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Author Topic: Indulgences, Temporal Punishment, Purgatory, etc  (Read 178868 times) Average Rating: 5
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« Reply #1215 on: April 14, 2010, 05:11:40 PM »

I think I need some clarification here.  How does the RCC view the 'Particular Judgment?'

Here is the Catholic Catechism statement on the particular judgment (1021-1022):

Quote
Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ. The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. The parable of the poor man Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul--a destiny which can be different for some and for others. Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven--through a purification or immediately,-- or immediate and everlasting damnation.

The particular judgment might thus be described as a revelation to the individual of who he has created himself to be--a friend of God or an enemy of God.  All the self-deception and delusion is cleared away and we see ourselves as we truly are.  We see ourselves as one who is journeying towards God, and indeed one who is with Christ and in Christ, or as one who is journeying towards Satan and thus in Hell.  Perhaps in the eschatological moment of that revelation there indeed is a final choosing but this choosing is definitive, irreversible, and eternal.  There is no more "time" for repentance.  As Abraham explained to Dives, "Son, remember that thou didst receive good things in thy lifetime, and likewise Lazareth evil things, but now he is comforted; and thou art tormented. And besides all this, between us and you, there is fixed a great chaos: so that they who would pass from hence to you, cannot, nor from thence come hither."        

The Catholic Church does not know of the possibility, after experiencing the revelation of the particular judgment, of repenting and turning back to God, just as the Catholic Church does not know, after experiencing the revelation of the particular judgment, of the possibility of renouncing God and turning to Satan.  The encounter with God in the particular judgment is the eschatological moment of choosing.  

Thus regarding Purgatory, all who find themselves in a condition of purification are saved.  They have chosen God and cannot and will not undo this decision (they are beyond the temptation of the Devil); yet they still stand in need of cleansing, healing, purification, sanctification in order to enjoy perfectly the divine life of the Holy Trinity.  In the words of the Catechism (1030):
 
Quote
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.
   
Does that help?  


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« Reply #1216 on: April 14, 2010, 07:12:30 PM »


I can think of one point on which Catholics and Orthodox might disagree--namely, the possibility that a given soul might alter his orientation to God, from hostility to love, in response to the prayers of the Church.  It is Catholic teaching that one's fundamental orientation toward or away from God is definitively established through one's moral decisions throughout one's life, culminating in death.
Christ is Risen!

Certainly the common teaching of the Orthodox differs here from the Roman Catholic -I emphasise Roman Catholic because I understand that the rest of the Catholic Church, the sui juris Eastern Catholic Churches, agree with the Orthodox.  Even the most serious sin may be forgiven after death and there is salvation from Hell. The scriptural foundation for this is 2 Maccabees 12: 39-45 where prayer and almsgiving by the living obtained the remission of mortal sin for the dead.

Then we may look at the words of one of Russia's contemporary respected theologians Archbishop Hilarion...

Praying for those in hell...

I was reading an article recently by Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev called "Orthodox Worship as a School of Theology", and I came across the following:-

Bishop Hilarion: "Several years ago I came across a short article in a journal of the Coptic Church where it stated that this Church had decided to remove prayers for those held in hell from its service books, since these prayers “contradict Orthodox teaching”. Puzzled by this article, I decided to ask a representative of the Coptic Church about the reasons for this move. Recently I had the possibility to do so, and a Coptic Metropolitan replied that the decision was made by his Synod because, according their official doctrine, no prayers can help those in hell.

"I told the metropolitan that in the liturgical practice of the Russian Orthodox Church and other local Orthodox Churches there are prayers for those held in hell, and that we believe in their saving power. This surprised the Metropolitan, and he promised to study this question in more detail."

As you rightly note, dear Fr Kimel, this Orthodox teaching is competely contrary to the Roman Catholic.

Here is the original article ...

http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/12/1.aspx


Quote
 In the words of Pope Benedict:  "With death, our life-choice becomes definitive--our life stands before the judge."  But precisely what this means no one can say.

Death brings on what the Orthodox call the Partial Judgement.  It is not the Final Judgement which will occur when Christ returns.  It is a partial judgement.  Until the time of His return repentance is possible for the souls in the afterdeath state.  For a lex orandi lex credendi expression of this (a very important principle of theology for the Orthodox) refer to the passages already given from the Akathist for the Repose of a Soul After Death.

Those passages and the whole Akathist are here
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13820.msg424505.html#msg424505

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« Reply #1217 on: April 14, 2010, 07:27:55 PM »

I'm afraid that there is no explanation for the pssage in II Maccabees except that any sin can be forgiven at any time. The sin of the dead soldiers was certainly mortal--it got them killed. It violated the First Commandment. So technically, repentance is possible at all times, although the parable of the rich man and Lazarus seems to indicate that that forgiveness after death does not take the form of a "get out of jail free" card.

However, I would be extremely reserved about saying, as the Latins do, that every departed Christian soul is undergoing purification and will be made perfect at some point. I just don't see the basis for this.
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« Reply #1218 on: April 14, 2010, 08:07:14 PM »

Christus Resurrexit, Alleluia
Resurrexit sicut Dixit, Alleluia

The Catholic Church now teaches in its Catechism that sin may be forgiven after death.   This very welcome revision of its teaching may be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church para 1031.

Please see the earlier message (1211) about this
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13820.msg424522.html#msg424522

May we please have Catholic comments on this?  Or is the teaching of remission of sin after death (mortal sin) now quite unremarkable and commonplace (although Fr Kimel's posts indicate otherwise and he appears to disagree with the Catechism.)
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« Reply #1219 on: April 14, 2010, 08:07:43 PM »

<snip>
Does that help?  

Dear Fr. Alvin,

It does help, but in perhaps illuminating another difference between OC and RCC teachings.

As Irish Hermit says, we don't believe in a final disposition of the person prior to the Last Judgment.  Until that time, every soul is 'in play' so to speak.

However, the cause of suffering in the afterlife can either be temporary (i.e. torments of the conscience but an overall loving disposition towards God) or permanent (i.e. foretaste of eternal damnation because of one's hatred of God).  We cannot really tell which is which from this side, and so it is best to work hard at repentance now.

So, while it has been interesting, I think we have come to a sticking point regarding common agreement over the afterlife between the two sides.  The Orthodox Church simply sees no juridical activity in the Particular Judgment, but rather a reconciliation of the conscience prior to the General Resurrection and Last Judgment.
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« Reply #1220 on: April 14, 2010, 09:20:00 PM »


I am not familiar with Archbishop Hilarion, so I cannot say one way or another. 


A remarkable young bishop and theologian.  Tipped by the punters to become the next Russian Patriarch.  I see he is also now on the Board of Trustees of Saint Vlad's seminary.

I myself have just picked up a book of his from the Post Office "Isaac the Syrian" and look forward to getting immersed in it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilarion_Alfeyev

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« Reply #1221 on: April 14, 2010, 09:57:43 PM »


Krisdos Haryal i Merelots!

May I ask a couple of questions of our Oriental Orthodox brothers and sisters...

1.  Was the Coptic decision to remove prayers for those in hell from the prayerbooks ever rescinded?

2.  Do the other Oriental Orthodox Churches continue to pray for those in hell?

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« Reply #1222 on: April 14, 2010, 10:43:33 PM »

Christus Resurrexit, Alleluia
Resurrexit sicut Dixit, Alleluia

The Catholic Church now teaches in its Catechism that sin may be forgiven after death.   This very welcome revision of its teaching may be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church para 1031.

Please see the earlier message (1211) about this
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13820.msg424522.html#msg424522

May we please have Catholic comments on this?  Or is the teaching of remission of sin after death (mortal sin) now quite unremarkable and commonplace (although Fr Kimel's posts indicate otherwise and he appears to disagree with the Catechism.)
Your mischaracterization is ridiculous. Fr. Kimel has demonstrated that the particular judgement sticks and there is no changing anything after death. But why should we bother discussing this with you? Because of your anti-Catholic bias, you will just take us down the rabbit hole. Your sophistry is unbecoming of a Priest of Jesus Christ. I will definitely keep your heard-heartedness in prayer.
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« Reply #1223 on: April 14, 2010, 10:59:33 PM »

Christus Resurrexit, Alleluia
Resurrexit sicut Dixit, Alleluia

The Catholic Church now teaches in its Catechism that sin may be forgiven after death.   This very welcome revision of its teaching may be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church para 1031.

Please see the earlier message (1211) about this
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13820.msg424522.html#msg424522

May we please have Catholic comments on this?  Or is the teaching of remission of sin after death (mortal sin) now quite unremarkable and commonplace (although Fr Kimel's posts indicate otherwise and he appears to disagree with the Catechism.)
Your mischaracterization is ridiculous. Fr. Kimel has demonstrated that the particular judgement sticks and there is no changing anything after death. But why should we bother discussing this with you? Because of your anti-Catholic bias, you will just take us down the rabbit hole. Your sophistry is unbecoming of a Priest of Jesus Christ. I will definitely keep your heard-heartedness in prayer.

Dear Papist,

You make no attempt to offer an answer but resort to harsh words against me.  The CCC is explicit - sins may be forgiven in the age to come (apart from the sin against the Holy Spirit.)  Read paragraph 1031 already quoted in this thread by Father Deacon Lance.

Now, I quite understand that this change in teaching is profoundly disturbing to not a few conservative Catholics and older Catholics reared with a different teaching (read the threads on CAF.)  All the same, the teaching in the new Catechism cannot be simply brushed aside by roaring at me.   The CCC is treated with semi-infallibility since every word was scrutinised and approved by Pope John Paul II.  In this instance I would say we are looking at another very welcome example of the Magisterium quietly moving Catholicism closer to Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #1224 on: April 14, 2010, 11:26:00 PM »

Christus Resurrexit, Alleluia
Resurrexit sicut Dixit, Alleluia

The Catholic Church now teaches in its Catechism that sin may be forgiven after death.   This very welcome revision of its teaching may be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church para 1031.

Please see the earlier message (1211) about this
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13820.msg424522.html#msg424522

May we please have Catholic comments on this?  Or is the teaching of remission of sin after death (mortal sin) now quite unremarkable and commonplace (although Fr Kimel's posts indicate otherwise and he appears to disagree with the Catechism.)
Your mischaracterization is ridiculous. Fr. Kimel has demonstrated that the particular judgement sticks and there is no changing anything after death. But why should we bother discussing this with you? Because of your anti-Catholic bias, you will just take us down the rabbit hole. Your sophistry is unbecoming of a Priest of Jesus Christ. I will definitely keep your heard-heartedness in prayer.

Dear Papist,

You make no attempt to offer an answer but resort to harsh words against me.  The CCC is explicit - sins may be forgiven in the age to come (apart from the sin against the Holy Spirit.)  Read paragraph 1031 already quoted in this thread by Father Deacon Lance.

Now, I quite understand that this change in teaching is profoundly disturbing to not a few conservative Catholics and older Catholics reared with a different teaching (read the threads on CAF.)  All the same, the teaching in the new Catechism cannot be simply brushed aside by roaring at me.   The CCC is treated with semi-infallibility since every word was scrutinised and approved by Pope John Paul II.  In this instance I would say we are looking at another very welcome example of the Magisterium quietly moving Catholicism closer to Orthodoxy.
This is exactly what I am talking about. You are purposely misrepresenting the Catechism in order to cast the Catholic Church in bad light. This passage does not say that mortal sin can be forgiven in the age to come. It merely says that this passge in scripture opens up the possibility of some sins being forgiven in the age to come. It suggests nothing of mortal sin. So let's take this paragraph in the context of the entire Catechism.  Paragraph 1861 says of mortal sin: If it is not redeemed by repentence and God's forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to makes choices for ever, with no turning back.

Paragraph 1021 says: Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested by Christ.

Paragraph 1022 says: Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of death... either entrance into the blessedness of heaven... or immediate and everlasting damnation.

Paragraph 1033 says: ...To die in mortal sin without reprenting  and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice.

Paragraph 1051: Every man receives his eternal recompense in his immortal soul from the moment of his death in a particular judgement by Christ, the judge of the living and the dead.

The Catholic Church has not changed her teachings.
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« Reply #1225 on: April 14, 2010, 11:38:58 PM »


Paragraph 1861 says of mortal sin: If it is not redeemed by repentence and God's forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to makes choices for ever, with no turning back.

Paragraph 1021 says: Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested by Christ.

Paragraph 1022 says: Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of death... either entrance into the blessedness of heaven... or immediate and everlasting damnation.

Paragraph 1033 says: ...To die in mortal sin without reprenting  and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice.

Paragraph 1051: Every man receives his eternal recompense in his immortal soul from the moment of his death in a particular judgement by Christ, the judge of the living and the dead.

The Catholic Church has not changed her teachings.


I have no intention of arguing with these statements from the CCC.   They are very plain.  But so also is para 1031 which states that sin (apart from that against the Holy Spirit) may be forgiven in the age to come.

This is simply an example of the muddle caused by the present state of flux and development in some areas of Roman Catholic theology.   We hope and pray that as the Magisterium slowly and cautiously works its way through to a reformatted and cohesive doctrine the end result will be aligned with orthodoxy.
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« Reply #1226 on: April 15, 2010, 02:00:54 AM »

Christ is Risen!

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Catechism intended for worldwide distribution is due to be published this year.   It will be fascinating to see how it approaches such questions as are driving this present discussion.
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« Reply #1227 on: April 15, 2010, 02:35:47 AM »

Christ is Risen, Alleluia

People may like to learn of the immense devotion to Saint Varus which is growing and growing in the old Soviet Union because this holy martyr has a special vocation to pray for the non-Christian dead.

Read about his life in another thread
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,14478.msg424898.html#msg424898

I bring it to your attention because Saint Varus reveals that prayers for the dead are able to obtain the forgiveness of their sins and to bring them salvation.

Admittedly this comes under the heading of private revelation but it is evidence that the Russian Church, which approves and encourages this devotion to Saint Varus, agrees with him on the remission of sin in the afterlife.

That night the saint appeared to her in a dream, together with her son, both
of them radiant with glory. "You asked me to beg God to grant John whatever
was most pleasing to Him and beneficial for you both. He has taken him into
His heavenly army, where he serves with great joy. How can you complain?
Would you rather keep him for the army of an earthly king? Your prayers to
me are always remembered. Moreover I have prayed for all your relatives,
buried with me in the vault, that although they died outside the Church, all their
sins would be forgiven, and God has heard my prayers."

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« Reply #1228 on: April 15, 2010, 08:49:53 AM »

I have no intention of arguing with these statements from the CCC.   They are very plain.  But so also is para 1031 which states that sin (apart from that against the Holy Spirit) may be forgiven in the age to come.

Yes. It seems there is an apparent contradiction.

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« Reply #1229 on: April 15, 2010, 09:19:59 AM »


Paragraph 1861 says of mortal sin: If it is not redeemed by repentence and God's forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to makes choices for ever, with no turning back.

Paragraph 1021 says: Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested by Christ.

Paragraph 1022 says: Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of death... either entrance into the blessedness of heaven... or immediate and everlasting damnation.

Paragraph 1033 says: ...To die in mortal sin without reprenting  and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice.

Paragraph 1051: Every man receives his eternal recompense in his immortal soul from the moment of his death in a particular judgement by Christ, the judge of the living and the dead.

The Catholic Church has not changed her teachings.


I have no intention of arguing with these statements from the CCC.   They are very plain.  But so also is para 1031 which states that sin (apart from that against the Holy Spirit) may be forgiven in the age to come.

This is simply an example of the muddle caused by the present state of flux and development in some areas of Roman Catholic theology.   We hope and pray that as the Magisterium slowly and cautiously works its way through to a reformatted and cohesive doctrine the end result will be aligned with orthodoxy.
There is no contradiction. Venial Sin can be forgiven in the age to come. Mortal sin cannot. Why are you creating a contradiction where none exits? I think you have a very dishonest approach to the Catholic Church.
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« Reply #1230 on: April 15, 2010, 09:22:36 AM »

There is no contradiction. Venial Sin can be forgiven in the age to come. Mortal sin cannot.

But the passage does not state a specific reference to venial sin only.  Huh
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« Reply #1231 on: April 15, 2010, 09:39:55 AM »


Paragraph 1861 says of mortal sin: If it is not redeemed by repentence and God's forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to makes choices for ever, with no turning back.

Paragraph 1021 says: Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested by Christ.

Paragraph 1022 says: Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of death... either entrance into the blessedness of heaven... or immediate and everlasting damnation.

Paragraph 1033 says: ...To die in mortal sin without reprenting  and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice.

Paragraph 1051: Every man receives his eternal recompense in his immortal soul from the moment of his death in a particular judgement by Christ, the judge of the living and the dead.

The Catholic Church has not changed her teachings.


I have no intention of arguing with these statements from the CCC.   They are very plain.  But so also is para 1031 which states that sin (apart from that against the Holy Spirit) may be forgiven in the age to come.

This is simply an example of the muddle caused by the present state of flux and development in some areas of Roman Catholic theology.   We hope and pray that as the Magisterium slowly and cautiously works its way through to a reformatted and cohesive doctrine the end result will be aligned with orthodoxy.
There is no contradiction. Venial Sin can be forgiven in the age to come. Mortal sin cannot. Why are you creating a contradiction where none exits? I think you have a very dishonest approach to the Catholic Church.
Yes, I see your interpretation in the words and they have been formulated carefully so as to be vaguely consistent with previous teaching, but I believe that what I am presenting is the latent teaching in the words which the Pope wishes to gradually introduce into Catholicism.  It is the teaching of the future as the doctrine undergoes legitimate development.  It is also, oddly enough, a return to the earlier centuries when the Church of Rome accepted a belief of salvation from Hell.  (We have discussed this and seen evidence in other threads.)
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« Reply #1232 on: April 15, 2010, 10:12:58 AM »


Paragraph 1861 says of mortal sin: If it is not redeemed by repentence and God's forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to makes choices for ever, with no turning back.

Paragraph 1021 says: Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested by Christ.

Paragraph 1022 says: Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of death... either entrance into the blessedness of heaven... or immediate and everlasting damnation.

Paragraph 1033 says: ...To die in mortal sin without reprenting  and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice.

Paragraph 1051: Every man receives his eternal recompense in his immortal soul from the moment of his death in a particular judgement by Christ, the judge of the living and the dead.

The Catholic Church has not changed her teachings.


I have no intention of arguing with these statements from the CCC.   They are very plain.  But so also is para 1031 which states that sin (apart from that against the Holy Spirit) may be forgiven in the age to come.

This is simply an example of the muddle caused by the present state of flux and development in some areas of Roman Catholic theology.   We hope and pray that as the Magisterium slowly and cautiously works its way through to a reformatted and cohesive doctrine the end result will be aligned with orthodoxy.
There is no contradiction. Venial Sin can be forgiven in the age to come. Mortal sin cannot. Why are you creating a contradiction where none exits? I think you have a very dishonest approach to the Catholic Church.
Yes, I see your interpretation in the words and they have been formulated carefully so as to be vaguely consistent with previous teaching, but I believe that what I am presenting is the latent teaching in the words which the Pope wishes to gradually introduce into Catholicism.  It is the teaching of the future as the doctrine undergoes legitimate development.  It is also, oddly enough, a return to the earlier centuries when the Church of Rome accepted a belief of salvation from Hell.  (We have discussed this and seen evidence in other threads.)
So you are prophet? You knowt that the Catholic Church will change its teachings? What you are doing is forcing your view onto the Catholic faith. When Catholics do this to EOs, EOs complain.
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« Reply #1233 on: April 15, 2010, 10:57:35 AM »

So you are prophet? You knowt that the Catholic Church will change its teachings? What you are doing is forcing your view onto the Catholic faith. When Catholics do this to EOs, EOs complain.

If I may interrupt, let me just say that there are two opposite problems here.

On the one hand, I think many RCs such as yourself get frustrated trying to find out what the 'official teaching' of the Orthodox Church is on 'x,' only to be constantly corrected because, in truth, there are very few 'universally recognized' sources for teaching.  We don't have the equivalent of Aquinian theology which specifies everything with absolute precision and full official recognition by everyone.

That being said, it is amazing to me sometimes that we can agree on anything!

On the other other hand, the RCC has a multiplicity of 'official sources,' and sometimes they appear to conflict.  You must realize that we look back over history and see that the RCC has changed its approach to many things, from Papal Infallibility to Indulgences.  There has been a 'Counter-Reformation' and 'Vatican 2," both of which involved changes in official doctrine.  For example, you can't pick up a medieval catechism and expect that all of what is in it is official doctrine in this era.

For example, there is no requirement that RCs believe in the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary prior to 1476, and it only became dogmatic in the 19th century.

So, it goes without saying that it is not unreasonable to assume that RCC doctrine will continue to change.  The assumption that things might change is not in and of itself a pejorative, because the RCC by definition allows itself the right to change doctrines as it has in the past.

Now, those in the OC do find the word 'change' a pejorative, but you cannot apply our thinking to your tradition.  They are two separate things.

Frankly, given the grave differences between us, it gives me hope for a reconciliation that the RCC can change much more easily than the OC.  At the same time, I find it very comforting to know that change in the OC is very difficult.
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« Reply #1234 on: April 15, 2010, 12:36:10 PM »

^ Things that were once not required become required. BUT we never go back on a teaching and we will never will. There are no contradictory sources of information in the Church about this topic. The Catholic Church has always taught and always will teach that mortal sin cannot be forgiven after death.
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« Reply #1235 on: April 15, 2010, 01:12:17 PM »

Things that were once not required become required.

Interesting.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #1236 on: April 15, 2010, 02:26:54 PM »

Things that were once not required become required.

Interesting.  Roll Eyes

Er, yes it is interesting... but I'm not sure I know why.

Let's be brief: from an Orthodox perspective, the matter is not about 'required' or 'not required.'  It is about what is the truth versus what is false, and whether we can tell the difference.

When doctrine changes, then the definition of the truth changes.  Either the definition clarifies a previous doctrine (i.e. is more precise, such as the Chalcedonian Definition clarifies the Cyrillian Definition) or it supercedes it (i.e. no post-mortem forgiveness of 'mortal' sins vs. post-mortem forgiveness of 'mortal' sins).

The third mode, postulated by Irish Hermit, appears to be a move from a clear statement to a more ambiguous one.

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« Reply #1237 on: April 15, 2010, 02:36:06 PM »

Quote
there are very few 'universally recognized' sources for teaching. 


Fr Giryus, I agree that the Orthodox do not have the equivalent of Aquinian theology which specifies everything with absolute precision. However, two sources of church teaching which are universal in the Church are her liturgical deposit and her iconography.
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« Reply #1238 on: April 15, 2010, 03:20:39 PM »

Quote
there are very few 'universally recognized' sources for teaching. 


Fr Giryus, I agree that the Orthodox do not have the equivalent of Aquinian theology which specifies everything with absolute precision. However, two sources of church teaching which are universal in the Church are her liturgical deposit and her iconography.

I would have said, 'Ecumenical Councils.'

Iconography is difficult.  Not all icons are the same.  There are traditional icons and non-traditional.

For example, do icons that portray God the Father constitute a dogmatic statement of the Church?  How about the 'infamous icons' at 'New Skete?'
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« Reply #1239 on: April 15, 2010, 03:26:14 PM »


Let's remember to keep this topic about Indulgences, Temporal Punishment and Purgatory and not derail this thread with a debate about iconography.  There already at least one thread on the icnographical depiction of God the Father.  If you would like to discuss that, please do it there.  Thank you.



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« Reply #1240 on: April 15, 2010, 04:24:19 PM »

The Catholic Church has always taught and always will teach that mortal sin cannot be forgiven after death.

This is true.  But the interesting question is why mortal sins can't be forgiven after death.  It's not because God has ceased to be merciful.  It's not because God no longer desires the salvation of the mortal sinner.  It's because the sinner is now definitively fixed in hatred of God and thus eternally rejects God's offer of forgiveness; he will not repent, he has no desire to repent.  As Cardinal Ratzinger writes:

Quote
Christ afflicts pure perdition on no one.  In himself he is sheer salvation.  Anyone who is with him has entered the space of deliverance and salvation.  Perdition is not imposed by him, but comes to be wherever a person distances himself from Christ.  It comes about whenever someone remains enclosed within himself.  Christ's word, the bearer of the offer of salvation, then lays bare the fact that the person who is lost has himself drawn the dividing line and separated himself from salvation.  (Eschatology, pp. 205-206)

Returning to my discussion with Fr Giryus, it may well be true that with regard to the Particular Judgment there is a real disagreement between Catholics and Orthodox, though I certainly do not see this as being a consequential or church-dividing difference.  But I do think that the difference may in fact be a problem of semantics and the difficulty of talking about and coordinating "life in time" and "life after time."  I suspect we all think of the intermediate period of life after death as almost a parallel time-line, beginning with the Particular Judgment and concluding with the Final Judgment.  We have our time and our time pretty well matches up to the chronology of those who have died and now live in Hades/Paradise awaiting the resurrection.  But as natural as this is for us to think like this, surely it is wrong.  While it is inevitable for us to employ temporal and spatial language to speak of life beyond death, the simple fact is, we have no idea what we are talking about and therefore cannot speak in literal terms.  Truly it is mystery.  We are speaking, after all, of our entrance into eternity.  All of our language breaks down.  All we can do is speak metaphorically, figuratively, symbolically; all we can do is make pictures and tell stories.  Thus Hans Urs von Balthasar:

Quote
Man as an individual and as a species (for everyone's actions are interwove with everyone else's) must be drawn into a judgment.  It is vain to speculate about the "point in time" of this judgment--for example, about the diastasis between the particular judgment after the death of the individual and the general or Last Judgment at the end of history--since we can do this only within an intratemporal perspective, whereas this final judgment must by definition take place at the threshold of eternity.  Or to put it more exactly ...: it takes place on the threshold between the "Old Eon" and the "New Eon"--and this is not a threshold that can be captured with our chronological understanding of time. (Explorations in Theology, IV:445-446).

Catholic theology since the Middle Ages has tried to think of the Particular Judgment and the Final Judgment stereoscopically, rather than linearly.  It has done so because of reflection on the meaning of the Ascension of Christ:  Christ has risen into the eternity of the Father and has taken all of the redeemed with him.  Heaven is now open to all who are in Christ, for Christ is Heaven.  "For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain" (Phil 1:21).  Is this not the meaning of the Harrowing of Hell? 

To die is to enter into transforming encounter with the Risen Savior who is our Judge.  How can we meaningfully speak of this eschatological event in temporal terms?  What would such language signify?  Do we really want to think of the intermediate period as a period of time?  Ratzinger again:

Quote
Christ as judge is ho eschatos, the Final One, in relation to whom we undergo judgment both after death and on the Last Day.  In the perspective we are offered here, those two judgments are indistinguishable.  A person's entry into the realm of manifest reality is an entry into his definitive destiny and thus an immersion in eschatological fire [which, for Ratzinger, is the risen Christ himself].  The transforming "moment" of this encounter cannot be quantified by the measurements of earthly time.  It is, indeed, not eternal but a transition, and yet trying to qualify it as of "short" or "long" duration on the basis of temporal measurements derived from physics would be naive and unproductive.  The "temporal measure" of this encounter lies in the unsoundable depths of existence, in a passing-over where we are burned ere we are transformed. (p. 230)

Does this not rhyme with the New Testament, where it is so clearly taught that already believers in Christ already, in a sense, live beyond judgment and share in the life of resurrection glory?  This does not mean that there is no Final Judgment awaiting us, yet the New Testament, especially John and Paul, speak as if the Final Judgment has been projected from the future into the present.  The judgment is now; the judgment is yet to come.  We have been raised in Christ and yet we await our resurrection.  In Christ we live the mysterious union of the eschatological now and not yet. 

The Orthodox concern, so it seems to me, is to insist that we may and should pray for the dead, for every single person who has lived and died, without exception, and that this prayer is a blessing to them.  The Catholic agrees wholeheartedly with this concern.  If one wishes to picture this as a "praying people out of Hell," I do not see any substantive Catholic objection.  If the prayers of Pope Gregory the Great contributed to the eternal salvation of the Emperor Trajan, all we can do is but rejoice and follow the Pope's example in remembering the departed in our own prayers, no matter how wicked they may have been.  The Catholic theologian might want to add the qualifier that if Trajan has indeed embraced the forgiveness of Christ, then by definition he did not die in a state of mortal sin--but this is a qualification that only theologians care about.  The Catholic hopes and prays for the salvation of all.  May every human being ultimately accept the forgiveness and mercy of Christ and be raised into his Kingdom.  Kyrie eleison.



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« Reply #1241 on: April 15, 2010, 06:35:37 PM »

^ I would add to this that I agree that we should pray for every single human who has ever died for two reasons:
1. We do not know what grace a person may have experienced during the last millisecond before death. If the person accepted the Grace of Christ, then indeed he was saved. That being said, such a person may now be in purgatory and in need of our prayers.
2. Because God is outside of time, he sees all moments before him as present. Perhaps my prayers or yours that we make now are the prayers that helped to bring a person to conversion 100 years ago. Who knows? God sees all time at once. Its possible.

However, I do not think the Church can ever accept the idea that a person can repent of mortal sin after death.
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« Reply #1242 on: April 15, 2010, 08:10:46 PM »

The Catholic Church has always taught and always will teach that mortal sin cannot be forgiven after death.

This is true.  But the interesting question is why mortal sins can't be forgiven after death.  It's not because God has ceased to be merciful.  It's not because God no longer desires the salvation of the mortal sinner.  It's because the sinner is now definitively fixed in hatred of God and thus eternally rejects God's offer of forgiveness; he will not repent, he has no desire to repent. 
Christ is Risen, Alleluia

Gentlemen,

Please research your own history. 

It is enough to go to the online Catholic Encyclopedia to be informed that the Church of Rome once believed that souls could be delivered from Hell.  Now you have imposed a new and very restrictive doctrine but it was not always so.  Once you shared the orthodox belief.
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« Reply #1243 on: April 15, 2010, 08:55:17 PM »


 It's because the sinner is now definitively fixed in hatred of God and thus eternally rejects God's offer of forgiveness;

Christ is Risen, Alleluia

Wow, Father, I am impressed !   Really!   What a major step you have taken!    The realisation that God offers forgiveness to those in hell.   

Now all you need to come to realise is that the will of souls in hell is not eternally paralyzed at the moment of death.  They are still able to accept God's offer of forgiveness. 

Put the two together - God's offer of forgiveness, the soul's desire for repentance and redemption - and bingo, one soul sprung out of Hell! 
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« Reply #1244 on: April 15, 2010, 10:51:19 PM »


 It's because the sinner is now definitively fixed in hatred of God and thus eternally rejects God's offer of forgiveness;

Christ is Risen, Alleluia

Wow, Father, I am impressed !   Really!   What a major step you have taken!    The realisation that God offers forgiveness to those in hell.  

Now all you need to come to realise is that the will of souls in hell is not eternally paralyzed at the moment of death.  They are still able to accept God's offer of forgiveness.  

Put the two together - God's offer of forgiveness, the soul's desire for repentance and redemption - and bingo, one soul sprung out of Hell!  

And down the rabbit hole we go. Did Fr. Kimel say that forgiveness is offered after death?
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« Reply #1245 on: April 15, 2010, 11:20:38 PM »


 It's because the sinner is now definitively fixed in hatred of God and thus eternally rejects God's offer of forgiveness;

Christ is Risen, Alleluia

Wow, Father, I am impressed !   Really!   What a major step you have taken!    The realisation that God offers forgiveness to those in hell.   

Now all you need to come to realise is that the will of souls in hell is not eternally paralyzed at the moment of death.  They are still able to accept God's offer of forgiveness. 

Put the two together - God's offer of forgiveness, the soul's desire for repentance and redemption - and bingo, one soul sprung out of Hell! 

And down the rabbit hole we go. Did Fr. Kimel say that forgiveness is offered after death?

Unless he cannot write grammatical English and use tenses correctly, yes he did.

Fr Kimel:  It's because the sinner is now definitively fixed in hatred of God and thus eternally rejects God's offer of forgiveness
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« Reply #1246 on: April 16, 2010, 09:14:02 AM »

such a person may now be in purgatory and in need of our prayers.

Do you believe that purgatory is a literal place?
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« Reply #1247 on: April 16, 2010, 09:16:33 AM »

Unless he cannot write grammatical English and use tenses correctly, yes he did.

Fr Kimel:  It's because the sinner is now definitively fixed in hatred of God and thus eternally rejects God's offer of forgiveness

Indeed! He has stated that God offers forgiveness after death.
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« Reply #1248 on: April 16, 2010, 09:43:46 AM »

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?

If Justice is not done 'here' or in the 'hereafter' by Our Creator Himself, why do you see any need for restitution in the rebuilding of your house?
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« Reply #1249 on: April 16, 2010, 09:49:52 AM »


 It's because the sinner is now definitively fixed in hatred of God and thus eternally rejects God's offer of forgiveness;

Christ is Risen, Alleluia

Wow, Father, I am impressed !   Really!   What a major step you have taken!    The realisation that God offers forgiveness to those in hell.   

Now all you need to come to realise is that the will of souls in hell is not eternally paralyzed at the moment of death.  They are still able to accept God's offer of forgiveness. 

Put the two together - God's offer of forgiveness, the soul's desire for repentance and redemption - and bingo, one soul sprung out of Hell! 


This is true Father but the departmentalization of Hell on the RC Side 'includes' Purgatory... or at least it used to.
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« Reply #1250 on: April 16, 2010, 01:15:23 PM »



Fr. Alvin wrote:
Returning to my discussion with Fr Giryus, it may well be true that with regard to the Particular Judgment there is a real disagreement between Catholics and Orthodox, though I certainly do not see this as being a consequential or church-dividing difference.  But I do think that the difference may in fact be a problem of semantics and the difficulty of talking about and coordinating "life in time" and "life after time."  I suspect we all think of the intermediate period of life after death as almost a parallel time-line, beginning with the Particular Judgment and concluding with the Final Judgment.  We have our time and our time pretty well matches up to the chronology of those who have died and now live in Hades/Paradise awaiting the resurrection.  But as natural as this is for us to think like this, surely it is wrong.  While it is inevitable for us to employ temporal and spatial language to speak of life beyond death, the simple fact is, we have no idea what we are talking about and therefore cannot speak in literal terms.  Truly it is mystery.  We are speaking, after all, of our entrance into eternity.  All of our language breaks down.  All we can do is speak metaphorically, figuratively, symbolically; all we can do is make pictures and tell stories. 

I don't think that the Orthodox Church speaks of humanity as 'exiting time.'  We are not eternal beings in the sense of having no beginning.  That's more of a Platonist view.  If we were to have the experience of time before our creation, then we would be eternal in both directions and thus totally Divine.  Our personhoods are 'eternal' in the sense that they do not come to an end once created, but that does not necessarily mean 'no beginning.'

That we may experience time in a different way almost goes without saying.  Right now our experience of time is regulated by our perceptions within a fallen state.  Yes, death is a mystery for sure.  But we do not become 'without beginning' which is what your statement seems to be implying through 'life after time.'

We always remain in time because we were created within it.  God does not call time 'wrong' or 'fallen.'  It is merely the experience of a created being.  No matter what God does with us, we never stop being created.

Getting back to the original topic so as not to panic the Moderators ( Wink ), I think the real separation between the OC and the RCC points back to how decisions are made.  Most of the degrees of separation are over decisions the Pope makes in consultation with his own College of Cardinals rather than the entire Church.  This was the essence of the argument of St. Mark of Ephesus in confronting RCC teaching (i.e. "You guys came up with that on your own and the rest of the Church does not agree").

For us, the final rejection of 'Purgatory' comes from the fact that the rest of the Church rejects the teaching of post-mortem punishment for sins.  The Orthodox can agree that souls experience temporary torment after death, but we reject the idea that God commands souls be tormented prior to the Final Judgment.
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« Reply #1251 on: April 16, 2010, 05:51:20 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...

I stand amazed that you know so little of the teaching of your Church.   It is possible to provide the words of Popes and theologians from centuries past which demonstrate that the Catholic Church once taught that purgatorial fire was real material fire.     All that you are offering is a modern 20th century revamping of the doctrine - just as questionable as that of previous centuries.

Have you read the Catholic explanation of purgatory offered to the Orthodox at the Council of Florence?  The Council spent three months on the question of purgatorial FIRE.

"From the time of the Apostles, the Church of Rome has taught.... The souls of those who after their baptism have sinned, but have afterwards sincerely repented and confessed their sins, though unable to perform the epitimia laid upon them by their spiritual father, or bring forth fruits of repentance sufficient to atone for their sins, these souls are purified by the fire of purgatory, some sooner, others slower, according, to their sins.." Florence.


"The same fire torments the damned in hell and the just in Purgatory. The least pain in Purgatory exceeds the greatest in this life." - St. Thomas Aquinas.

" "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

Papist, if you do not know the previous teaching of your Church, I urge you to do some study.  There is an enormous lot of material on it.


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« Reply #1252 on: April 16, 2010, 06:44:36 PM »


This is true Father but the departmentalization of Hell on the RC Side 'includes' Purgatory... or at least it used to.
Christ is Risen!

Yes indeed.

"Among them is also the fire of purgatory, in which the souls of just men are cleansed by a temporary punishment, in order to be admitted into their eternal country, into which nothing defiled entereth. The truth of this doctrine, founded, as holy Councils declare, on Scripture, and confirmed by Apostolic tradition, demands exposition from the pastor, all the more diligent and frequent, because we live in times when men endure not sound doctrine."

Catechism of Council of Trent, The Creed - Article V, Different Abodes Called Hell
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« Reply #1253 on: April 16, 2010, 10:46:06 PM »

To the Catholics on this thread, regarding the belief of actual "fire" in purgatory...do you know what the Catholic Church's opinion is on the Purgatory museum in Rome and the items it contains? The museum is in a church, but are the items more considered a curiosity and not necessarily real? I'm just curious because I got a book offer in an email about it, and thought about this conversation re: real physical fire so I thought I'd ask.

Here is a website about it. http://catholicism.org/ad-rem-no-90.html
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« Reply #1254 on: April 17, 2010, 04:20:36 AM »

"The faithful must be fully aware that sin and its eternal punishment are remitted by the Sacrament of Penance if one makes proper use of it; however the entire temporal punishment is very seldom taken away. This must be removed either by satisfactory works in this life or by the fire of Purgatory after death. The holy Council of Trent in session 6, chap. 4, and canon 30 of the same session teaches this under the heading de Justificatione."

Pope Benedict XIV, Encyclical for for the Holy Year, 1749
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« Reply #1255 on: April 17, 2010, 05:21:44 AM »

Christ is Risen, Alleluia

"You must also discuss carefully how much efficacy there is in indulgences; how great is the fruit of remission, not only of the canonical but also of the temporal punishment due for sins; and finally, how much aid from the treasure of merits from Christ and the saints may be applied to those who died truly penitent before they had made adequate satisfaction for their sins. Their souls must be purified in the fires of purgatory so that entry into the eternal fatherland may open to them"

Pope Leo XII, 1824
Encyclical On the Universal Jubilee


So far we are finding a consistent teaching on Purgatory spanning the centuries from Thomas Aquinas who died in 1274, the 17th Ecumenical Council of Florence which closed in 1445, then Pope Benedict XIV in 1749, and then Pope Leo XII in 1824 and up to Pope Paul VI in 1967 - it is fully consistent.  It is about remitting the punishment of sin by fire and torment.

This is only the tip of the evidential iceberg and we can easily add in other Popes and other Councils and many theologians from earlier centuries.
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« Reply #1256 on: April 17, 2010, 07:05:41 PM »

Christ is Risen, Alleluia

"You must also discuss carefully how much efficacy there is in indulgences; how great is the fruit of remission, not only of the canonical but also of the temporal punishment due for sins; and finally, how much aid from the treasure of merits from Christ and the saints may be applied to those who died truly penitent before they had made adequate satisfaction for their sins. Their souls must be purified in the fires of purgatory so that entry into the eternal fatherland may open to them"

Pope Leo XII, 1824
Encyclical On the Universal Jubilee


So far we are finding a consistent teaching on Purgatory spanning the centuries from Thomas Aquinas who died in 1274, the 17th Ecumenical Council of Florence which closed in 1445, then Pope Benedict XIV in 1749, and then Pope Leo XII in 1824 and up to Pope Paul VI in 1967 - it is fully consistent.  It is about remitting the punishment of sin by fire and torment.

This is only the tip of the evidential iceberg and we can easily add in other Popes and other Councils and many theologians from earlier centuries.

I am, personally, not in denial of this... are others here in denial of this? As much as 'we' cling to our own sins... is as much as the cleansing fire of the presence of the Almighty we be truly a torment... until that point that 'we' release our grasping of it.
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St Basil the Great (330-379 A.D.): “I think then that the one goal of all who are really and truly serving the Lord ought to be to bring back to union the churches who have at different times and in diverse manners divided from one another.”
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« Reply #1257 on: April 18, 2010, 12:37:54 AM »

Christ is Risen, Alleluia

"You must also discuss carefully how much efficacy there is in indulgences; how great is the fruit of remission, not only of the canonical but also of the temporal punishment due for sins; and finally, how much aid from the treasure of merits from Christ and the saints may be applied to those who died truly penitent before they had made adequate satisfaction for their sins. Their souls must be purified in the fires of purgatory so that entry into the eternal fatherland may open to them"

Pope Leo XII, 1824
Encyclical On the Universal Jubilee


So far we are finding a consistent teaching on Purgatory spanning the centuries from Thomas Aquinas who died in 1274, the 17th Ecumenical Council of Florence which closed in 1445, then Pope Benedict XIV in 1749, and then Pope Leo XII in 1824 and up to Pope Paul VI in 1967 - it is fully consistent.  It is about remitting the punishment of sin by fire and torment.

This is only the tip of the evidential iceberg and we can easily add in other Popes and other Councils and many theologians from earlier centuries.

I am, personally, not in denial of this... are others here in denial of this? As much as 'we' cling to our own sins... is as much as the cleansing fire of the presence of the Almighty we be truly a torment... until that point that 'we' release our grasping of it.
Christ is Risen, Alleluia

Dear Ignatius,

What you have said is not directly connected with the teaching of the Popes, the Councils and the theologians ands Saints as given in several messages above.  They are NOT speaking about the fires and torments of purgatory detaching a soul from attachment to sin.  They see the fires as punitive, as the punishment justly imposed by God which is the payment for the temporal punishment due to past sins.  The soul may or may not still be attached to these sins.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2010, 12:39:45 AM by Irish Hermit » Logged
akimel
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« Reply #1258 on: April 18, 2010, 11:37:31 PM »


I don't think that the Orthodox Church speaks of humanity as 'exiting time.'  We are not eternal beings in the sense of having no beginning.  That's more of a Platonist view.  If we were to have the experience of time before our creation, then we would be eternal in both directions and thus totally Divine.  Our personhoods are 'eternal' in the sense that they do not come to an end once created, but that does not necessarily mean 'no beginning.'

That we may experience time in a different way almost goes without saying.  Right now our experience of time is regulated by our perceptions within a fallen state.  Yes, death is a mystery for sure.  But we do not become 'without beginning' which is what your statement seems to be implying through 'life after time.'

Perhaps my language was unclear, but I have not suggested anywhere that we become beings that have "no beginning."   My critical point is that when we attempt to speak of life after death, when we attempt to relate our present historical state with the "intermediate" state and our transformed existence in the General Resurrection, we are restricted to figurative and pictorial language.  To speak as if we actually know much if anything about the intermediate state, to speak as if it makes much sense at all to speak about life "after" our physical death but "before" the general resurrection, is wrong, IMHO.    There is something odd about thinking of the intermediate state as a period of time between death and the Final Judgment, just as there is something odd about thinking of Hades as a place where disembodied souls live.  We have no choice, of course, but to employ temporal and spatial language to speak of these mysteries at all, but surely we want to add some huge apophatic qualifiers right up front.

Quote
We always remain in time because we were created within it.  God does not call time 'wrong' or 'fallen.'  It is merely the experience of a created being.  No matter what God does with us, we never stop being created.

I'm not sure if this is the best way to speak of our essential temporality.  This is a difficult, complex topic--well beyond my pay grade.  What is time?  Do disembodied spirits in Hades (and that is the subject of our discussion) live "in time"?  Can there be time without bodies?  Can there be time without space? Do we actually know anything about this?   

Holy Scripture provides us with little more than hints and intimations about the intermediate state.  Clearly it is not a primary concern of the New Testament writers.  The intermediate state is a topic that is forced upon us by two considerations: (1) Jesus is risen and we are not, and (2) the Church prays for the departed and believes that its prayers are a blessing to them.  The gospel is not really concerned about life "between" death and the General Resurrection.  Its concern, to borrow N. T. Wright's phrase, is "life after 'life after death.'" 

Philosophers and theologians debate all of these questions--God knows I've read my fair share of them--but I doubt we'll see them coming to agreement any time before the General Resurrection.  Smiley  I am happy to grant that resurrection, precisely because it involves bodies, is not the abolition of time but its transfiguration--but I don't think this effects anything we are addressing in this thread.   
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akimel
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« Reply #1259 on: April 19, 2010, 12:14:34 AM »

For us, the final rejection of 'Purgatory' comes from the fact that the rest of the Church rejects the teaching of post-mortem punishment for sins.  The Orthodox can agree that souls experience temporary torment after death, but we reject the idea that God commands souls be tormented prior to the Final Judgment.

Father Giryus, I hope I have provided sufficient documentation in our discussion to establish that the contemporary Catholic Church understands Purgatory as a process of purification and sanctification.  Please read the material cited by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, as well as others.  Orthodox need to read these writings if they are to properly understand the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory. 

             
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