Purgatory as Surrender

Purgatory as Surrender

Once, when I was teaching moral theology, a student who wasn’t Catholic asked me about purgatory.  I explained that, in this life, we retain numerous attachments to earthy goods and concerns, selfish wants, resentments, prideful aspirations that have little to do with our relationship with God.  We dread the approach of death because there’s too much in this world we aren’t prepared to leave behind if that’s what going to heaven requires.  It’s not that

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Purgatory Beyond the Images of Flames and Punishment

Purgatory Beyond the Images of Flames and Punishment

In the third installment in our series on purgatory, we examined the opinion that purgatory involves actual corporeal fire.  We saw that this odd-seeming view has some basis in a sound understanding of the relationship between the soul and the body, and that it concerns an undo attachment to merely material goods.  We saw, too, that this view is related to other models of purgatory.  In Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.  Jacob Marley is sentenced

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Is there Actual Fire in Purgatory?

Is there Actual Fire in Purgatory?

In Part 2 of my series on purgatory, I talked about St. Paul’s reference to the typology of fire in 1 Corinthians 3:10–15.  Over the centuries, many great theologians and doctors of the Church took this reference, and references to the fires of hell in the New Testament, in a literal, corporeal sense.  But how could that be?  How is it even possible for a soul to suffer from corporeal fire after it’s been separated

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St. Paul Talks About Purgatory in the New Testament

St. Paul Talks About Purgatory in the New Testament

In his First Letter to the Corinthians (3:10–15), St. Paul says that a Christian life can have its foundation only in Jesus Christ, but that on that foundation, the life we go on to live may be more or less worthy, as it’s constructed of works that conform more or less perfectly to Christ, or not at all. Much of what we do is unworthy of our Christian vocation and so, won’t survive judgment. Employing

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What Do Catholics Have to Believe About Purgatory?

What Do Catholics Have to Believe About Purgatory?

The doctrine of purgatory is often seen as a Roman accretion that’s distorted Christianity’s thesis that salvation is a free gift of grace by introducing the Pelagian idea that we have to earn our salvation.  That’s because, when people think about purgatory, they typically think of something like a medieval prison or dungeon, only worse.  Not only are there damp, black, stone walls with rats who run away with the few crumbs of bread we’re

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