What is purgatory? The Catholic Encyclopedia defines purgatory in this way:
“Purgatory (Lat., “purgare”, to make clean, to purify) in accordance with Catholic teaching is a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God’s grace, are, not entirely from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.” – The Catholic Encyclopedia
So not only do Catholics believe in an eternal hell and heaven, they believe in purgatory. If you are not good enough to go to heaven, but not bad enough to go to hell, you would go to purgatory. In purgatory, you can finish paying for your sins and eventually get into heaven. Their main proof of this is from this passage:
2 Macabees 7:43-46 - making a gathering […] sent twelve thousand drachmas of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection (For if he had not hoped that they were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead). And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.
2 Macabees is not apart of the official Bible. It is apart of the Apocrypha which is a group of books that has questionable authority. The official group of books in the Bible is called the Christian Biblical Cannon. The Catholic church and other denominations of Christianity have went through several variations of what books are in the Cannon and what books are in the Apocrypha. Today, most Christians use the King James Bible or a similar English translation which contains 66 books. Discussion of the history of the Bible is another topic on its own so I will not go any further. Anyway, this passage in 2 Macabees only states that we should pray and make sacrifices to the dead for their sins. Going from this to purgatory is a big jump. Catholics also use verses in the Bible such as Matthew 12:32 and 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 and twist them to fit their purgatory theory. The idea of the lake of fire being God’s purification and restitution is much more valid and believable.
Council of Trent
The Council of Trent consisted of a group that met in twenty-five sessions between December 13, 1545 and December 4, 1563. Their goal was to establish Catholic beliefs including Scripture, Original Sin, Justification, the Sacraments, Mass, and the veneration of saints. One main reason for this was to answer Protestant disputes. Note that every Christian denomination including Protestants have variations of beliefs that do not agree with the pure form of Christianity as set by Jesus Christ. However, I do not want to get into that right now. So the Council released various decrees and affirmations on the official beliefs. These included affirming the sacraments, purgatory, and using Jerome’s Latin Vulgate as the authoritative text of Scripture.
Catholic Church Today
In 2005, the Roman Catholic Church released a document called The Gift of Scripture. Here are a few quotes from it:
“We should not expect to find in Scripture full scientific accuracy or complete historical precision” – The Gift of Scripture
“Such symbolic language must be respected for what it is, and not to be interpreted literally. We should not expect to discover in this book details about the end of the world, about how many will be saved and about when the end will come.” – The Gift of Scripture
This document completely negates everything that Catholicism has stood for over its entire history. Catholicism used to pride itself on knowing the conditions for salvation and the validity of the Bible. Now they are saying that both should not be considered fact. From everything we have discussed, it can be concluded that the Roman Catholic Church is simply a means of obtaining power over its people. Their story is very inconsistent from century to century. To those of you that are non-Christians, you might be thinking, if I can’t trust the Roman Catholic Church, how can I trust Christianity at all? I would encourage you to read my other articles and decide for yourself the truth about Christianity. Although today’s churches and practices might be inconsistent, the Bible itself is consistent from beginning to end.
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