and, above all, through death. Otherwise the expiation must be made in the next life through fire and torments or purifying punishments."   " Apostolic Constitution on Indulgences, Pope Paul VI, 1967 
See  Indulgentiarum Doctrina


So, the Pope says, expiation, fire, torments, purifying punishments.  These are the facts of what is taking place in Purgatory but Stan and Fr Kimel would rather cover over these facts.

I don't think we are covering up anything. Just as fire is used as imagery for hell, fire is used as imagery for purgatory. Unless of course, you believe that there is literal physical fire in hell...

The question in this instance is not what you or I believe, but what the Pope is teaching.   He speaks of fire and the torments of punishment.   Western Saints and Popes speak of this fire as being far worse than any possible pain and torment we can imagine on earth.
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« Reply #1159 on: April 12, 2010, 11:04:17 PM »

As a matter of clarification, according then to your belief, sins may be absolved after death? If this is your belief, would that include all sins, or just the more moderate ones?

All sins, even the worst.  This is the teaching of sacred Scripture.

The history of Judas Maccabeus is an important one in this matter.   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. 

To give some context to the incident in Maccabees... 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 dreadful sin would be forgiven and Judas Maccabeus decided to send a large quantity of silver to the Jerusalem temple for prayers for the forgiveness of these idolaters.

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


Is this a universal teaching among all Orthodox or are there some who take a different view?
Also, how would you reconcile this with the words of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 25:41 :""Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.'"

What's the contradiction?
On rereading this, I see the contradiction.
On the one hand, Jesus describes in the passage quoted those who will be sent into everlasting fire. Now according to Father Ambrose, a sin can be forgiven after death. How can a mortal sin be forgiven after death if that person has been condemned to everlasting fire?   
Christ is risen!

Father Ambrose talks about death.  The text talks about the last judgement. There is quite a lag time between the two, more than enough time for forgiveness.
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« Reply #1160 on: April 12, 2010, 11:07:15 PM »

Your answer is still not answering my question: Does RC absolution result in the forgiveness of sin and their removal from one's "copybook", or does it not?
Here's my understanding of the RC teaching in this regard:
The sin is forgiven. However, even after the sin has been forgiven, there may remain a temporal punishment due to sin which can be remitted by penitential works such as fasting, almsgiving, prayer, works of charity in this world, or by purification in purgatory in the next. Take for example an individual who has killed his wife and children. He then realises that he will go to hell so he confesses out of fear that he will go to hell otherwise. His sin is forgiven, but according to Catholic beleif, God does not always remit the whole punishment due to sin, so that person may not go directly into paradise. According to Matthew 7:21, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."
"The fire will assay the quality of everyone's work; if his work abides which he has built thereon, he will receive reward; if his work burns he will lose his reward, but himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (I Corinthians 3:13-15).

With your kind permission and understanding, let me ask a bit about the Orthodox teaching on the following. Suppose that a man were to burn your house down. He then goes to confession and his sin is forgiven. Yes, Jesus paid for our sins, but will He pay to rebuild your house? Or will the sinner have to repay this debt, even after his sin has been forgiven in confession?
Anyway, the RC teaching is something like that. Obviously, this is an analogy.
Here is a link to an article on indulgences:
http://www.catholic.com/library/Primer_on_Indulgences.asp
What if, after having gone to confession, the police try to arrest the arsonist and he is shot and killed in the process.  Willl his stint in purgatory pay to rebuild my house?
I said it was an analogy.
To answer your question, no it would not, but at least I see that you do admit he will have a stint in purgatory.

Christ is risen!

LOL. I see you are not familiar with argument ad absurdum.
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« Reply #1161 on: April 12, 2010, 11:20:08 PM »

Christ is Risen, Alleluia

Reading Fr Kimel's post and Stanley's I perceive that they are not in accord with papal teaching -ironic considering that it is always the Orthodox being told they do not understand Purgatory correctly.   What is being portrayed is a version of Purgatory Lite, a kind of happy clappy Purgatory.

The papal teaching differs.

Quote
The Petrine teaching of Pope Paul VI, 1967

"The truth has been divinely revealed that sins are followed by punishments. God's holiness and justice inflict them. Sins must be expiated. This may be done on this earth through the sorrows, miseries and trials of this life and, above all, through death. Otherwise the expiation must be made in the next life through fire and torments or purifying punishments."   " Apostolic Constitution on Indulgences, Pope Paul VI, 1967 
See  Indulgentiarum Doctrina

So, the Pope says, expiation, fire, torments, purifying punishments.  These are the facts of what is taking place in Purgatory but Stan and Fr Kimel would rather cover over these facts.

Fr Ambrose, standing outside of the Catholic Church as you do, it is not surprising that you are unacquainted with the living teaching of the Catholic Church, but precisely because you stand outside of the Catholic Church, and precisely because your knowledge of Catholic theology is so limited and superficial, you are not in a position to properly interpret her written documents.  It is no easy matter learning the language of Catholicism, just as it is no easy matter learning the language of Orthodoxy.   Polemical text-proofing is not only unhelpful, but it typically results in distortion of a community's beliefs. 

For the past several decades the theologians of the Catholic theologian have been seeking to clarify the dogmatic meaning Purgatory and its "temporal punishments."  This clarification, or doctrinal development, is occurring at every level of the Catholic Church, including the papal office, as evidenced by the two papal documents I have already cited, both of which strongly support the construal of Purgatory that I have advanced.  Your allegation that I am "covering the facts" and intentionally misrepresenting the authoritative teaching of the Catholic Church is false.  For further support I also refer to Pope John Paul II's catechetical address on Indulgences

Quote
The starting-point for understanding indulgences is the abundance of God's mercy revealed in the Cross of Christ. The crucified Jesus is the great "indulgence" that the Father has offered humanity through the forgiveness of sins and the possibility of living as children (cf. Jn 1:12-13) in the Holy Spirit (cf. Cal 4:6; Rom 5:5; 8:15-16).

However, in the logic of the covenant, which is the heart of the whole economy of salvation, this gift does not reach us without our acceptance and response.

In the light of this principle, it is not difficult to understand how reconciliation with God, although based on a free and abundant offer of mercy, at the same time implies an arduous process which involves the individual's personal effort and the Church's sacramental work. For the forgiveness of sins committed after Baptism, this process is centred on the sacrament of Penance, but it continues after the sacramental celebration. The person must be gradually "healed" of the negative effects which sin has caused in him (what the theological tradition calls the "punishments" and "remains" of sin).

At first sight, to speak of punishment after sacramental forgiveness might seem inconsistent. The Old Testament, however, shows us how normal it is to undergo reparative punishment after forgiveness. God, after describing himself as "a God merciful and gracious ... forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin", adds: "yet not without punishing" (Ex 34:6-7). In the Second Book of Samuel, King David's humble confession after his grave sin obtains God's forgiveness (cf. 2 Sm 12:13), but not the prevention of the foretold chastisement (cf. ibid., 12:11; 16:21). God's fatherly love does not rule out punishment, even if the latter must always be understood as part of a merciful justice that re-establishes the violated order for the sake of man's own good (cf. Heb 12:4-11).

In this context temporal punishment expresses the condition of suffering of those who, although reconciled with God, are still marked by those "remains" of sin which do not leave them totally open to grace. Precisely for the sake of complete healing, the sinner is called to undertake a journey of conversion towards the fullness of love.

In this process God's mercy comes to his aid in special ways. The temporal punishment itself serves as "medicine" to the extent that the person allows it to challenge him to undertake his own profound conversion. This is the meaning of the "satisfaction" required in the sacrament of Penance.

The Catholic Church is, of course, a large and diverse transcultural community.  I am sure that you can find Catholics, living and dead, who agree with your tendentious reading of the Church's magisterial documents; but your view does not faithfully and accurately represent the authoritative teaching of the Catholic Church and most certainly does not faithfully and accurately represent the teaching of her theologians.  If you really think I am presenting a fringe opinion, may I suggest that you read Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger's book Eschatology, as well as the relevant articles in Karl Rahner's Sacramentum Mundi.  You will discover that what I have presented in fact represents mainstream Catholic teaching.   And if you read John Henry Cardinal Newman's "The Dream of Gerontius," you will also discover that this mainstream teaching also antedates the post-Vatican II Catholic Church. 

Charge the Catholic Church of "changing" her teaching, if you must, but please do me and other Catholics who participate in this forum the courtesy of acknowledging that we may have a better handle on contemporary Catholic teaching than you do.   
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« Reply #1162 on: April 12, 2010, 11:25:00 PM »

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Reading Fr Kimel's post and Stanley's I perceive that they are not in accord with papal teaching -ironic considering that it is always the Orthodox being told they do not understand Purgatory correctly.   What is being portrayed is a version of Purgatory Lite, a kind of happy clappy Purgatory.

The papal teaching differs.

Quote
The Petrine teaching of Pope Paul VI, 1967

"The truth has been divinely revealed that sins are followed by punishments. God's holiness and justice inflict them. Sins must be expiated. This may be done on this earth through the sorrows, miseries and trials of this life and, above all, through death. Otherwise the expiation must be made in the next life through fire and torments or purifying punishments."   " Apostolic Constitution on Indulgences, Pope Paul VI, 1967 
See  Indulgentiarum Doctrina

So, the Pope says, expiation, fire, torments, purifying punishments.  These are the facts of what is taking place in Purgatory but Stan and Fr Kimel would rather cover over these facts.

Fr Ambrose, standing outside of the Catholic Church as you do, it is not surprising that you are unacquainted with the living teaching of the Catholic Church, but precisely because you stand outside of the Catholic Church, and precisely because your knowledge of Catholic theology is so limited and superficial, you are not in a position to properly interpret her written documents.  It is no easy matter learning the language of Catholicism, just as it is no easy matter learning the language of Orthodoxy.   Polemical text-proofing is not only unhelpful, but it typically results in distortion of a community's beliefs. 

For the past several decades the theologians of the Catholic theologian have been seeking to clarify the dogmatic meaning Purgatory and its "temporal punishments."  This clarification, or doctrinal development, is occurring at every level of the Catholic Church, including the papal office, as evidenced by the two papal documents I have already cited, both of which strongly support the construal of Purgatory that I have advanced.  Your allegation that I am "covering the facts" and intentionally misrepresenting the authoritative teaching of the Catholic Church is false.  For further support I also refer to Pope John Paul II's catechetical address on Indulgences

Quote
The starting-point for understanding indulgences is the abundance of God's mercy revealed in the Cross of Christ. The crucified Jesus is the great "indulgence" that the Father has offered humanity through the forgiveness of sins and the possibility of living as children (cf. Jn 1:12-13) in the Holy Spirit (cf. Cal 4:6; Rom 5:5; 8:15-16).

However, in the logic of the covenant, which is the heart of the whole economy of salvation, this gift does not reach us without our acceptance and response.

In the light of this principle, it is not difficult to understand how reconciliation with God, although based on a free and abundant offer of mercy, at the same time implies an arduous process which involves the individual's personal effort and the Church's sacramental work. For the forgiveness of sins committed after Baptism, this process is centred on the sacrament of Penance, but it continues after the sacramental celebration. The person must be gradually "healed" of the negative effects which sin has caused in him (what the theological tradition calls the "punishments" and "remains" of sin).

At first sight, to speak of punishment after sacramental forgiveness might seem inconsistent. The Old Testament, however, shows us how normal it is to undergo reparative punishment after forgiveness. God, after describing himself as "a God merciful and gracious ... forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin", adds: "yet not without punishing" (Ex 34:6-7). In the Second Book of Samuel, King David's humble confession after his grave sin obtains God's forgiveness (cf. 2 Sm 12:13), but not the prevention of the foretold chastisement (cf. ibid., 12:11; 16:21). God's fatherly love does not rule out punishment, even if the latter must always be understood as part of a merciful justice that re-establishes the violated order for the sake of man's own good (cf. Heb 12:4-11).

In this context temporal punishment expresses the condition of suffering of those who, although reconciled with God, are still marked by those "remains" of sin which do not leave them totally open to grace. Precisely for the sake of complete healing, the sinner is called to undertake a journey of conversion towards the fullness of love.

In this process God's mercy comes to his aid in special ways. The temporal punishment itself serves as "medicine" to the extent that the person allows it to challenge him to undertake his own profound conversion. This is the meaning of the "satisfaction" required in the sacrament of Penance.

The Catholic Church is, of course, a large and diverse transcultural community.  I am sure that you can find Catholics, living and dead, who agree with your tendentious reading of the Church's magisterial documents; but your view does not faithfully and accurately represent the authoritative teaching of the Catholic Church and most certainly does not faithfully and accurately represent the teaching of her theologians.  If you really think I am presenting a fringe opinion, may I suggest that you read Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger's book Eschatology, as well as the relevant articles in Karl Rahner's Sacramentum Mundi.  You will discover that what I have presented in fact represents mainstream Catholic teaching.   And if you read John Henry Cardinal Newman's "The Dream of Gerontius," you will also discover that this mainstream teaching also antedates the post-Vatican II Catholic Church. 

Charge the Catholic Church of "changing" her teaching, if you must, but please do me and other Catholics who participate in this forum the courtesy of acknowledging that we may have a better handle on contemporary Catholic teaching than you do.   
Well, with all this development of dogma/doctrine your church undergoes, it is hard for us changeless types to keep up.

Btw, Fr. Ambrose stands firmly in the One, Holy, CATHOLIC and Apostolic Church. Although he once was in communion with the Vatican.
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« Reply #1163 on: April 12, 2010, 11:31:50 PM »


Fr Ambrose, standing outside of the Catholic Church as you do, it is not surprising that you are unacquainted with the living teaching of the Catholic Church, but precisely because you stand outside of the Catholic Church, and precisely because your knowledge of Catholic theology is so limited and superficial, you are not in a position to properly interpret her written documents. 
Christus Resurrexit, Alleluia
 
Nice try, Father, but no cigar!  laugh  How many years have you been in the Roman Catholic Church?  Two?

I would daresay that my formal education in Catholicism is quite a lot more indepth and extensive than yours.  Wink
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« Reply #1164 on: April 12, 2010, 11:53:14 PM »

First you guys claim that if someone burns a house down, we'd be crazy not to think he has to be punished.
Then it becomes, "No no, it's not about punishment, it's a healing process."
Please give us a single, coherent doctrine to debate. Unless, of course, you guys don't have one.
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« Reply #1165 on: April 12, 2010, 11:57:44 PM »

What's happening is that enough people are walking out of churches that the Vatican had to back down on the severity of their own doctrine by "rewording" it while supposedly remaining consistent with their legalistic predecessors.
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Dear Rufus,

There is a message here about the inconsistencies of modern Catholic theology and its ongoing post-VII process of deconstruction and reconstruction.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13820.msg421044.html#msg421044

Both the adamantine theology of pre-Vatican II and the now vacillating theology of post-Vatican II cause problems for the dialogue with the Orthodox.

One positive feature of the new state of theological flux within Catholicism is that on the whole the people with authority are nudging it towards a more orthodox theology.  (Hats off to Fr Kimel!) That is good in itself, but the process by which it is being achieved causes the Orthodox to wonder and worry.  The process could as easily be turned to purposes which would create unorthodox theology.  We actually see this everywhere within modern Catholicism, whether it is liturgy or theology.
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« Reply #1166 on: April 13, 2010, 12:18:06 AM »

^^Well of course. May I add that they are not just becoming more "Orthodox" in theology, but also more Protestant in worship and practise. I would rather let them go their way while we watch from a distance and pick up the rubble.
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« Reply #1167 on: April 13, 2010, 12:29:49 AM »

One of the great problems of Western theology, both Catholic and Protestant, is that it is based on words, not meanings. I just read Anselm's Proslogion, and it is nothing but a rambling string of meaningless and easily falsifiable syllogisms. Works such as these are the basis for Western doctrine.

As a result, dialogue with both Latin Catholics and Protestants is extremely difficult, because no one, including them, is exactly sure what they mean by what they say. They are defending words, not meanings.
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« Reply #1168 on: April 13, 2010, 12:50:49 AM »

Please give us a single, coherent doctrine to debate.
Here is a single question:
According to your tradition, what happens to a person who dies with a lesser, but still unforgiven sin on his soul?
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« Reply #1169 on: April 13, 2010, 12:56:25 AM »

Please give us a single, coherent doctrine to debate.
Here is a single question:
According to your tradition, what happens to a person who dies with a lesser, but still unforgiven sin on his soul?
Amazing as it might sound, we leave it to God and worry about our own sins in this world.
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Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
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