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This room is for discussion related to learning about the faith (Catechetics), defense of the Faith (Apologetics), the Liturgy and canon law, motivated by a desire to grow closer to Christ or to bring someone else closer.

Saint Augustine of Hippo is considered on of the greatest Christian thinkers of all time and the Doctor of the Church.
Learn More: Saint Augustine

Dec 16th 2013 new
(quote) Lynea-297530 said: Cindy, I have no idea what post you are referring to. I never said there is no purgatory --- not even close. I did find, "Tom, the Sacrament of Confession/Penance absolves someone from the sins they've committed (with valid matter and form) --- not their disordered disposition. It does not make someone a saint. For instance, say you go to Confession and die as you are walking out. When you die, and you are in a state of grace, you will get to Heaven, but if you still have disordered habits, those will first bring you to Purgatory, until the disorder is purged. "

That's a lot different from what you are accusing me of having written.

However, it is possible for some to go straight to Heaven. These are known as SAINTS, who do not have any sin, and if there was any restitution to be made for absolved sins it had already been made in this life, and they do not have any disorders of the will (a.k.a. vice). Saints do not reach the level of saintly sanctity by accident, but it is their response to God's grace that they are rewarded with going straight to heaven.

I think i might have said in another thread (Not the SSPX) a hypothetic example of a man who died and went to Heaven, but even then i added that he first went to Purgatory (he was not a saint but died in a state of grace).

If you've my posts, you would see that I am a big proponent of Catholic doctrine. I'm afraid you've misread one of my posts and jumped the gun here.
Hi Lynea,
No I am not accusing you of anything nor is this an attack. I never said you said there was no purgatory.
I am referring to your last thread, it is in the post you wrote. I think the SSPX one, I would link it for you, but I don't know how too from my iPad.
Maybe some one else could do that.
I only wanted to say that I was taught that everybody even those with absolution, will first go to purgatory. I was taught this in Morality classes, by a very educated Roman Catholic priest.
To be honest, I never knew this before either, not until I took his class.

Dec 17th 2013 new
(quote) Cindy-534370 said: Hi Lynea,
No I am not accusing you of anything nor is this an attack. I never said you said there was no purgatory.
I am referring to your last thread, it is in the post you wrote. I think the SSPX one, I would link it for you, but I don't know how too from my iPad.
Maybe some one else could do that.
I only wanted to say that I was taught that everybody even those with absolution, will first go to purgatory. I was taught this in Morality classes, by a very educated Roman Catholic priest.
To be honest, I never knew this before either, not until I took his class.

Hi Cindy,
I would get a second opinion. I truly believe in the power of confession and last rights of the Catholic church. If you are truly sorry for your sins and want forgiveness, then they are absolved by a priest. Purgatory how I was taught if you died not in a state of grace you would go to purgatory even with little sins.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong but what would be the purpose of confession if you are unable to wipe the slate clean, meaning whiten your soul? Obviously, you need to be truly sorry when you ask Jesus for forgiveness.

Dec 17th 2013 new
(quote) Cathy-564420 said: Hi Cindy,
I would get a second opinion. I truly believe in the power of confession and last rights of the Catholic church. If you are truly sorry for your sins and want forgiveness, then they are absolved by a priest. Purgatory how I was taught if you died not in a state of grace you would go to purgatory even with little sins.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong but what would be the purpose of confession if you are unable to wipe the slate clean, meaning whiten your soul? Obviously, you need to be truly sorry when you ask Jesus for forgiveness.

Hi Cathy,
I can understand what you're saying, and yes confession is indeed necessary to clean our soul of sin, but when we die, even with a clean soul and a final confession and absolution we do not go directly ascending into heaven. We all first go to the place called purgatory, for cleansing and purification before we can enter into the most holy place, heaven.
There is no need for a second opinion, because this is the truth.
Read in the Catechism, 1031, it says "The Church gives the name Purgatory to final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned."
All the souls that go through this process, Purgatory, are destined for heaven.

I believe the Blessed Mother was the only one who was ascended into heaven directly, we cannot ascend into heaven directly until we first go thru the process of purification, which is in Purgatory.
Revelation 21:27 says that "nothing unclean shall enter heaven."

Dec 17th 2013 new
(quote) Cindy-534370 said: Hi Cathy,
I can understand what you're saying, and yes confession is indeed necessary to clean our soul of sin, but when we die, even with a clean soul and a final confession and absolution we do not go directly ascending into heaven. We all first go to the place called purgatory, for cleansing and purification before we can enter into the most holy place, heaven.
There is no need for a second opinion, because this is the truth.
Read in the Catechism, 1031, it says "The Church gives the name Purgatory to final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned."
All the souls that go through this process, Purgatory, are destined for heaven.

I believe the Blessed Mother was the only one who was ascended into heaven directly, we cannot ascend into heaven directly until we first go thru the process of purification, which is in Purgatory.
Revelation 21:27 says that "nothing unclean shall enter heaven."

THE TEACHING OF ST. THERESE OF LISIEUX
ON PURGATORY

by Father Dr. Hubert van Dijk, ORC

Doctor of the Church for the third millennium

St Therese of Lisieux, who was declared Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II on October 19, 1997, felt the calling in the monastery to teach others and wanted to be a teacher (docteur)1 Early on, God revealed the mysteries of His Love to her. She writes about this: "Ah! Had the learned who spent their life in study come to me, undoubtedly they would have been astonished to see a child of fourteen understand perfection's secrets, secrets all their knowledge cannot reveal because to possess them one has to be poor in spirit!" 2

In his apostolic letter Divini Amoris Scientia, published when St Therese was declared Doctor of the Church, the Holy Father says that one should not look for a scientific revelation of God's mysteries. "Thus we can rightly recognize in the Saint of Lisieux the charism of a Doctor of the Church, because of the gift of the Holy Spirit she received for living and expressing her experience faith, and because of her particular understanding of the mystery of Christ... That assimilation was certainly favored by the most singular natural gifts, but it was also evidently something prodigious, due to acharism of wisdom from the Holy Spirit."3

Her writings offer an abundance of ideas concerning practically every field in theology and spirituality, a multitude which even a hundred years after her death bas been far from exhausted. As the popes repeatedly express: Therese of Lisieux is a gift to the Church. Before the year 2000, she was declared Doctor of the Church, becoming the third woman amongst the thirty-three recognized Doctors of the Church. She died young. Not only is she the youngest of all, but also the best known, loved, and read! Already she has given the Church a lot, and in the dawn of a new millennium, she will continue to bless the faithful with her many gifts. Thus, she is also known as "Doctor of the Church of the third millennium."

"One does not need to go to Purgatory"

Little Therese's theology is a theology that springs from life, a theology of experience. She received a fervent Catholic upbringing at home, in her parish community, as well as at the school of the Benedictine nuns in Lisieux, and thus, she was familiar with the teaching of Purgatory. Being lead by-the Holy Spirit, thoughts, notions, and ideas developed which finally became, "The teaching of the Little Flower on Purgatory."4

The common teaching within the Church is that Purgatory can hardly be avoided. While still only a novice, the saint commented about this with one of the sisters, Sr. Maria Philomena, who believed in the near impossibility of going to heaven without passing through purgatory:

You do not have enough trust. You have too much fear before the good God. I can assure you that He is grieved over this. You should not fear Purgatory because of the suffering there, but should instead ask that you not deserve to go there in order to please God, Who so reluctantly imposes this punishment. As soon as you try to please Him in everything and have an unshakable trust He purifies you every moment in His love and He lets no sin remain. And then you can be sure that you will not have to go to Purgatory.5

She even said that we would offend God if we didn't trust enough that we would get to heaven right after dying. When she found out that her novices talked occasionally that they would probably have to expect to be in Purgatory, she corrected them saying: "Oh! How you grieve me! You do a great injury to God in believing you're going to Purgatory. When we love, we can't go there."6 Now, this is a new doctrine, but only for those who don't know God, who are not childlike, who don't trust. It is so correct to see things this way. It is true that God will judge us at one point, but He is always and first our Father Who... suffers when He has to punish His child and sees its suffering. The child should do His will just out of love, and not to avoid punishment. And this really means that God does not want Purgatory! He allows that His children suffer, but only as if He had to look away.7

If St. Therese is correct that one does not need to be in Purgatory because God Himself does not want this and would love to help us, the thought that Purgatory can be avoided is suddenly not so far-fetched anymore. But first there is the problem of the . aforementioned opinion which says that only few will avoid Purgatory. This is confirmed by great saints and mystics like
St. John of the Cross who says, "Only a small number of souls achieve perfect love"8 (perfect love is necessary to go straight to heaven). St. Teresa of Avila also had the experience that only few will be able to avoid Purgatory.9 St. John Vianney said, "It is definite that only a few chosen ones do not go to Purgatory and the suffering there that one must. endure, exceeds our imagination."10

One also has to take into consideration that even practicing Christians are convinced that even the good and faithful and those consecrated to God will have to be exposed to purification in Purgatory for a certain amount of time. The reason for this is always the same: "It is not easy to avoid Purgatory. No one is a saint, and I will certainly have to spend some time there myself." They add to this that "God is just" or "we certainly deserve this."

Therefore, it is even more amazing what St. Therese has to say. Once she encouraged her novice, Sr. Marie de la Trinire to have the faith that it was possible even for her to get to heaven right away. She wondered "If I fail even in: the smallest things, " may I still hope to get straight to heaven?" St Therese, who knew well the weaknesses of her novice, replied: "Yes! God is so good. He will know how He can come and get you. But despite this, try to be faithful, so that He does not wait in vain for your love."11

God is Father rather than Judge.

Once St. Therese had a confrontation regarding this topic with Sr. Marie Febronia, who not only was sixty-seven years old but also was sub-prioress. She had heard that St. Therese encouraged the novices to believe that they could go straight to heaven. She did not like this as she considered this kind of confidence presumptuous, and thus she reproached St Therese. St Therese tried lovingly and calmly to explain to Sr. Febronia her point of view but with no success as Sr. Febronia clung to belief. For St. Therese God was more Father than Judge, and she took the liberty of finally responding, "My sister, if you look for the justice of God you will get it. The soul will receive from God exactly what she desires."

The year had not passed when, in January 1892, Sr. M. Febronia together with other sisters fell prey to the flu and died. Three months later Sr. Therese had a dream which she related to her Mother Prioress and which was then documented: "O my Mother, my Sr. M Febronia came to me last night and asked that we should pray for het:. She is in Purgatory, surely because she had trusted too little in the mercy of the good Lord. Through her imploring behavior and her profound looks, it seemed she wanted to say, You were right. I am now delivered up to the full justice of God but it is my fault. If I had listened to you I would not be here now."12

St. Therese's "doctrine" in 7 key words
1. Purgatory became a rule rather than the exception.

An infinite number of souls who suffer in Purgatory and for whom the Church prays daily after consecration did not need to go there. If we think in human terms,God does not wish for us to need Purgatory. God does not put us here on earth, where we are tested and are suffering after the fall, only to let us suffer again--andmuch worse--in Purgatory. Everyone receives enough graces in order to go straight to God after passing the trials on earth. However, Purgatory is an emergency entry to Heaven for those who have wasted their time. However, what God considered theexception became the rule, and the rule--to go straight to heaven--become the exception.

2. To cope with the "inevitable" is a grave error.

Since God does not really want Purgatory, He does not want it for me either! But then I also have to not want it! Nobody would expose themselves to the danger of Purgatory by living a mediocre and--as is the case so often today--a sinful life. If they only thought of the intense sufferings in Purgatory. In this regard, the mystics unanimously say that the least suffering in Purgatory is much greater than thegreatest suffering here on earth! The reason for this is that once in Purgatory, one does not go through the time of God's Mercy but of God's Justice. Here, the Lord's word applies: "1 tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the very last copper' (Lk 12:59). The many who carelessly say, "I will probably spend some time there," are gravely wrong. Nobody just spends some time there, one has to suffer there like one has never suffered nor could have suffered while on earth. One often even suffers a long time there also. If the Poor Souls in Purgatory had known on earth what to expect in eternity, Purgatory would have remained empty.

3. Purgatory is a waste of time.

This is what St. Therese says, "I know that of myself I would not merit even to enter that place of expiation since only holy souls can have entrance there. But I also know that the Fire of Love is more sanctifying than is the tire of Purgatory. I know that Jesus cannot desire useless sufferings for us, and that He would not inspire the longings I feel unless He wanted to grant them."13 It is true that Purgatory is a wonderful grace, for if needed, without the purification in Purgatory we would not go to Heaven, and the work of art which God intended and created us to be would not be completed. But St. Therese is right: at the moment of our death we already have our place in Heaven. Afterwards, there is no growing in grace anymore. Whoever does not go through Purgatory does not miss anything.

4. We need a more positive image of God.

We already know that St. Therese told her novices that they offended God when they thought they would go to Purgatory. That is a very shocking statement: for if this is correct millions of Christians are offending God or at least hurt Him. And yet this is the case. They are focused only on themselves, thinking--not without reason--that they deserve Purgatory. They do not notice God Who is by their side and would love to help them so much. The fact that we fear Purgatory so much also has to do with a rather negative image that we have of God. We, Christians of the 20th Century, were like so many, raised with the image of a strict God, anxious to punish us as often as we deserve it. This thinking goes back to heresies like Jansenism. Quietism, or Calvinism. 14

5. Love banishes fear

The question of whether Heaven will follow right after death is a question of trust. God does not need our merits in order to take us straight to Him but He needs all of our trust. Or the other way around--it is not -our sins that can prevent God from giving us this grace but rather our lack of trust. Therefore, we must draw the conclusion that everything depends solely on trust. There is no trust without perfect love. And vice versa, there is no love without trust.

And this is exactly what the Apostle John writes in his first letter, "In this is love perfected with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as He is so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love" (1 Jn.
4:17-18).

This text enlightens our topic very much. Judgment Day is the day of our death. Whoever achieves perfect love at the moment of their death sees God as so merciful and generous that they cannot believe in punishment in Purgatory. We are dealing with the same kind of grace in the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. St. Thomas Aquinas teaches us that this Sacrament has as its real fruit the wiping out of punishment due to our sins.15 After those who have received the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, others present often notice that the sick enter a period of growing peace and trust, together with a great surrender to the Will of God, and even serenity and desire for Heaven. This also applies to those who up to that point did not believe or even lived in mortal sin. Even these people, as the great theologians of the scholastics say--for example, St. Albert the Great or St. Bonaventure--go straight to Heaven without having to go through Purgatory first. This shows the wonderful grace coming from the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.16

6. The last will be the first.

While many Christians do receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, experience tells us that they do not go straight to Heaven. The mystics often relate that many priests and religious suffer a long time and have to wait for their release. However, all of them or almost all of them have received the Sacrament of the Anointing. What is the reason for this? The answer is certainly that they did not receive the Sacrament with the necessary repentance or surrender to the Will of God, or that they did not want to change their flaws and vices a long time before their death.

St. Therese of Lisieux tells us that she heard that sometimes great saints with many merits come before the Judgment of God, but have to go to Purgatory because our justice before God is often unclean. That is why she recommends to give immediately away all the merits of our good deeds, and that it is better to appear before God empty-handed.17 She recommends to her oldest sister and godmother Marie, to be given Heaven free of charge by God.18

While on the one hand the first ones don't always get to Heaven first, on the other hand there are enough examples that the last ones become the first ones. Therese refers in her writings to the Lord's mercy towards the good thief,19 and wishes that the story from the "desert fathers," about how a great sinner called Paesie died out of love and is being taken straight to heaven, should be added to her autobiography, "Souls will understand immediately, for it is a striking example of what I'm trying to say."20

When our great hour comes, as St. Therese writes to Abbe Roulland, missionary in
China, if only we trust, the Blessed Virgin will obtain "the grace of making an act of perfect love" should we have "some trace of human weakness" and so will we reach heaven immediately after death.21

7. St. Therese's teaching, a great message for the third millennium

One can rightfully say that Therese is turning all common opinions on Purgatory upside down.22 She wants to appear before God empty-handed and explains why it can be easier for sinners who have nothing to rely upon, to reach Heaven than the great saints with all their merits.. She emphasizes that trust alone is enough, that merits are no guarantee but often an obstacle for the straight way to Heaven, and that sins do not need to be an obstacle. After a 'messed-up' life, God can still take one straight to Heaven if the dying person only has trust. And how easy it can be to trust if there are no merits but only one's misery! Through trust she shows the shorter wayto Heaven to the small and humble. And so many can and will go that way. Shewrites about this to her sister Marie: "... what pleases Him (God) is that He sees me loving my littleness and my poverty, the blind hope that I have in His mercy... That is my only treasure, dear Godmother, why should this treasure not be yours?..."23

As has been said, she has made sanctity available for everyone through her little way, and this is also true for the straight way to Heaven... This will no longer be an exception. Once those who are smart enough to gather from the treasures of our new Doctor of the Church will walk this way easily, especially those who want to be part of the legion of little souls which St. Therese asked God for at the end of her manuscript B, "I beg You to cast Your Divine Glance upon a great number of little souls. I beg You to choose a legion of little Victims worthy of Your LOVE!"24 Yes, by listening to her wonderful message there will be many, many souls... and with that, Purgatory stops being the unavoidable detour to Heaven!

Conclusion

St. Therese of the Child Jesus gave us a lot to think about. There are yet many new thoughts to be understood in terms of theology. For us, however, the most important, even existentially significant of everything she wrote is the message on Purgatory. The question of what happens to us after death should move us deeply. Let us just remember Sr. Febronia and her suffering in Purgatory; her silent message from the next world should move us. "It seemed," says Therese, "as if she wanted to say: If I had listened to you I would not be here now." This is actually shocking when you think about it. One has to admit that Sr. Febronia entered the next world through the wrong door. And with her, thousands and millions who would have managed to avoid Purgatory. And why did they not achieve this? The simple reason is that nobody showed them the correct way. Considering this, one does understand that Therese is a true gift to the Church. God gave her to us as leader and comforter for the apocalyptic days in which we very obviously live. Her message concerning Purgatory is a true grace of God' s merciful love for the moment of our death. One can apply the urgent exhortation of our LORD: "'He who has ears to hear. let him hear" (Lk. 8:8).

Father Dr. Hubert van Dijk, ORC

Dec 22nd 2013 new
Wait, Lynea AND Bernard are leaving? My two favorite people on this board!

Dang, what change this world presents.

Pax Domini Sit Semper Vobiscum
Dec 22nd 2013 new
(quote) Tom-956451 said: Wait, Lynea AND Bernard are leaving? My two favorite people on this board!

Dang, what change this world presents.

Pax Domini Sit Semper Vobiscum
I am here until Jan 21rst.I have too many Bills due come Jan 15th.Taxes,tuition and books for my two daughters in College.I'll be broke! smile wave
Dec 24th 2013 new

CDF prefect says SSPX in schism, suspended from sacraments

The leaders of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) are in schism, and remain suspended from the sacraments, says the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Archbishop Gerhard Mller said that although Pope Benedict XVI lifted the canonical excommunication of SSPX prelates, they remain suspended from the sacraments because by their schism they have broken away from communion with the Church.

Archbishop Mller said that while talks with the SSPX have reach an impasse, the Vatican will not close the door to reconciliation. However, he said, a restoration of full communion would require the SSPX to accept the authority of the Church and of the Pope.

Dec 24th 2013 new
(quote) Larry-994477 said: CDF prefect says SSPX in schism, suspended from sacraments

The leaders of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) are in schism, and remain suspended from the sacraments, says the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Archbishop Gerhard Mller said that although Pope Benedict XVI lifted the canonical excommunication of SSPX prelates, they remain suspended from the sacraments because by their schism they have broken away from communion with the Church.

Archbishop Mller said that while talks with the SSPX have reach an impasse, the Vatican will not close the door to reconciliation. However, he said, a restoration of full communion would require the SSPX to accept the authority of the Church and of the Pope.

Please keep in mind that the source of these comments is a newspaper interview, not a formal statement from the CDF. The Curia does not make official announcements announcements through the media, so this, as with the Holy Father's interviews, must be considered personal opinion only. Also consider that the original publication was in Italian, so there is a potential for misleading translation into English. [If we have any fluent Italian speakers who are willing to compare the Italian and English versions, I'd be interested in your observations.]

To my knowledge, neither the Holy Father not the CDF has ever made an official public declaration that the SSPX is in formal schism. The strongest statement I am aware of is Pope Benedict's 2009 declaration that the SSPX and its ministers do not exercise legitimate ministries. (tinyurl.com )

Either way, for our purposes the situation is the same: .we should not be receiving the sacraments from SSPX priests except in urgent situations; however, we need to be prudent in selecting our sources for information about the Faith (here by source I mean the channel by which the information was propagated, not the quoted source).




Dec 25th 2013 new
(quote) Cindy-534370 said: My last class in Morality, the priest who is very educated ... said everybody goes first to purgatory, the reason is they must first be purified, even the saintly ones. 
That's the part of Luke 23 that got cut for space, I guess.

42 And he was saying, "Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!" 43 And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be in [Purgatory, because not even I have the power to bring you to] Paradise with Me."

First note: We're talking about things that happen after death, and if Jesus discoursed on exactly what a soul should expect, that discussion wasn't recorded. So, please, let's everybody back away from being absolutely sure of anything. We're all getting our information second hand.

Second: Insistence on Purgatory strikes me as a restriction on a loving God, rather than an aspersion on our own sinful nature. By rights, none of us should be thinking about Purgatory, let alone Heaven. I am surprised that people think that the same Love that can free us from the chains of Hell is helpless against the necessity of Purgatory.
Dec 25th 2013 new
www.vatican.va

III. THE FINAL PURIFICATION, OR PURGATORY

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.

1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.606 The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:607

As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.608

1032 This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: "Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin."609 From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God.610 The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:

Let us help and commemorate them. If Job's sons were purified by their father's sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.611
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