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Author Topic: Roman Catholic Church did away with "Purgatory"?  (Read 4335 times) Average Rating: 0
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akimel
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« Reply #45 on: May 15, 2011, 10:29:31 AM »

Melodist, compare your passage from St Mark of Ephesus to this passage from Pope Benedict's encyclical Spe Salvi:

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This early Jewish idea of an intermediate state includes the view that these souls are not simply in a sort of temporary custody but, as the parable of the rich man illustrates, are already being punished or are experiencing a provisional form of bliss. There is also the idea that this state can involve purification and healing which mature the soul for communion with God. The early Church took up these concepts, and in the Western Church they gradually developed into the doctrine of Purgatory. We do not need to examine here the complex historical paths of this development; it is enough to ask what it actually means. With death, our life-choice becomes definitive—our life stands before the judge. Our choice, which in the course of an entire life takes on a certain shape, can have a variety of forms. There can be people who have totally destroyed their desire for truth and readiness to love, people for whom everything has become a lie, people who have lived for hatred and have suppressed all love within themselves. This is a terrifying thought, but alarming profiles of this type can be seen in certain figures of our own history. In such people all would be beyond remedy and the destruction of good would be irrevocable: this is what we mean by the word Hell[37]. On the other hand there can be people who are utterly pure, completely permeated by God, and thus fully open to their neighbours—people for whom communion with God even now gives direction to their entire being and whose journey towards God only brings to fulfilment what they already are[38].

46. Yet we know from experience that neither case is normal in human life. 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.

47. 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[39]. 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).

I do not discern a substantive difference between St Mark and Pope Benedict.  Do you?
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« Reply #46 on: May 16, 2011, 01:38:40 PM »

I'm kind of curious. Taking into account that our God is a consuming fire, would this statement be offensive to modern Catholic teaching and theologians/apologists? I'm only asking because the main objections being raised are to points that some might be more willing to acknowledge as being just opinion or speculation.

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

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

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

-- St. Mark of Ephesus, First Homily on the Refutation of the Latin Chapters Concerning Purgatorial Fire

I would have to say Yes it is "offensive to modern Catholic teaching and theologians/apologist", because ultimately he is saying "The Catholics are wrong, and here's why." If he were instead saying "The Catholics are right, and here's why" that would be another matter.

And if the points that he refused to accept dogmatically are not even accepted as such by your church today? Is there disagreement with what he affirms to be true? Is there a strict belief that the points he rejects have to be accepted?
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« Reply #47 on: May 16, 2011, 01:51:00 PM »

I'm kind of curious. Taking into account that our God is a consuming fire, would this statement be offensive to modern Catholic teaching and theologians/apologists? I'm only asking because the main objections being raised are to points that some might be more willing to acknowledge as being just opinion or speculation.

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

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

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

-- St. Mark of Ephesus, First Homily on the Refutation of the Latin Chapters Concerning Purgatorial Fire

I would have to say Yes it is "offensive to modern Catholic teaching and theologians/apologist", because ultimately he is saying "The Catholics are wrong, and here's why." If he were instead saying "The Catholics are right, and here's why" that would be another matter.

And if the points that he refused to accept dogmatically are not even accepted as such by your church today? Is there disagreement with what he affirms to be true? Is there a strict belief that the points he rejects have to be accepted?

It seems to me that the idea that Purgation, Hell and Heaven are "places" is part of the earliest and current understanding of the body and soul.  The body and soul are not separable so that when the body dies, we seem to always posit some sort of material vehicle for the soul until it is once again reunited with our glorified body when Jesus comes again in glory.

The whole idea of immortal soul has its own problems, in terms of its apostolic origins, and I am very happy that was not discussed at Florence or we may have more of a mess than we do today.  Nonetheless we cannot posit a body/soul dualism, nor are spirits immaterial, so it simply is reasonable to think of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory as 'places' with material bodies of some kind inhabiting them...whatever that means in life everlasting.

And fire, of course, is quite scriptural, old and new testament...It burns without consuming. 

So I really don't get Bishop Mark's difficulty, and so I just ignore it and move on. 


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« Reply #48 on: May 16, 2011, 02:00:55 PM »

I do not discern a substantive difference between St Mark and Pope Benedict.  Do you?

The only noticable difference is the reference to "as through fire", but if we recognize God as a "consuming fire", and believe that the same "fire" causes the unrepentent to be destroyed and the glorified saints to shine, then the concept of that same "fire" burning away the sins that a person does not wish to hold onto may not be mutually exclusive. I believe the points being rejected by St Mark were that it is a literal fire, different than that which destroys the unrepentent, and the nature of the fire itself being temporary, which Pope Benedict does not seem to be asserting here. I believe the pope would in agreement with Orthodox teaching as far as that whatever happens to us after we die is a matter of how we encounter Christ and how we have conditioned oursleves in this life to encounter Him in the next.
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« Reply #49 on: May 16, 2011, 05:00:51 PM »

I'm kind of curious. Taking into account that our God is a consuming fire, would this statement be offensive to modern Catholic teaching and theologians/apologists? I'm only asking because the main objections being raised are to points that some might be more willing to acknowledge as being just opinion or speculation.

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

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

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

-- St. Mark of Ephesus, First Homily on the Refutation of the Latin Chapters Concerning Purgatorial Fire

I would have to say Yes it is "offensive to modern Catholic teaching and theologians/apologist", because ultimately he is saying "The Catholics are wrong, and here's why." If he were instead saying "The Catholics are right, and here's why" that would be another matter.

And if the points that he refused to accept dogmatically are not even accepted as such by your church today? Is there disagreement with what he affirms to be true? Is there a strict belief that the points he rejects have to be accepted?

Those are good questions, but I would add one more to the list: Was St. Mark attacking a strawman?
« Last Edit: May 16, 2011, 05:03:13 PM by Peter J » Logged

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akimel
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« Reply #50 on: May 16, 2011, 05:07:21 PM »


The only noticable difference is the reference to "as through fire", but if we recognize God as a "consuming fire", and believe that the same "fire" causes the unrepentent to be destroyed and the glorified saints to shine, then the concept of that same "fire" burning away the sins that a person does not wish to hold onto may not be mutually exclusive. I believe the points being rejected by St Mark were that it is a literal fire, different than that which destroys the unrepentent, and the nature of the fire itself being temporary, which Pope Benedict does not seem to be asserting here. I believe the pope would in agreement with Orthodox teaching as far as that whatever happens to us after we die is a matter of how we encounter Christ and how we have conditioned oursleves in this life to encounter Him in the next.

That the "fire of purgatory" is physical fire was common Latin teaching at the time of the Council of Florence; but it was not dogmatically defined as such at Florence nor at any subsequent Western council.  Today Latin theologians commonly interpret this language figuratively.   
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« Reply #51 on: May 19, 2011, 02:52:18 AM »

No. For Catholic understanding of Divine Revelation, purgatory cannot be done away with. It would be easier to do away with the Moon and Stars.

Anything to the contrary is utter nonesense. Rightly speaking we all merit hell for our sins against Mary ever-Virgin, the holy Angels, John the Baptist, Peter, Paul, Andrew and all the saints.


We must pass through the burning flame of the Sacred Heart of Christ by way of His Holy Five Wounds in order to enter everlasting life. In his heart we are burnt up. Both His Justice and His Mercy demand it.

I would wager His Holiness knows St Mark of Ephesus like the back of his own hand. His writing is beautiful and a gift. Deo Gratias.


More than likely he was exposed somehow, someway to Luther and his toilet finding their devil's best to do away with the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.
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« Reply #52 on: May 19, 2011, 02:57:58 AM »

No. For Catholic understanding of Divine Revelation, purgatory cannot be done away with. It would be easier to do away with the Moon and Stars.

Anything to the contrary is utter nonesense.


More than likely he was exposed somehow, someway to Luther and his toilet.

You seem like quite the amiable chap  Tongue  Nonetheless, welcome to the forum!
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« Reply #53 on: May 19, 2011, 06:38:42 PM »

You seem like quite the amiable chap  Tongue  Nonetheless, welcome to the forum!

Thank you, sir. I was over at the Catholic forums but was banned for.... well... I actually don't know. I was just banned one-day.

Maybe it had something to do with me asking about the Missale peculiar to the Franciscan Rite. No, it the 1920 Missale Romanum editio typica.

Holy week changes... ugh!

Once again, thank you.
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« Reply #54 on: May 19, 2011, 08:46:30 PM »

You seem like quite the amiable chap  Tongue  Nonetheless, welcome to the forum!

Thank you, sir. I was over at the Catholic forums but was banned for.... well... I actually don't know. I was just banned one-day.

Maybe it had something to do with me asking about the Missale peculiar to the Franciscan Rite. No, it the 1920 Missale Romanum editio typica.

Holy week changes... ugh!

Once again, thank you.

Not sure what you mean by "the Catholic forums".
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