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Author Topic: Purgatory as a Place and State or just State?  (Read 3302 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: November 25, 2010, 03:15:52 AM »

I read on another thread that the Catholic Church has changed it's position on Purgatory from being a Place and State to just being a State.  I understand that RC's are no longer required (Or expected) believe that Purgatory is a place as well as a state, but what exactly does this imply?  For instance, can a Catholic hold that people who die and are in Purgatory become ghost who are trapped in certain places or areas (Like houses, buildings, etc...) Until they have been purified of their sins and are ready to enter Heaven (As opposed to souls actually existing in a place where purification occurs, such as was commonly believed by RC's from the Middle Ages until recently)?

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« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2010, 04:05:58 AM »

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1030 All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 (King James Version)

 11For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

 12Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

 13Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

14If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

15If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.


I love what C.S. Lewis wrote:

I believe in Purgatory.....Our souls demand Purgatory, don't they? Would it not break the heart if God said to us, 'It is true, my son, that your breath smells and your rags drip with mud and slime, but we are charitable here and no one will upbraid you with these things, nor draw away from you. Enter into the joy'? Should we not reply, 'With submission, sir, and if there is no objection, I'd rather be cleaned first.' 'It may hurt, you know' - 'Even so, sir.' (Lewis, 108-109)

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« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2010, 04:18:39 AM »

At the General Audience of Wednesday, 4 August 1999, following his catechises on heaven and hell, the Holy Father reflected on Purgatory. He explained that physical integrity is necessary to enter into perfect communion with God therefore "the term purgatory does not indicate a place, but a condition of existence", where Christ "removes ... the remnants of imperfection".

Purgatory is not a place but a condition of existence

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 (cf. Ecumenical Council of Florence, Decretum pro Graecis:  DS 1304; Ecumenical Council of Trent, Decretum de iustificatione:  DS 1580; Decretum de purgatorio:  DS 1820).  

http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM#Purgatory
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« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2010, 04:20:11 AM »

so what's the difference again between the orthodox and the latin teaching on purgatory?
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2010, 04:38:10 AM »

so what's the difference again between the orthodox and the latin teaching on purgatory?

In my experience I have not encountered any works of orthodox theology, nor any of the catechetical material we use for enquirers, which teach purgatory.  And, also speaking from experience, it is not taught in our liturgical texts.
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« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2010, 04:51:58 AM »

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1030 All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.


Is this purification simply purificatory or is it expiatory?
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« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2010, 09:04:02 AM »

so what's the difference again between the orthodox and the latin teaching on purgatory?

According to my understanding, mainly that we don't believe in temporal punishment of sins and that we haven't defined that post-mortem purification consists of fire or that it is a place as previous Catholic centuries seems to have believed. Also, we don't have have such a strong distinction between venial and mortal sins as Catholics have.
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« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2010, 09:35:15 AM »

The difference is between Catholics believe in one judgement for your soul after death, so describing purgation as a separate "holding pen" is necessary. Orthodox believe in two judgements, so there is no need for a "purgatory", though the same belief is still there. Everything else is splitting hairs.

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/death/stmark_purg.aspx
Quote
The Greeks demanded a written exposition of this doctrine. When they received it, Mark of Ephesus and Bessarion of Nice each wrote their remarks on it, which afterwards served as a general answer to the doctrine of the Latins. [3]

When giving in this answer (June 14th), Bessarion explained the difference of the Greek and Latin doctrine on this subject. The Latins, he said, allow that now, and until the day of the last judgment, departed souls are purified by fire, and are thus liberated from their sins; so that, he who has sinned the most will be a longer time undergoing purification, whereas he whose sins are less will be absolved the sooner, with the aid of the Church; but in the future life they allow the eternal, and not the purgatorial fire. Thus the Latins receive both the temporal and the eternal fire, and call the first the purgatorial fire. On the other hand, the Greeks teach of one eternal fire alone, understanding that the temporal punishment of sinful souls consists in that they for a time depart into a place of darkness and sorrow, are punished by being deprived of the Divine light, and are purified—that is, liberated from this place of darkness and woe—by means of prayers, the Holy Eucharist, and deeds of charity, and not by fire. The Greeks also believe, that until the union of the souls to the bodies, as the souls of sinners do not suffer full punishment, so also those of the saints do not enjoy entire bliss. But the Latins, agreeing with the Greeks in the first point, do not allow the last one, affirming that the souls of saints have already received their full heavenly reward. [4]

Are we judged once, or twice? (Someone explain how this disagreement affects my relationship with God. If once, we better work hard now. If twice, maybe you'll get a second chance? Really, I don't care, I'm going to try hard now anyways.)

Quote
To all this the Orthodox party gave a clear and satisfactory answer. [5] They remarked, that the words quoted from the book of Maccabees, and our Saviour's words, can only prove that some sins will be forgiven after death; but whether by means of punishment by fire, or by other means, nothing was known for certain. Besides, what has forgiveness of sins to do with punishment by fire and tortures? Only one of these two things can happen: either punishment or forgiveness, and not both at once.

Splitting hairs.

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

Splitting hairs.

Quote
In answer to the words quoted by the Latins from Basil the Great (in his prayer for Pentecost), Epiphanius, John Damascene, and Dionysius the Areopagite, the defenders of the orthodox doctrine remarked, that these quotations did not prove anything to the advantage of the Church of Rome. They could not even find the testimony of Theodoret adduced by the Latins. "Only one Father remains," they continued, "Gregory the blessed priest of Nyssa, who, apparently, speaks more to your advantage than any of the other Fathers. Preserving all the respect due to this Father, we cannot refrain from noticing, that he was but a mortal man, and man, however great a degree of holiness he may attain, is very apt to err, especially on such subjects, which have not been examined before or determined upon in a general Council by the Fathers." The orthodox teachers, when speaking of Gregory, more than once restrict their words by the expression: "if such was his idea," and conclude their discussion upon Gregory with the following words: "we must view the general doctrine of the Church, and take the Holy Scripture as a rule for ourselves, nor paying attention to what each has written in his private capacity (idia)."

"We don't want to agree"
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« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2010, 02:02:30 PM »

Ibnformation is given by Pope Paul VI.  He teaches that punishment is inflicted by God on souls in Purgatory.

Please refer to his "INDULGENTIARUM DOCTRINA" (Apostolic Constitution On Indulgences) which was solemnly promulgated by His Holiness, on 1st January 1967

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-vi_apc_19670101_indulgentiarum-doctrina_en.html

1.2. It is a divinely revealed truth that sins bring punishments inflicted by God's sanctity and justice. These must be expiated either on this earth through the sorrows, miseries and calamities of this life and above all through death, or else in the life beyond through fire and torments or "purifying" punishments.
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« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2010, 02:05:28 PM »

Getting back to the OP and also to message number 1, the quote from the Catechism, it seems that contemporary RC opinion sees purgatory as neither a place nor a state.  At least I can find no reference to either in what CD cites from the Catechism.
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« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2010, 06:57:14 PM »

I don't think the Catholic Church requires us to believe one way or the other as far as the nature of Purgatory. We just have to believe in Purgatory.
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« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2010, 07:03:47 PM »

Ibnformation is given by Pope Paul VI.  He teaches that punishment is inflicted by God on souls in Purgatory.

Please refer to his "INDULGENTIARUM DOCTRINA" (Apostolic Constitution On Indulgences) which was solemnly promulgated by His Holiness, on 1st January 1967

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-vi_apc_19670101_indulgentiarum-doctrina_en.html

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


That sounds terrifying!  Shocked This doctrine alone would prevent me from ever embracing the Roman faith.
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« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2010, 07:51:14 PM »

I don't think the Catholic Church requires us to believe one way or the other as far as the nature of Purgatory. We just have to believe in Purgatory.

This was my experience when I was in RCIA. They had mentioned that there were varying schools of thought, but the most dominant in the late middle ages (and up until the past century or so) was that it was a place.

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« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2010, 07:59:02 PM »

Ibnformation is given by Pope Paul VI.  He teaches that punishment is inflicted by God on souls in Purgatory.

Please refer to his "INDULGENTIARUM DOCTRINA" (Apostolic Constitution On Indulgences) which was solemnly promulgated by His Holiness, on 1st January 1967

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-vi_apc_19670101_indulgentiarum-doctrina_en.html

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


That sounds terrifying!  Shocked This doctrine alone would prevent me from ever embracing the Roman faith.

I am curious about your comment here.  Do you read the epistles of the Great Apostle Paul often?  I have in mind the following pericope.

"Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become manifest; for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire" (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).

Do you find this frightening?  If not, why not?  It is one of the foundational elements of the Catholic teaching on purgation.
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« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2010, 07:59:02 PM »

I don't think the Catholic Church requires us to believe one way or the other as far as the nature of Purgatory. We just have to believe in Purgatory.

This was my experience when I was in RCIA. They had mentioned that there were varying schools of thought, but the most dominant in the late middle ages (and up until the past century or so) was that it was a place.

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The idea of place is not generally questioned when we talk about heaven or hell.  We seem to somehow tacitly acknowledge that our souls/spirits will be "somewhere" after we die.  Even those who have near-death experiences talk about being in a "place" where they are greeted by other people, some of whom they seem to know, others they do not.  Nonetheless we do think spatially when we think of the life after this worldly life.

Why is "place" then such an issue concerning the Church's teaching concerning purgation?

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« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2010, 08:08:49 PM »

Ibnformation is given by Pope Paul VI.  He teaches that punishment is inflicted by God on souls in Purgatory.

Please refer to his "INDULGENTIARUM DOCTRINA" (Apostolic Constitution On Indulgences) which was solemnly promulgated by His Holiness, on 1st January 1967

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-vi_apc_19670101_indulgentiarum-doctrina_en.html

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


That sounds terrifying!  Shocked This doctrine alone would prevent me from ever embracing the Roman faith.
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« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2010, 08:22:02 PM »

Ibnformation is given by Pope Paul VI.  He teaches that punishment is inflicted by God on souls in Purgatory.

Please refer to his "INDULGENTIARUM DOCTRINA" (Apostolic Constitution On Indulgences) which was solemnly promulgated by His Holiness, on 1st January 1967

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-vi_apc_19670101_indulgentiarum-doctrina_en.html

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


That sounds terrifying!  Shocked This doctrine alone would prevent me from ever embracing the Roman faith.

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« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2010, 08:22:54 PM »

Ibnformation is given by Pope Paul VI.  He teaches that punishment is inflicted by God on souls in Purgatory.

Please refer to his "INDULGENTIARUM DOCTRINA" (Apostolic Constitution On Indulgences) which was solemnly promulgated by His Holiness, on 1st January 1967

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-vi_apc_19670101_indulgentiarum-doctrina_en.html

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


That sounds terrifying!  Shocked This doctrine alone would prevent me from ever embracing the Roman faith.

I am curious about your comment here.  Do you read the epistles of the Great Apostle Paul often?  I have in mind the following pericope.

"Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become manifest; for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire" (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).

Do you find this frightening?  If not, why not?  It is one of the foundational elements of the Catholic teaching on purgation.

More than anything, I find the idea that God being subjected to "Divine Justice" which requires that he must inflict "punishment" on his subjects to be terrifying. The idea of purification of the soul by fire via "God's love" is an Orthodox teaching completely in line with this pericope. This is not punishment, rather it is the result of drawing near to the Source of love itself.
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« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2010, 08:26:34 PM »

Ibnformation is given by Pope Paul VI.  He teaches that punishment is inflicted by God on souls in Purgatory.

Please refer to his "INDULGENTIARUM DOCTRINA" (Apostolic Constitution On Indulgences) which was solemnly promulgated by His Holiness, on 1st January 1967

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-vi_apc_19670101_indulgentiarum-doctrina_en.html

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


That sounds terrifying!  Shocked This doctrine alone would prevent me from ever embracing the Roman faith.
Aren't you happy where you are?

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« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2010, 09:27:34 PM »

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1030 All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 (King James Version)

 11For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

 12Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

 13Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

14If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

15If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.


I love what C.S. Lewis wrote:

I believe in Purgatory.....Our souls demand Purgatory, don't they? Would it not break the heart if God said to us, 'It is true, my son, that your breath smells and your rags drip with mud and slime, but we are charitable here and no one will upbraid you with these things, nor draw away from you. Enter into the joy'? Should we not reply, 'With submission, sir, and if there is no objection, I'd rather be cleaned first.' 'It may hurt, you know' - 'Even so, sir.' (Lewis, 108-109)



Well, if it must be, it must be that you have to go through these things (Assuming that we do).  I would actually be happy if God decided to let me into Heaven just exactly the way I am, warts and all, instead of setting me on fire for so many centuries in order to purify my soul of minor sins and imperfections.  I consider my personal faults and minor imperfections to be trademarks of my personality.  They are as much a part of who I am and what my life is about as my soul is and I'm not exactly interested in giving them up in order to attain some saintly ideal of perfection which wouldn't gel well with my established identity. 
I'm more of a Christian Humanist, I revel in my own faults and imperfections as well as the daily highs and lows of the rest of humanity.  I couldn't imagine living in some place (Or being in some state) Where everyone was just conformed to some rigorous, saintly ideals and attitudes and there existed no diversity of human behavior, character traits, and opinions.  I just can't imagine that. 
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-- Gustave Flaubert
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« Reply #20 on: November 25, 2010, 09:33:09 PM »

Ibnformation is given by Pope Paul VI.  He teaches that punishment is inflicted by God on souls in Purgatory.

Please refer to his "INDULGENTIARUM DOCTRINA" (Apostolic Constitution On Indulgences) which was solemnly promulgated by His Holiness, on 1st January 1967

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-vi_apc_19670101_indulgentiarum-doctrina_en.html

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


That sounds terrifying!  Shocked This doctrine alone would prevent me from ever embracing the Roman faith.

I am curious about your comment here.  Do you read the epistles of the Great Apostle Paul often?  I have in mind the following pericope.

"Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become manifest; for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire" (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).

Do you find this frightening?  If not, why not? IT is one of the foundational elements of the Catholic teaching on purgation.

More than anything, I find the idea that God being subjected to "Divine Justice" which requires that he must inflict "punishment" on his subjects to be terrifying. The idea of purification of the soul by fire via "God's love" is an Orthodox teaching completely in line with this pericope. This is not punishment, rather it is the result of drawing near to the Source of love itself.

Yeah, that sounds like a way better, (And more comforting) way to describe Purgatory then the typical way that the Latin Church does.  I could easily subscribe to that understanding of Purification after death as opposed to the "God's watching everything you do, say, and think, so he can burn all the bad stuff out of you after you die" stuff, (The latter almost makes God sound like some sadistic character out of a horror movie, as opposed to a loving and all merciful Savior of men). If the RCC is moving in the more Orthodox understanding of life after death, then I'd be rejoicing over it.
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« Reply #21 on: November 25, 2010, 11:03:11 PM »

Ibnformation is given by Pope Paul VI.  He teaches that punishment is inflicted by God on souls in Purgatory.

Please refer to his "INDULGENTIARUM DOCTRINA" (Apostolic Constitution On Indulgences) which was solemnly promulgated by His Holiness, on 1st January 1967

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-vi_apc_19670101_indulgentiarum-doctrina_en.html

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


That sounds terrifying!  Shocked This doctrine alone would prevent me from ever embracing the Roman faith.

I am curious about your comment here.  Do you read the epistles of the Great Apostle Paul often?  I have in mind the following pericope.

"Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become manifest; for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire" (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).

Do you find this frightening?  If not, why not?  It is one of the foundational elements of the Catholic teaching on purgation.

a) I find it frightening

b) St. John C interprets it as: "he will suffer loss, but he himself will be preserved in fire," i.e. he will burn in hellfire. (sothisetai can mean "save" or "preserve," just like in English, and dia can mean "through" or "in a state of," according to the Liddell and Scott.)
His commentary: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf112.iv.x.html
St. John entertains a number of interpretations of this verse, but settles on this one. However, I see nothing about purgation in the intermediate state being considered as a possible meaning.

Are there any other Greek patristic commentaries that interpret this verse another way?
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« Reply #22 on: November 25, 2010, 11:19:25 PM »

OMG.... God sets you on fire? Really? And that's supposed to be good ??

I think not.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4q6eaLn2mY
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« Reply #23 on: November 26, 2010, 02:31:16 AM »

Folks appear to have passed over the description cited above of the Eastern position as advanced by Bessarion at the Council of Florence:  "On the other hand, the Greeks teach of one eternal fire alone, understanding that the temporal punishment of sinful souls consists in that they for a time depart into a place of darkness and sorrow, are punished by being deprived of the Divine light, and are purified—that is, liberated from this place of darkness and woe—by means of prayers, the Holy Eucharist, and deeds of charity, and not by fire." 

This sounds very close to the understanding now dominant in the Catholic Church, as articulated, e.g., by the Catholic Catechism, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI.   
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« Reply #24 on: November 26, 2010, 02:42:47 AM »

Folks appear to have passed over the description cited above of the Eastern position as advanced by Bessarion at the Council of Florence:  "On the other hand, the Greeks teach of one eternal fire alone, understanding that the temporal punishment of sinful souls consists in that they for a time depart into a place of darkness and sorrow, are punished by being deprived of the Divine light, and are purified—that is, liberated from this place of darkness and woe—by means of prayers, the Holy Eucharist, and deeds of charity, and not by fire."  

This sounds very close to the understanding now dominant in the Catholic Church, as articulated, e.g., by the Catholic Catechism, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI.  

"One eternal fire alone"--i.e. hellfire.

"purified by means of prayers...and not by fire"--i.e. they may be liberated-purified through our prayers, etc., but the fire itself does not contribute to their purification, i.e. is not purgatorial.
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« Reply #25 on: November 26, 2010, 02:55:57 AM »

Folks appear to have passed over the description cited above of the Eastern position as advanced by Bessarion at the Council of Florence:  "On the other hand, the Greeks teach of one eternal fire alone, understanding that the temporal punishment of sinful souls consists in that they for a time depart into a place of darkness and sorrow, are punished by being deprived of the Divine light, and are purified—that is, liberated from this place of darkness and woe—by means of prayers, the Holy Eucharist, and deeds of charity, and not by fire."  

This sounds very close to the understanding now dominant in the Catholic Church, as articulated, e.g., by the Catholic Catechism, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI.  

And it should sound quite similar, as Bessarion was the titular Latin Patriarch of Constantinople at the time of this council... Roll Eyes

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Council_of_Florence
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« Reply #26 on: November 26, 2010, 03:22:20 AM »

Origen

If a man departs this life with lighter faults, he is condemned to fire which burns away the lighter materials, and prepares the soul for the kingdom of God, where nothing defiled may enter. For if on the foundation of Christ you have built not only gold and silver and precious stones (I Cor., 3); but also wood and hay and stubble, what do you expect when the soul shall be separated from the body? Would you enter into heaven with your wood and hay and stubble and thus defile the kingdom of God; or on account of these hindrances would you remain without and receive no reward for your gold and silver and precious stones? Neither is this just. It remains then that you be committed to the fire which will burn the light materials; for our God to those who can comprehend heavenly things is called a cleansing fire. But this fire consumes not the creature, but what the creature has himself built, wood, and hay and stubble. It is manifest that the fire destroys the wood of our transgressions and then returns to us the reward of our great works. (Patres Groeci. XIII, col. 445, 448 [A.D. 185-232]).
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« Reply #27 on: November 26, 2010, 06:43:45 AM »

A couple of other issues:

Job also refers (cant remember quite where) to
"Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them"
What purpose can this serve unless those souls are in a place or state where they can be aided by prayer?

There is also the question as to the distinction between "place" and "state" as recognised in modern science.

First off let me say as a trained scientist I do not believe that science is anything other than a model of observation ...ie it has nothing to say about "what is" only the more repeatable elements of "what it does" and a lot of anomalies in modern science are about pushing that model too hard.

That said

Even modern science is recognising that just because our senses are trapped in three dimensions - more are needed to make the scientific model work - once you go to the 10? infinite?  or more dimensions needed for adequate modelling of the universe of which only few can be observed and they are contorted such that different "places" are actually the same - it it calls into question the very concept of "place" which can then be  better regarded as a "state" , in a multiverse in which all outcomes , times and places coexist. Also "indeterminacy" in this model is very real. That states are not just a logical consequence of the history to that point, but really really undetermined. In fact modern quantum science believes that an outcome is literally undetermined until it is observed...that means not a particle exists somewhere, but cannot be measured, but it literally has no place until it is observed. So your world, and mine are different chystallized by observation. Science tries to get round this by saying tyhat all outcomes exist in diffeent multiverses - you sellect one by observation/


Sounds daft?  Dont let anyone convince you that science has answers, it does not!! - And it calls into question the very meaning of "place" and even recognises the undetermined nature and so free will is alive and well.

The pont I make is that "place" itself is a too simplistic concept



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« Reply #28 on: November 26, 2010, 07:19:53 AM »


Getting back to the traditional teaching of Purgatory with which my generation in the 1940s, 50s and 60s was brought up as unquestionable Catholic Truth....the EWTN website has a copy of the work: "READ ME OR RUE IT" by Father Paul O'Sullivan.

This book has the approval of His Emenince the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon.

According to this work:

"People do not realize what Purgatory is. They have no conception of its
dreadful pains, and they have no idea of the long years that souls are
detained in these awful fires."


"WHAT IS PURGATORY?
"It is a prison of fire in which nearly all [saved] souls are plunged after
death and in which they suffer the intensest pain."


http://www.ewtn.com/library/SPIRIT/READRUE.TXT


Yesterday's unquestionable teachings, from Popes and Saints and theologians, are today's theologoumena.  laugh  How are we ever going to dialogue with Rome?
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« Reply #29 on: November 26, 2010, 08:34:50 AM »

Ibnformation is given by Pope Paul VI.  He teaches that punishment is inflicted by God on souls in Purgatory.

Please refer to his "INDULGENTIARUM DOCTRINA" (Apostolic Constitution On Indulgences) which was solemnly promulgated by His Holiness, on 1st January 1967

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-vi_apc_19670101_indulgentiarum-doctrina_en.html

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


That sounds terrifying!  Shocked This doctrine alone would prevent me from ever embracing the Roman faith.

I am curious about your comment here.  Do you read the epistles of the Great Apostle Paul often?  I have in mind the following pericope.

"Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become manifest; for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire" (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).

Do you find this frightening?  If not, why not?  It is one of the foundational elements of the Catholic teaching on purgation.

More than anything, I find the idea that God being subjected to "Divine Justice" which requires that he must inflict "punishment" on his subjects to be terrifying. The idea of purification of the soul by fire via "God's love" is an Orthodox teaching completely in line with this pericope. This is not punishment, rather it is the result of drawing near to the Source of love itself.

Is that how you understand Catholic teaching?  How is it that you understand it that way?

M.
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« Reply #30 on: November 26, 2010, 08:55:37 AM »

A couple of other issues:

Job also refers (cant remember quite where) to
"Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them"


This is Job chapter 1:5 but he is not speaking of the dead but of offering sacrifices for his living sons.
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=job%201&version=KJV

If there exists a passage where Job *is* speaking about the dead I would be very happy if you can track it down.  But because I have never seen such a passage mentioned in works which justify praying for the dead, I am doubtful.
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« Reply #31 on: November 26, 2010, 10:45:03 AM »

Folks appear to have passed over the description cited above of the Eastern position as advanced by Bessarion at the Council of Florence:  "On the other hand, the Greeks teach of one eternal fire alone, understanding that the temporal punishment of sinful souls consists in that they for a time depart into a place of darkness and sorrow, are punished by being deprived of the Divine light, and are purified—that is, liberated from this place of darkness and woe—by means of prayers, the Holy Eucharist, and deeds of charity, and not by fire."  

This sounds very close to the understanding now dominant in the Catholic Church, as articulated, e.g., by the Catholic Catechism, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI.  

And it should sound quite similar, as Bessarion was the titular Latin Patriarch of Constantinople at the time of this council... Roll Eyes

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Council_of_Florence

At the time of the Council of Florence, Bessarion was the Metropolitan of Nicaea.  He was given the ceremonial title of Latin Patriarch of Constantinople in 1463, ten years after the fall of the city.  

Bessarion was a supporter of union, but this doesn't mean that he misrepresented the Eastern view of the intermediate stage of the after-life.   If he had, I would have expected Ivan Ostroumoff, the author of the quoted passage, to have criticized him for this.  Bessarion's construal of the Eastern position appears to be consistent with the views of St Mark of Ephesus, at least as far as I am able to tell.  I've read Mark's first homily on purgatory, but unfortunately most of his writings have not been translated into English.

Folks appear to have passed over the description cited above of the Eastern position as advanced by Bessarion at the Council of Florence:  "On the other hand, the Greeks teach of one eternal fire alone, understanding that the temporal punishment of sinful souls consists in that they for a time depart into a place of darkness and sorrow, are punished by being deprived of the Divine light, and are purified—that is, liberated from this place of darkness and woe—by means of prayers, the Holy Eucharist, and deeds of charity, and not by fire."  

This sounds very close to the understanding now dominant in the Catholic Church, as articulated, e.g., by the Catholic Catechism, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI.  

"One eternal fire alone"--i.e. hellfire.

"purified by means of prayers...and not by fire"--i.e. they may be liberated-purified through our prayers, etc., but the fire itself does not contribute to their purification, i.e. is not purgatorial.

Yes, that appears to have been the principal point of contention at the council.  Western theologians at that time believed the purgatorial fire to be fire in a literal sense; the Eastern theologians disagreed.  In the final decree the council elided this question, and no subsequent council or pope has ever dogmatized on it.  Most Latin theologians today would interpret the language of purgatorial fire metaphorically.  In other words, Latin theologians have moved significantly, indeed, dramatically, toward the Eastern position.  

The essence of the Latin formulation of purgatory is the apprehension that most people after death need to be purified of sinful attachments and attitudes.  Pope Benedict has expressed this essential point in his authoritative encyclical Spe Salvi:
Quote
For the great majority of people—we may suppose—there remains in the depths of their being an ultimate interior openness to truth, to love, to God. In the concrete choices of life, however, it is covered over by ever new compromises with evil—much filth covers purity, but the thirst for purity remains and it still constantly re-emerges from all that is base and remains present in the soul. What happens to such individuals when they appear before the Judge? Will all the impurity they have amassed through life suddenly cease to matter? What else might occur? Saint Paul, in his First Letter to the Corinthians, gives us an idea of the differing impact of God's judgement according to each person's particular circumstances. He does this using images which in some way try to express the invisible, without it being possible for us to conceptualize these images—simply because we can neither see into the world beyond death nor do we have any experience of it. Paul begins by saying that Christian life is built upon a common foundation: Jesus Christ. This foundation endures. If we have stood firm on this foundation and built our life upon it, we know that it cannot be taken away from us even in death. Then Paul continues: “Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each man's work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” (1 Cor 3:12-15). In this text, it is in any case evident that our salvation can take different forms, that some of what is built may be burned down, that in order to be saved we personally have to pass through “fire” so as to become fully open to receiving God and able to take our place at the table of the eternal marriage-feast.

Some recent theologians are of the opinion that the fire which both burns and saves is Christ himself, the Judge and Saviour. The encounter with him is the decisive act of judgement. Before his gaze all falsehood melts away. This encounter with him, as it burns us, transforms and frees us, allowing us to become truly ourselves. All that we build during our lives can prove to be mere straw, pure bluster, and it collapses. Yet in the pain of this encounter, when the impurity and sickness of our lives become evident to us, there lies salvation. His gaze, the touch of his heart heals us through an undeniably painful transformation “as through fire”. But it is a blessed pain, in which the holy power of his love sears through us like a flame, enabling us to become totally ourselves and thus totally of God. In this way the inter-relation between justice and grace also becomes clear: the way we live our lives is not immaterial, but our defilement does not stain us for ever if we have at least continued to reach out towards Christ, towards truth and towards love. Indeed, it has already been burned away through Christ's Passion. At the moment of judgement we experience and we absorb the overwhelming power of his love over all the evil in the world and in ourselves. The pain of love becomes our salvation and our joy. It is clear that we cannot calculate the “duration” of this transforming burning in terms of the chronological measurements of this world. The transforming “moment” of this encounter eludes earthly time-reckoning—it is the heart's time, it is the time of “passage” to communion with God in the Body of Christ. The judgement of God is hope, both because it is justice and because it is grace. If it were merely grace, making all earthly things cease to matter, God would still owe us an answer to the question about justice—the crucial question that we ask of history and of God. If it were merely justice, in the end it could bring only fear to us all. The incarnation of God in Christ has so closely linked the two together—judgement and grace—that justice is firmly established: we all work out our salvation “with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12). Nevertheless grace allows us all to hope, and to go trustfully to meet the Judge whom we know as our “advocate”, or parakletos (cf. 1 Jn 2:1).

If folks here want to debate purgatory, then I suggest that you use this passage as your starting point and the basis of discussion.  Theologians may quibble here and there, but I'll make this claim:  no serious disagreement exists today between Orthodoxy and Catholicism on the question of post-mortem purification.  
      
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« Reply #32 on: November 26, 2010, 11:06:14 AM »

It might interest some of you to know that purgatory is absent from every major piece of spiritual writing form Catholic saints from the time of the Council of Florence to the present.

What is discussed is love that burns like fire, and the pain and suffering that we experience when we, who love God, fail to become all that we were graced to become by God.

Poena, which is the word the Church uses that we translate as punishment, means loss.  It is the first meaning of the word and that is how it is explained in spiritual texts.  The loss of God in our lives and the pain that causes.  It is the ancient teaching of the western saints and confessors whose word has stood the test of time...tradition.

Saints and confessors who have written in this period discuss the need for penance and the suffering that comes from loosing God's good favor as he in his justice withdraws from our sight, as we sin balefully in spite of His good grace.  He does not leave us but He is out of our sight, and that causes pain and suffering to the soul.  The Catechism lists a number of reasons that we must do penitential acts for sins that cause pain and suffering to others, for sins that are a direct offense against God.  Mercy and justice are spoken of in tandem, so there is no angry God in these texts.  There is a just God, and a merciful God.

So I am curious about how this could be IF the Church was so hell bent on making fire a "literal" thing and some kind of portrayal of an unjust and perpetually angry God.

I don't know what you all read but you surely do not know what you are talking about when you talk about the history of the doctrine of purgation in the Catholic Church.  In your lust to batter away at heresy, you miss the truth.

M.

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« Reply #33 on: November 26, 2010, 12:55:05 PM »


If folks here want to debate purgatory, then I suggest that you use this passage as your starting point and the basis of discussion.  Theologians may quibble here and there, but I'll make this claim:  no serious disagreement exists today between Orthodoxy and Catholicism on the question of post-mortem purification.  

      

That is quite a strong statement, Father Kimel.

It can only be true if you can assure us that the Roman Catholic Church has rejected its belief that there is such a thing as temporal punishment accruing to sin which must be expiated in purgatory.

If the Catholic Church has not rejected this belief then there remains very serious disagreement between us.

In 1967, which is a mere 43 years ago, the Catholic Church had not rejected its previous teaching.  It was officially proclaimed by Pope Paul VI.

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-vi_apc_19670101_indulgentiarum-doctrina_en.html

1.2. It is a divinely revealed truth that sins bring punishments inflicted by God's sanctity and justice. These must be expiated either on this earth through the sorrows, miseries and calamities of this life and above all through death, or else in the life beyond through fire and torments or "purifying" punishments.
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« Reply #34 on: November 26, 2010, 01:05:07 PM »

It might interest some of you to know that purgatory is absent from every major piece of spiritual writing form Catholic saints from the time of the Council of Florence to the present.


I am flabbergasted you would say that, Mary.

You surely must be familiar with the writings of, for example, the Roman Catholic Saint Robert Bellarmine.  He died in 1621.

When did the pseudo-Council of Florence finish -about 200 years earlier?
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« Reply #35 on: November 26, 2010, 01:32:32 PM »


If folks here want to debate purgatory, then I suggest that you use this passage as your starting point and the basis of discussion.  Theologians may quibble here and there, but I'll make this claim:  no serious disagreement exists today between Orthodoxy and Catholicism on the question of post-mortem purification. 

     

That is quite a strong statement, Father Kimel.

It can only be true if you can assure us that the Roman Catholic Church has rejected its belief that there such a thing as temporal punishment accruing to sin which must be expiated in purgatory.

If the Catholic Church has not rejected this belief then there remains very serious disagreement between us.

In 1967, which is a mere 43 years ago, the Catholic Church had not rejected its previous teaching.  It was officially proclaimed by Pope Paul VI.

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-vi_apc_19670101_indulgentiarum-doctrina_en.html

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

Quite frankly I think the onus is on Orthodox believers to present texts that just as clearly indicate that there's no need for purification of the soul after death.  In other words I think Orthodox believers need to present texts that would explain how an Orthodox soul dies pure enough to stand before God in heaven where no impure thing can be.

M.
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« Reply #36 on: November 26, 2010, 01:32:32 PM »

It might interest some of you to know that purgatory is absent from every major piece of spiritual writing form Catholic saints from the time of the Council of Florence to the present.


I am flabbergasted you would say that, Mary.

You surely must be familiar with the writings of, for example, the Roman Catholic Saint Robert Bellarmine.  He died in 1621.

When did the pseudo-Council of Florence finish -about 200 years earlier?

I am stunned that you would think that Robert Cardinal Bellarmine, canonist, inquisitor and apologist,  is a great spiritual writer...well...perhaps that is not so surprising after all, given what I've seen of your writings here on the Internet.

The fact that you see St. Robert as a great spiritual writer explains how you get so much of the rest of your estimations of Catholic teaching and history so badly wrong.

Mary

M.
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« Reply #37 on: November 26, 2010, 02:39:48 PM »


If folks here want to debate purgatory, then I suggest that you use this passage as your starting point and the basis of discussion.  Theologians may quibble here and there, but I'll make this claim:  no serious disagreement exists today between Orthodoxy and Catholicism on the question of post-mortem purification.  

      

That is quite a strong statement, Father Kimel.

It can only be true if you can assure us that the Roman Catholic Church has rejected its belief that there such a thing as temporal punishment accruing to sin which must be expiated in purgatory.

If the Catholic Church has not rejected this belief then there remains very serious disagreement between us.

In 1967, which is a mere 43 years ago, the Catholic Church had not rejected its previous teaching.  It was officially proclaimed by Pope Paul VI.

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-vi_apc_19670101_indulgentiarum-doctrina_en.html

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

The sufferings of purgatory are simultaneously purgative/therapeutic/medicinal/cleansing/sanctifying and expiatory.  How could it be otherwise?  If it were not the case, then the suffering endured by the redeemed after death would be unjust and God would be guilty of acting unjustly in permitting and imposing such suffering.  The purgatorial "punishment" ends precisely at that point when the individual is personally liberated from all selfishness and prepared to love and enjoy God perfectly.  

Father, if I may be blunt, this is the critical point that you have been unable to see throughout these long discussions.  By Latin understanding, the punishments of purgatory are not inflicted upon the sinner from the outside; they are not a form of extrinsic retribution:  the punishments are simply that inevitable suffering that comes when God treats our sickness and liberates us from remaining attachment to sin.  Or as the Catholic Catechism puts it:  "On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the ‘temporal punishment’ of sin. These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin."  The suffering of purgatory always has as its purpose the healing of the sinner and the restoration of harmony, peace, and justice.  It is not punishment for punishment's sake, as if God enjoys inflicting pain, despite the repentance and conversion of the guilty party.  The temporal punishment of sin is identical to the divine act that liberates us from sin and heals our souls; it is identical to that divine forgiveness that makes us capable of perfect communion with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.    

Is this absent from the Eastern tradition?  It certainly isn't if at the Council of Florence Bessarion accurately presented the then prevalent Eastern view.  At Florence the Eastern participants certainly acknowledged the reality of divine punishment in Hades, but insisted that this punishment ends when forgiveness occurs.  In the words of Ostroumoff:
 
Quote
To all this the Orthodox party gave a clear and satisfactory answer. They remarked, that the words quoted from the book of Maccabees, and our Saviour's words, can only prove that some sins will be forgiven after death; but whether by means of punishment by fire, or by other means, nothing was known for certain. Besides, what has forgiveness of sins to do with punishment by fire and tortures? Only one of these two things can happen: either punishment or forgiveness, and not both at once.

This is a slightly different way of conceptualizing the matter, but it need not be seen as contradicting the Latin approach.  We would need to unpack further what it means for God to forgive sins after death.  We certainly do not want to think of God as only forgiving until we repent fully and completely, as if God's infinite love is conditional upon our behavior and attitudes.  Would it not be better to think of forgiveness as identical to that divine act whereby the sinner is perfectly conformed to the image of Christ.  In the most fundamental sense of the word, we are forgiven at that moment in which we are finally prepared to enter into the fullness of eternal joy.

The Latin notion of "temporal punishment of sin," is not an easy notion for us today to grasp; and it is certainly the case that it has been grossly misrepresented in popular Catholic presentations.  It may also be said that Pope Paul VI's presentation of temporal punishment of sin is one-sided and very close to misrepresenting the complete truth of the matter.  If you want a truly "traditional" Catholic presentation, I suggest that you revisit Thomas Aquinas and his discussion of penance and satisfaction.  In her essay on Aquinas and Atonement, Eleonore Stump explains the nature of satisfaction:  "So the function of satisfaction for Aquinas is not to placate a wrathful God or in some other way remove the constraints which compel God to damn sinners. Instead, the function of satisfaction is to restore a sinner to a state of harmony with God by repairing or restoring in the sinner what sin has damaged." (Aquinas, p. 432).  

Now this way of thinking about things may be alien to contemporary Orthodox, but I doubt it was completely alien to Orthodox of earlier generations, as the Confession of Dositheus, approved by the 1672 Synod of Jerusalem, attests:

Quote
And the souls of those involved in mortal sins, who have not departed in despair but while still living in the body, though without bringing forth any fruits of repentance, have repented — by pouring forth tears, by kneeling while watching in prayers, by afflicting themselves, by relieving the poor, and finally by showing forth by their works their love towards God and their neighbor, and which the Catholic Church has from the beginning rightly called satisfaction — [their souls] depart into Hades, and there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed. But they are aware of their future release from there, and are delivered by the Supreme Goodness, through the prayers of the Priests, and the good works which the relatives of each do for their Departed; especially the unbloody Sacrifice benefiting the most; which each offers particularly for his relatives that have fallen asleep, and which the Catholic and Apostolic Church offers daily for all alike. Of course, it is understood that we do not know the time of their release. We know and believe that there is deliverance for such from their direful condition, and that before the common resurrection and judgment, but when we know not.

I have asked two Orthodox theologians, Fr Patrick Reardon and Fr Andrew Louth, whether the contemporary Catholic construal of purgatory poses any serious problems for Orthodoxy.  Both have assured me that it does not.  No doubt the Orthodox had sound and compelling reasons in the past to reject Latin formulations of purgatory; but those reasons simply do not obtain in the present.  Instead of fighting old battles, why not rejoice in this ecumenical convergence in the catholic faith?  
« Last Edit: November 26, 2010, 02:48:27 PM by akimel » Logged

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« Reply #38 on: November 26, 2010, 02:41:27 PM »

Folks appear to have passed over the description cited above of the Eastern position as advanced by Bessarion at the Council of Florence:  "On the other hand, the Greeks teach of one eternal fire alone, understanding that the temporal punishment of sinful souls consists in that they for a time depart into a place of darkness and sorrow, are punished by being deprived of the Divine light, and are purified—that is, liberated from this place of darkness and woe—by means of prayers, the Holy Eucharist, and deeds of charity, and not by fire." 

This sounds very close to the understanding now dominant in the Catholic Church, as articulated, e.g., by the Catholic Catechism, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI.   

And it was one that the Latins were willing to accept in the 15th century.
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« Reply #39 on: November 26, 2010, 02:45:07 PM »

A couple of other issues:

Job also refers (cant remember quite where) to
"Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them"
What purpose can this serve unless those souls are in a place or state where they can be aided by prayer?

There is also the question as to the distinction between "place" and "state" as recognised in modern science.

First off let me say as a trained scientist I do not believe that science is anything other than a model of observation ...ie it has nothing to say about "what is" only the more repeatable elements of "what it does" and a lot of anomalies in modern science are about pushing that model too hard.

That said

Even modern science is recognising that just because our senses are trapped in three dimensions - more are needed to make the scientific model work - once you go to the 10? infinite?  or more dimensions needed for adequate modelling of the universe of which only few can be observed and they are contorted such that different "places" are actually the same - it it calls into question the very concept of "place" which can then be  better regarded as a "state" , in a multiverse in which all outcomes , times and places coexist. Also "indeterminacy" in this model is very real. That states are not just a logical consequence of the history to that point, but really really undetermined. In fact modern quantum science believes that an outcome is literally undetermined until it is observed...that means not a particle exists somewhere, but cannot be measured, but it literally has no place until it is observed. So your world, and mine are different chystallized by observation. Science tries to get round this by saying tyhat all outcomes exist in diffeent multiverses - you sellect one by observation/


Sounds daft?  Dont let anyone convince you that science has answers, it does not!! - And it calls into question the very meaning of "place" and even recognises the undetermined nature and so free will is alive and well.

The pont I make is that "place" itself is a too simplistic concept





Fascinating! I hope you'll stay with us, brother.
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« Reply #40 on: November 26, 2010, 03:01:04 PM »


Getting back to the traditional teaching of Purgatory with which my generation in the 1940s, 50s and 60s was brought up as unquestionable Catholic Truth....the EWTN website has a copy of the work: "READ ME OR RUE IT" by Father Paul O'Sullivan.

This book has the approval of His Emenince the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon.

According to this work:

"People do not realize what Purgatory is. They have no conception of its
dreadful pains, and they have no idea of the long years that souls are
detained in these awful fires."


"WHAT IS PURGATORY?
"It is a prison of fire in which nearly all [saved] souls are plunged after
death and in which they suffer the intensest pain."


http://www.ewtn.com/library/SPIRIT/READRUE.TXT


Yesterday's unquestionable teachings, from Popes and Saints and theologians, are today's theologoumena.  laugh  How are we ever going to dialogue with Rome?


But then why was the Council of Trent so careful not to define anything more of Purgatory than this:

"Whereas the Catholic Church, instructed by the Holy Ghost, has from the Sacred Scriptures and the ancient tradition of the Fathers taught in Councils and very recently in this Ecumenical synod (Sess. VI, cap. XXX; Sess. XXII cap.ii, iii) that there is a purgatory, and that the souls therein are helped by the suffrages of the faithful, but principally by the acceptable Sacrifice of the Altar; the Holy Synod enjoins on the Bishops that they diligently endeavor to have the sound doctrine of the Fathers in Councils regarding purgatory everywhere taught and preached, held and believed by the faithful" (Denzinger, "Enchiridon", 983).

And then we have this section of the Catholic Encyclopedia article on Purgaotry from 100 years ago:

Purgatorial fire

At the Council of Florence, Bessarion argued against the existence of real purgatorial fire, and the Greeks were assured that the Roman Church had never issued any dogmatic decree on this subject. In the West the belief in the existence of real fire is common. Augustine (Enarration on Psalm 37, no. 3) speaks of the pain which purgatorial fire causes as more severe than anything a man can suffer in this life, "gravior erit ignis quam quidquid potest homo pati in hac vita" (P.L., col. 397). Gregory the Great speaks of those who after this life "will expiate their faults by purgatorial flames," and he adds "that the pain be more intolerable than any one can suffer in this life" (Ps. 3 poenit., n. 1). Following in the footsteps of Gregory, St. Thomas teaches (IV, dist. xxi, q. i, a.1) that besides the separation of the soul from the sight of God, there is the other punishment from fire. "Una poena damni, in quantum scilicet retardantur a divina visione; alia sensus secundum quod ab igne punientur", and St. Bonaventure not only agrees with St. Thomas but adds (IV, dist. xx, p.1, a.1, q. ii) that this punishment by fire is more severe than any punishment which comes to men in this life; "Gravior est omni temporali poena. quam modo sustinet anima carni conjuncta". How this fire affects the souls of the departed the Doctors do not know, and in such matters it is well to heed the warning of the Council of Trent when it commands the bishops "to exclude from their preaching difficult and subtle questions which tend not to edification', and from the discussion of which there is no increase either in piety or devotion" (Sess. XXV, "De Purgatorio").


"Belief in the existence of real fire is common."

Doesn't sound like it is up there with the Immaculate Conception in terms of authoritative teaching.

Of course it is a perfectly acceptable belief, and perhaps the most justifiable one, since so many of the Fathers wrote of it. But it never reached the kind of consensus needed to make it official, which is why any mention of fire was left out of the definitions at Florence and Trent.

IrishHermit, you like to have it both ways. You like to accuse us of defining everything, and then you mock us when we don't.

Most of all you like to mock. So don't expect me to participate in any tit-for-tats.
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« Reply #41 on: November 26, 2010, 03:31:02 PM »

In regards to spiritual writers writing on Purgatory since the Council of Florence, one cannot fail to mention the great 15th-century ascetic and mystic St. Catherine of Genoa and her "Treatise on Purgatory."

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

You can read this short work here. It totally refutes the standard straw-man attack on traditional Catholicism as believing in a "sadistic God". St. Catherine, warmed by the fire of Divine Love, would have found that repugnant.

http://www.catholictreasury.info/books/treatise_on_purgatory/

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« Reply #42 on: November 26, 2010, 03:35:16 PM »

Folks appear to have passed over the description cited above of the Eastern position as advanced by Bessarion at the Council of Florence:  "On the other hand, the Greeks teach of one eternal fire alone, understanding that the temporal punishment of sinful souls consists in that they for a time depart into a place of darkness and sorrow, are punished by being deprived of the Divine light, and are purified—that is, liberated from this place of darkness and woe—by means of prayers, the Holy Eucharist, and deeds of charity, and not by fire." 

This sounds very close to the understanding now dominant in the Catholic Church, as articulated, e.g., by the Catholic Catechism, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI.   

And it was one that the Latins were willing to accept in the 15th century.

The Synod of Jerusalem was convened to refute the (alleged) Calvinist heresies of Cyril Lucaris and to clearly articulate some of the essential beliefs of the Orthodox Church.  It certainly did not seek to appease or accommodate Catholics.  Patriarch Dositheus certainly employed Latin concepts and language in explicating the Orthodox faith, but as Met Kallistos notes, "the faith which he defended with these Latin weapons was not Roman, but Orthodox."   Contemporary Orthodox may now wish to correct some of its formulations, which of course they are free to do; but it would be hasty, I think, to dismiss the confession out of hand, as if Orthodoxy had simply forgotten the Orthodox Faith in the 17th century.  I'm sure that the Eastern patriarchs in the 17th century were just as confident that they knew the authentic Orthodox faith as the 21st century Orthodox contributors on this forum.  Each one of us is limited by his location in history. 
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« Reply #43 on: November 26, 2010, 05:25:19 PM »

Now this way of thinking about things may be alien to contemporary Orthodox, but I doubt it was completely alien to Orthodox of earlier generations, as the Confession of Dositheus, approved by the 1672 Synod of Jerusalem, attests:

Quote
And the souls of those involved in mortal sins, who have not departed in despair but while still living in the body, though without bringing forth any fruits of repentance, have repented — by pouring forth tears, by kneeling while watching in prayers, by afflicting themselves, by relieving the poor, and finally by showing forth by their works their love towards God and their neighbor, and which the Catholic Church has from the beginning rightly called satisfaction — [their souls] depart into Hades, and there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed. But they are aware of their future release from there, and are delivered by the Supreme Goodness, through the prayers of the Priests, and the good works which the relatives of each do for their Departed; especially the unbloody Sacrifice benefiting the most; which each offers particularly for his relatives that have fallen asleep, and which the Catholic and Apostolic Church offers daily for all alike. Of course, it is understood that we do not know the time of their release. We know and believe that there is deliverance for such from their direful condition, and that before the common resurrection and judgment, but when we know not.


Yet another council conducted under western-captivity which has no bearing on true Orthodox theology.
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« Reply #44 on: November 26, 2010, 05:29:55 PM »

A bit of info on the Orthodox interpretation/understanding of purgatory:

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Purgatory
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