Purgatory is an article of the faith, meaning all Catholics are bound to believe it. If you claim to be a Catholic but deny the existence of Purgatory, you are living in a lie. You cannot be a Catholic and deny purgatory.
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"Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine" — "Grant them eternal rest, O Lord"
Purgatory is real. The Church authoritatively teaches this. We are required to believe this for that reason.
Purgatory is "the place and state in which souls suffer for a while and are purged after death, before they go to Heaven, on account of their sins. Venial sins, which have never in life been remitted by an act of repentance or love or by good deeds, and grave sins, the guilt of which with its eternal punishment has indeed been removed by God after an act of repentance but for which there is still left a debt of temporal punishment due to His justice on account of the imperfection of that repentance, must be purged away after death by the pain of intense longing for God, whose blissful vision is delayed, and also, as is commonly taught, by some pain of sense inflicted probably by material fire." (Definition from A Catholic Dictionary, 1951)
Many people think of purgatory as Hell but not forever, but this isn't entirely true. Purgatory is not hell. The pain there is from an extreme longing to be with God as well as satisfaction for the debt they owe on account of their sins. It is an intense suffering (worse than anything we can experience on earth) but it is not torment because the souls there know that they are on their way to Heaven. They will not have to suffer Hell. They will be among the saved.
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.
Pope Benedict XVI in Spe Salvi
This place of purification cleanses our sins and makes us worthy of Heaven. All of this is made possible by the greatest example of love — the Cross that Our Lord died on. Without His death, no one would have a chance at Heaven.
In purgatory our blemished soul is cleaned... Please purchase this lesson to continue learning.
Eschatology #4: Purgatory is part of the following course(s):