Talk:Purgatory/Archive 1

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EOC and Purgatory[edit]

Everything in this paragraph is true, and supported with a citation in the case of the EO; please don't remove the citation. The EO have the beliefs described here. Below, I also demonstrate and substantiate with links that the EO do feel at odds with the term Purgatory.

Thank you Tom. The EO and RCC have very similar beliefs and practices. They both take great support from 2 Mc, and they both have beautiful liturgies addressing what each considers to be the spiritual needs of the dead. That is the truth of 'traditional christian spirituality'. Where they differ relates to the divide, so there should be a link there about that, and where they are similar we can provide some evidence: hence the Bible link and the link to the EO description of how they pray for the dead. Meanwhile, the EO voice some disapproval of RCC points of theology, and a reader of the encyclopedia should see that fact, so below, I have found some helpful links, both exploring the differences and how some people think that after all they have much in common. I found all those links myself, and was only too glad to include them in the entry. 21:08, 19 May 2004 (UTC)

The Orthodox Church rejects Purgatory as a specific error of post-Schism Rome. We accept the validity of prayer for the dead, but the full-blown "Purgatory" idea is not part of Orthodox doctrine. We also reject the associated "transferable merit of the saints" and "plenary indulgences". It is quite telling that the only links shown that claim that the Orthodox and Rome have the same doctrine come from a web site specifically devoted to Roman Catholic proselytism. Dogface 16:41, 7 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I'll note, Dogface, that you did not post any documentation to support your claims. All you did was post an ad hominem attack against authors of Catholic proselytic material.

Organizing Afterlife Articles[edit]

I would like to organize the articles that deal with an otherworld as a real existence. I propose that Afterlife would be the best hub for such articles. Eschatology and Underworld are other possibilities, but I don't think they work as well as Afterlife. Any thoughts on such a project? Please come to Talk:Afterlife to discuss. Tom (hawstom) 14:42, 6 May 2004 (UTC)

The "otherworld as a 'real experiernce'" has to be couched within its framework if it is to be neutral: "In Scientology..." "In the Occult..." "In Celtic mythology..." etc etc. Wikipedia does not treat paranormal experiences or promises as facts. --Wetman 01:32, 11 September 2005 (UTC)
The Eastern Orthodox position on "Purgatory" is still not fully presented in the present RC-oriented article. Can we get a better section? --Wetman 01:32, 11 September 2005 (UTC)
I've tried to improve it based on what I found. Initially I just changed it to them rejecting it, but it seems more complicated then that. The Ecumenical Patriarchate's site does indicate strict rejection. The "sleeping in the Lord" does not allow for any betterment or forgiveness after death. The souls may get a "foretaste" of whether they'll be damned or saved on Judgement day, but there is no purification. (Hence it is not in any sense like Purgatory) However other Orthodox thinkers or sites indicated a lack of unaniminty. They all reject indulgences or the equation of the condition with fire. However certain articles from Orthodox history indicate acceptance of a (place, condition, other?) where some sins can be forgiven after death. However this place does not require a special name and merely lacks light or the presence of God. To be honest being a post-Vatican II Catholic I didn't really think Purgatory had to be a place of literal fire, but apparently the issue of purgatorial fire was one of the biggest arguments the two camps had at the Council of Florence. Also the Orthodox felt the lines from Corinthians didn't justify any middle place or Purgatory. The statement about surviving the fire they stated, somewhat justly even I'll concede, meant that the soul is not obliterated by the fires of Hell. Anyway although I'm RCC I hope I moderated it's "there's no real difference" stance in least somewhat.--T. Anthony 08:29, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

Organizing Afterlife Articles[edit]

I would like to organize the articles that deal with an otherworld as a real existence. I propose that Afterlife would be the best hub for such articles. Eschatology and Underworld are other possibilities, but I don't think they work as well as Afterlife. Any thoughts on such a project? Please come to Talk:Afterlife to discuss. Tom (hawstom) 14:42, 6 May 2004 (UTC)

The "otherworld as a 'real experiernce'" has to be couched within its framework if it is to be neutral: "In Scientology..." "In the Occult..." "In Celtic mythology..." etc etc. Wikipedia does not treat paranormal experiences or promises as facts. --Wetman 01:32, 11 September 2005 (UTC)

Use of place in the article[edit]

I submit that the Purgatory of Roman Catholic doctrine is not necessarily a place, but it is definitely a process. Simply put, if one dies with sin, one cannot enter heaven, which is perfect. The cleansing process is called purgatory. The Catholic teaching on purgatory is made explicit here: It asserts only that a purification is necessary to enter heaven, this purification is painful or uncomfortable, and that appeals to God by the living will assist a person undergoing purification.

Trweiss 05:47, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Additional Comments[edit]

Let me chime in here real quick like. I have been Catholic all of my life, and have been taught the doctorin of Purgatory. As a child I believed what I was taught but since I have matured, I have to say I do not believe there is a Purgatory. If you read the Bible, the prophets of the old testement, Jesus Christ and His apostals in the new testement preached about heaven and hell. Heaven is refered to in the Bible 559 times, and Jesus refered to hell more than He did heaven. I don't recall Purgatory being mentioned in the Bible at all, not once! If you read Luke's account of the crucfiction, Jesus tells one of the thieves this " I tell you this, today(today) you will be with me in Paradise". No mention of Purgatory, after all he was a thieve and I am sure he had not repented all of his sins. Just a thought. MEG

Just a brief note. I am a Lutheran, and I've never been expressely forbidden to pray for the souls of the dead. It may be advisable to reword that sentence in the article. ~sjw

Regardless, your personal POV is not the point. The belief is required of Catholics.[1] It is indeed biblical. Dominick (TALK) 22:17, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
But what biblical passage can you cite? I saw a catechism there. Meaning it is indeed required by Catholics, but not necessarily strictly biblical. The Catholic Encyclopedia gives some passages, which to me seem to have been interpreted a tad bit (whether they be 'correctly' or 'incorrectly' interpreted; however, is not my concern - I leave such debates of doctrine to interdenominational Christian discourse). In any case, I always get a certain satisfaction that any references to Zoroastrianism are deafeningly quiet in such material (purgatory, prayers for the dead, etc.), although it is likely IMO that purgatory came through Manichæism, rather than directly from the Babylonian Exile, as Hell did. Gratia vobiscum. Khiradtalk 05:19, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

RC "clarified" doctrine[edit]

In the Roman Church, no doctrine is ever presented, promulgated, initiated or developed— it is only "clarified", as the usage in this article has been. We all understand the verbal maneuver here, but Wikipedia cannot present doctrines as always "clarified" as it would if it were an organ of the Roman Church. --Wetman 01:32, 11 September 2005 (UTC)

"Purgatories" outside Judeo-Christianity[edit]

There are a few other concepts similar to Purgatory in faiths not all that related to Catholicsm. For example in Islam there is Barzakh and the Fijian Murimuria is sometimes interpreted as related. There might also be some schools of Buddhism with a vaguely similar idea. Should these get a mention or are they way too different?--T. Anthony 09:57, 6 October 2005 (UTC)

No they are not too different. Infact the Zoroastrian one (kudos to whomever included it) is the oldest (western) version, and as with many other elements of Christianity, too freakishly similar to have been mere coincidence IMO. Although I'm not sure what relevence the accusation of 'nefarious purposes' cited holds in this context. Also see: Hindu Svarga. Khiradtalk 03:20, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
The idea it's "nefarious" comes from the idea Purgatory itself is about increasing Papal power and gaining money through the selling of indulgences. I personally see Purgatory as a very noble thing, but the idea it's a "swindle" is kind of a big part of many conservative Protestantism and also accepted by some atheists. I think I was the one who added hamistagan, but I'm not certain. Zoroastrianism fascinates me as I agree it's quite similar to pre-Reformation Christianity. I think I might interpret the "why" of that different, but who knows?--T. Anthony 11:01, 21 January 2006 (UTC)


This article could very well be a Featured Article! All it needs is a cleanup and the we could put it up on the FA list. pkazz 12:42, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

still taught?[edit]

i heard that the Catholic Church decided recently that Purgatory doesnt exist. is that true?

No, it's not true. A plenary indulgence was declared just last December and involves Purgatory.[2] I've seen preachers say we're going to abandon it for years now, but they're just engaging in "wishful-thinking." (From their religious perspective as they believe Catholics should be embarrassed by a belief in Purgatory) Purgatory is affirmed by the Council of Trent and other dogmatic defining events. The Catholic Church can't decide "it doesn't exist" anymore than it can abandon the intercession of saints or transsubstantiation. It may further explain or clarify what Purgatory means, but that's about it.--T. Anthony 09:50, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps you're thinking of "Limbo", which was theological conjecture. Purgatory is a doctrine of the faith and will never be "not taught." -- Paul


I wrote that purgatory comes partially from Plato's philosophy, and someone asked for my source but i dont kno how to get back to that talk page. i cant find my original source but i did find it in another source: -under the subtitle, pagan sources for purgatory- "The works of Plato from the fourth century B.C. have been a strong influence on subsequent religious beliefs including those of the Pharisees. In Jesus' day, Greek culture was popular, making the ideas of Plato attractive to people who wanted to be considered well educated... "Tartarus has rivers for various purposes such as the River Styx. Souls who are not especially good or bad are purified for a year and released. Very bad, "incurable" ones remain forever. Those who are not so bad can ask those they wronged for forgiveness and, if it is granted, be released. (Notice who thus becomes their savior.)"

There are probably other sources that explain it better, but this is one. At the time of Jesus, judaism was mixing with zoroastrian influence, which had some greek philosophy in it. There are definitely striking similarities between Christianity and Platonism, purgatory being just one. but if someone doesnt want Plato in the article, i don't care. (Unsigned by

That article uses Wikipedia as one of its sources, and declares itself early on as being intentionally written with a specific point of view, so it's not a good source on both those counts. Tycon.jpgCoyoty 19:16, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

ah, i see that now, my mistake. i'll see if i can find my original source.

See Plato's Myth of Er in which the good are rewarded in the heavens and the bad are punished in the underworld before being reincarnated. Jonathan Tweet 15:18, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

Confusing Passage[edit]

Catholics equate being "born again" with Baptism, and see salvation in terms of Jesus having appeased God on our behalf rather than seeing it in judicial terms. Their response to Protestants is to ask how -- if Jesus paid for all sins in a judicial manner rather than in a propitiatory manner -- God could send anyone to Hell since doing so would require Him to punish twice for the same sins.

I found this passage confusing. What does "propitiatory" vs. "juridical" mean in this context? Do protestants equate "born again" with Baptism? If they do, then the article should say so. If not, then any such equation would be merely a misunderstanding, and they rest would not follow. Lastly, why would damnation be double punishment, and even if true, why would this be a problem? Lostcaesar 15:30, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure about the subtle differences between those two words, but like many other things, there is no single viewpoint on how one is "born again" in the Protestant denominations. Some believe that baptism is necessary for salvation, while others believe that accepting Christ should not require any ritual. The double punishment is referring to the fact that the sins being punished in hell are the same ones that Jesus received punishment for on the Cross...though I'm not sure how Catholic theology avoids this. In any case, this passage (and much of the rest of the article) smells like original research.Miraculouschaos 23:56, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Substantial overhaul[edit]

The article I thought was in need of a reorganizing and clarification of some points. Its format was choppy, with multiple renderings of the Catholic doctrine, various sections where history was discusses, a back-and-forth protestant vs catholic section, and even some contradictory material. I hope this work helps the page in the future. Lostcaesar 22:07, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Great Job Lostcaesar Ag2003 12:06, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

NPOV: Douay-rheims translation[edit]

This is just one version of the Bible. If we're going to reference one Bible, it might as well warn the reader that the version given is the Bible used only by Roman Catholics and not Protestants. -- 19:25, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Do you mean it's a Catholic translation? Protestants have used the Douay-Rheims version. Goldfritha 23:06, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

I'm lost, could you point out where the translation in question is being used, and how that is pov vs other translations, please. Lostcaesar 09:17, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
I think it'd be better to not link it to one certain translation. Instead just leave it without external links and let the reader look up the passages with their own Bible. Just my opinion. If there's still no problem, then use the translation. -- 05:08, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
Sounds fine to me, though some of the links are not in every translation. Lostcaesar 11:06, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Prayers for the Dead[edit]

This article treats prayers for the dead as indicating a belief in a Purgatory of some sort, but look at this quote:

"A woman, after the death of her husband . . . prays for his soul and asks that he may, while waiting, find rest; and that he may share in the first resurrection."

If dead husband were in Purgatory, the woman would be praying that he ascend quickly to Heaven. Instead, his hope lies in the Resurrection. This quote is compatible with the idea that the dead are still awaiting their judgment (soul sleep) rather than being judged immediately after death. Off hand, I can't think of a clean way to offer this interpretation, except maybe an appended section about "soul sleep" and how its adherents interpret early Christian prayers for the dead. Jonathan Tweet 15:24, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

Well, what is relevant is whether Tertullian advocated soul sleep or not. I dont think he did, and that is what you would need to make that interpretation, but im not a Tertullian expert. Lostcaesar 17:37, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
The quote still doesn't refer to Purgatory, either to purifying pain or to one reaching Heaven before the Resurrection. That this reference and other references are being used to back up the concept of Purgatory existing early in the Church is only half the story. In fact, this quote could be used to demonstrate that the concept of Purgatory, as expounded in 1254, didn't exist in the early Church (and by extension that prayers for the dead are not proof of a belief in Purgatory). Jonathan Tweet 18:17, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
The quote shows that prayers for the dead have an effect on the soul of another after death, and that only makes sense in the context of purgatory. The doctrine as expressed in 1254 is obviously more developed that it was in the third century. That, however, does not directly apply to the point in question. The rudamentary notion of purgatory is expressed in the quote by Tertullian. Furthermore, its claim to the efficacy of prayers for the dead is a direct contrast to the claims of the reformers. Lostcaesar 19:57, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
Also, read carefully, the article only claims that Tertullian (and another) are talking about prayers for the dead. Other authors are given in reference to purgatory, but Tertullian's comment is already percisely worded to inculde your concerns. Lostcaesar 19:59, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
"The quote shows that prayers for the dead have an effect on the soul of another after death, and that only makes sense in the context of purgatory." Purgatory is one explanation for why prayers for the dead would be effective, but not the only one. The quote in 2 Maccabees shows that praying for the dead is effective but not at relieving suffering in Purgatory, but rather at improving the standing of the dead on Judgment Day. In fact, Tertullian's quote is more in line with the quote from 2 Maccabees than with Purgatory. Jonathan Tweet 19:45, 24 September 2006 (UTC)
All the article claims about the Tertullian quote is as a reference to the antiquity of prayers for the dead. 21:59, 24 September 2006 (UTC); signed w/o name, Lostcaesar 21:59, 24 September 2006 (UTC)
Let me add also that I think you are misreading the article's presentation of purgatory. Please look at how the teaching is defined, with references. Lostcaesar 22:02, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

As for references to prayers for the dead in Perpetua and Thecla, the account of Thecla never mentions suffering of the dead who will be prayed for. "Mother, let the young woman Thecla be reputed by you as your daughter in my place, and ask her to pray for me, that I may be translated to a state of happiness." It doesn't say "out of a state of punishment." Furthermore, both accounts are prayers for non-Christians, so neither one fits the doctrine of purgatory. You want to mention suffering, I want to mention that these prayers are for non-Christians. Maybe we can compromise. We could say that these accounts depict "prayers for the dead that translate unbaptized souls to states of happiness." In fact, evven though Thecla doesn't refer to suffering, I'll let that slide in a spirit of compromise. How about: "Similarly, the Acts of Paul and Thecla (160) and the Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity (202) depict prayers for the unbaptized dead that translate their souls from suffering to a state of happiness." How about that? Jonathan Tweet 16:12, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

I think our only duty here, in this instance, is to accuratly represent the sources. I'll examine them in full in due time and give my opinion after that. But to speak personally, aside from the specifics of the sources, I want to express the ancient view that Christians pray for the dead to improve the state of another in the hereafter, which is the core of purgatory. Lostcaesar 19:02, 30 September 2006 (UTC)
I added ref's and put in a quote to better express the sources. I will say that the Acts of Thecla says nothing about Falconilla, who was the dead being prayed for, as being unbaptized. Both Trifina her mother and Thecla (the prayer) are mentioned as unbaptized, but not Falconilla. Lostcaesar 07:39, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

This sentence is POV: "Many ancient authors wrote concerning various ways of purification after death and the communion of the living with the dead through prayer." By treating prayer for the dead as hand-in-hand with purification after death, this article takes the RC view on prayer for the dead and not the EOC view. The EOC have prayer for the dead but no purgatory. Prayer for the dead is its own page. This is the purgatory page. Prayer for the dead is well-documented and doesn't need to be backed up by sources on the purgatory page. I don't know which of the references refer to prayer for the dead (belong elsewhere, or at least segregated) and which refer to purification. Jonathan Tweet 07:09, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

The source is a dictionary of theological / doctrinal terms. The text is from the entry on purgatory. It says "Greek authors like [examples] and Latin authors like [examples] wrote in various ways of purification after death and our comunion through prayer with our dead departed". Purgatory is purification. If you says "the dead may be purified" then you have said a statement about purgatory. The authors in question say, according to the source(s), that the dead may be purified and prayer is involved. The authors coupled purification of the dead and prayer for the dead, so we are right to say as much. As yet I do not think we have a very solid source on EoC belief, but it doesnt seem relevant here. Lostcaesar 09:20, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
[3] Is this the source? A book written by Jesuits for Roman Catholic students with no scholarly bibliography? This is the source for this information? People rag on the Jesus Seminar for being below scholarly standards. That said, I have come to be convinced that a lot more material that sounds like purgatory is found in the early church than I thought. Let me take a shot. Jonathan Tweet 16:46, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
It's not so much the idea of purification after death that's a problem for the Orthodox -- of course we believe in it; otherwise there'd be little point in praying for the departed. It's the underlying doctrine, that "satisfaction" must still be forthcoming for sins that have been repented of, confessed, and absolved. At Florence there was also strong objection to the "purgatorial fire", to which there still is, even in the attenuated form of it set forth at Trent. The Orthodox believe rather that the dead are purified through prayers, the Eucharist, and by good works offered on their behalf. And neither do we believe that the righteous departed experience the full blessedness that will be given them until after the general resurrection when souls are reunited with bodies. See [4] which presents the EO position as clearly as might be, as expressed by St. Mark of Ephesus. TCC (talk) (contribs) 00:52, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
Does the concept of theosis figure into this? It looks to me as though the EOC emphasizes purification and ascent while the RC emphasizes punishment and castigation. Both traditions see people rising in spiritual status, but it's more mystic and glorious in the EOC, more legalistic and punitive in the RC. Jonathan Tweet 04:25, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
That summarizes it well IMO, but no doubt a Roman Catholic would see it differently. TCC (talk) (contribs) 10:05, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. Would you want to say anything specific about theosis? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Jonathan Tweet (talkcontribs) 16:32, 24 February 2007 (UTC).
I'll have a look at it, but my gut feeling is that it would be OT for this article to talk about it much. It's less the process of purification and more its end, the union with God resulting from a life in Christ and is approached more from an ascetic viewpoint than in consideration of the afterlife. TCC (talk) (contribs) 23:05, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Scripture Verses[edit]

I'd like to collect the verses that are cited as supporting the idea of Purgatory. I figure I could put them at the bottom in the "notes" section or something so that they don't bulk up the article. Anyway, with the verses quoted here, curious students of the issue could review the verses for themselves. Jonathan Tweet 15:50, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

Previously, the verses were linked using the standard wikipedia process, and I think this was best. However, someone did not like this, because he said the links (which were to the DR Bible) were pov, basically because he did not like the translation. Thus, I de-linked the quotes to solve this complaint. Now that we have quoted the passages in full, in references, we are back to the same matter of translation. This does not bother me. I noticed, when I added a reference to one passage, that you changed the translation. I don't know why, but like I said, I dont particurlarly want to get into a "proper translation" question. If someone wants to look it up in another translation he can, if he wants to learn Greek or Latin or Syriac or whatever then great. But I would suspect that someone will, sooner or later, come here and dispute the qutations. So, I bring this up to get your thoughts. Lostcaesar 19:08, 30 September 2006 (UTC)
I did change a notation from one translation to another. The quotation had words missing for some reason. I replaced it not to change the translation but to provide one that didn't have words missing. This is the translation that I replaced: "And so betaking themselves to prayers, they besought him, that the sin which had been committed might be forgotten. But the most valiant Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves from sin, forasmuch as they saw before their eyes what had happened, because of the sins of those that were slain. And making a gathering, he twelve thousand drachms 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 the that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead,) And because he considered that the who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them." I understand that there's a system for sending people to a list of translation options, but it's a lot more convenient to have all the quotes in one place so that someone can simply read them all together. Jonathan Tweet 19:32, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

I put these texts in the notes because that way it's easier for the reader to read the verses and decide whether the verses have anything to do with purgatory. Someone removed them from the notes, so now it's harder for the reader to cut to the chase and see for themselves what these verses are all about. Since the quotes are gone, let's scrutinize these quotes a little more carefullly.

2Maccabees 12:38-46 "and they turned to prayer, beseeching that the sin which had been committed might be wholly blotted out. And the noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin." No clear indication that those being prayed for are in any current conscious state. Probably they are suffering currently, but it's not in the text. Also, not in the Hebrew Bible or some Christian Bibles.

Matthew 5:25-26 "Reach agreement quickly with your accuser while on the way to court, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the warden, and you will be thrown into prison. I tell you the truth, you will never get out of there until you have paid the last penny." Here it is! It's a pretty clear reference to being in prison until you yourself have paid your debt. It's metaphorical but believable. Is the debt paid in this life, in purgatory, in sheol, or on judgment day? Everyone's got an opinion.

Luke 12:58-59 "As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled to him on the way, or he may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny." And here it is again.

1Corinthians 3:13-15 "By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames." Here apparently are the saved suffering, so that's related to purgatory. But it takes place on judgment day, not between death and going to heaven, so it's still not purgatory.

Daniel 12:10 "Many shall purify themselves, and make themselves white, and be refined; but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand; but those who are wise shall understand." a reference to self-purification, which is the opposite of purgatory, in which the blood of Jesus purifies you.

Zechariah 13:9 "It shall happen that in all the land," says Yahweh, "two parts in it will be cut off and die; but the third will be left in it. I will bring the third part into the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will test them like gold is tested. They will call on my name, and I will hear them. I will say,'It is my people;' and they will say,'Yahweh is my God.'" Definitely not purgatory, as this is a reference to the top third, not the middle third. Makes perfect sense as something taking place entirely in this life, no reference to an afterlife.

Malachi 3:2-3: "Who can endure the day of his coming? Who can keep standing when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire, like a launderer’s soap. He will act like a refiner and purifier of silver and will cleanse the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then they will offer the Lord a proper offering. The offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in former times and years past." Purification of the priests, not of the saved, on some day in the future, not after you die.

Luke 12:47-48 "That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." Does seem to be about Christians being beaten more or beaten less by God.

2Timothy 1:16-18: "May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus." Prayer for the dead, but mercy is not needed until "that day," so a reference to judgment day, not afterlife. Not purgatory.

Revelation 21:27 "Nothing impure will ever enter it (the new Jerusalem), nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life." No indication of an afterlife purification through suffering punishment.

Hebrews 12:23: "to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect," No indication that they are made perfect by suffering temporal punishments, after death, before entering heaven, before judgment day.

So do these verses indicate that the authors believed in or even had a concept of purgatory? No. Here's what this section should say:

Various Bible verses are related to certain elements of purgatory, such as buying atonement for the dead (2Maccabees 12:38-46); the saved being punished or suffering temporarily (Matthew 5:25-26, Luke 12:47-48, Luke 12:58-59); temporary suffering of the elect on judgment day (1Corinthians 3:13-15); and perfection, purification, or purity of the elect (Daniel 12:10, Malachi 3:2-3, Hebrews 12:23, Revelation 21:27). Jonathan Tweet 05:43, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

All the user has to do is click on the link to go to the text. With the current link, the user can read whatever translation he likes. It is the standard way that wikipedia uses biblical verse notation. All the section says is that those passages are cited in support, not whether they really do support the doctrine, and even explicity says: "The extent to which these passages refer to a state of purgation remains subject to interpretation." That sounds like the right thing to do for me. Lostcaesar 07:29, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
First, some verses are taken out of context (Zechariah). Second, it takes more than a click to see the text (click, scroll, click, back, back for each text). Third, for the reader who doesn't make that effort, these do look for all the world like actual scriptural support for purgatory, especially because there's no contrary section: Bible verses that would seem at face value to contradict purgatory. If these verses only mean purgatory to people who have faith that they do, then the whole selection could be replaced with "Roman Catholics have faith that several Bible verses actually refer to purgatory." Let's give the reader more information. I want to give the reader as much clear information about the history of purgatory as possible. Jonathan Tweet 14:36, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

A quote which doesn't appear in the above list, but which may be of relevance, is Job 14:13-17. 'Oh that thou wouldest hide me in Sheol, that thou wouldest conceal me until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time and remember me! If a man die shall he live again? All the days of my service I would wait, till my release should come. Thou wouldest call, and I would answer thee; thou wouldest long for the work of thy hands. For then thou wouldest number my steps, though wouldest not keep watch over my sin; my transgression would be sealed up in a bag, and thou wouldest cover over my iniquity.' Whilst this is not an explicit statement of purgatory, it is a poetic longing for something very like it (ie. a place where one waits, after death, until sin is removed and one returns to God's presence). As such it strikes me as an interesting waymark on the development of thought about the afterlife. 22:10, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

It's only of relevance if some source on the subject cites it. The purpose here is to list those verses that are actually used to support the doctrine, not those that might seem to us to support it. Otherwise we're both engaging in original research and run the risk of engaging in advocacy for it, which we may not do no matter what we think of it. TCC (talk) (contribs) 04:47, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

early Christian writings[edit]

"The essential concept of purgatory was referred to by Clement of Alexandria (202),[15] Cyprian of Carthage (253),[16] Lactantius (307), Cyril of Jerusalem (350),[17] Gregory of Nyssa (382),[18] St. John Chrysostom (392),[19] and St. Augustine (411),[20] among others." Could someone (Lostcaesar I'm thinking of you) provide us with at least one quote from one of these guys that spells out the essential concept of purgatory? My tentative conclusion is that none of these guys ever stated a belief that actually matches the current doctrine. Yes, they might have prayed for the dead, and yes, the dead might be in a state of current suffering that can be alleviated through prayer. But this is the purgatory article, not the prayers for the dead article. Without quotes or links, the reader has no way to assess the validity of this statement. Jonathan Tweet 14:44, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Fair enough JT. Let me say a couple things to sketch out the problem. First, I did not add those references, at least I don't remember doing so; instead I believe they predate my interest here. I say that just for whatever it is worth. I too want to make sure that the article gets the sources right. The second point is that the article defines purgatory, in its Catholic form, as follows:

those who die in a state of grace undergo a purification in order to achieve the holiness necessary to enter heaven… the souls in purgatory undergo temporal punishment due to venial sins or as satisfaction due to their transgressions, and that they can be aided by the prayer and sufferings of the faithful and the Sacrifice of the Mass.

Notice also that the article does not discuss only the Catholic doctrine (though it primarily does, I concede). Thus your statement is confusing to me:

…none of these guys ever stated a belief that actually matches the current doctrine. Yes, they might have prayed for the dead, and yes, the dead might be in a state of current suffering that can be alleviated through prayer. But this is the purgatory article…

JT, what you just described is purgatory. Or at the very least it is the "essential concept of purgatory", which is what the lead sentence says the quotes represent. Perhaps you could explain to me what you think the essence of the doctrine is, and how you think it differs from what you just described. Lostcaesar 16:25, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Your stay in purgatory ends when your sins are paid for. Then you go to heaven. Saints go straight to heaven without going through purgatory. Isn't that Catholic doctrine? Honestly, I sometimes think I know something when I don't, so if I'm wrong, let me know. Anyway, in early Christian belief, your stay in the grave ended on Judgment Day. Nobody went straight to heaven. Your wait in the grave could be more or less comfortable. You could pray that someone's stay in the grave be more comfortable ("rest in peace"). That's not purgatory as defined by the Catholic Church. The discomfort is not defined as "purging" sins. The early Christian view, the bosom of Abraham has a lot more to do with barzakh than with purgatory. Maybe the problem is what is defined as "essential" to purgatory. To me, if the punishment doesn't purge sins, it's not purgatory. Jonathan Tweet 22:47, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
Your paraphrase of Catholic doctrine sounds right to me. As for your characterization of early Christian belief, that sounds to me like "sould sleep". I don't know much about this notion, so you would have to ask an expert. Lostcaesar 23:43, 1 October 2006 (UTC) (note: so your difficulty is specifically on the belief that sins are expiated after death?)
Before I started doing all this research to work on the purgatory page and related pages, I thought it was soul sleep. But there are enough references to the soul being conscious while it awaits judgment day that I don't think it's soul sleep exactly. I think it's waiting in the grave for judgment day with more more or less comfort and more or less punishment. It's a lot like barzakh. My difficulty is two parts: that purgatory portrays suffering as "purging" sins (and early references do not), and that each person's term in purgatory is different in length (whereas in early references everyone waits until judgment day). Yes, early Christians prayed for the dead. No, they did not pray to have the purging punishments of the dead lightened so that the dead could proceed to heaven before judgment day. The quote from Pope Gregory I introduces the concept of purging fire, but this purging comes not before the individual soul can enter heaven but instead "before the Final Judgment." Anyway, that's the sense I get out of the original texts. Maybe instead of talking about whether these writing depict the "essential concept" of purgatory (whatever that means) we should spell out what these writings depict (praying for the dead who might or might not be baptized and who are waiting for judgment day). Jonathan Tweet 02:56, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
JT, I have been able to read through only a couple of the documents in question so far. Let me say that I think there is need of revision of the way the article treats the source material. We are in the difficult area of interpreting documents, and the side consequence of original research. I will say that the current phrasing, though too general, does not appear to be wrong. I suppose my point is that we need to give this attention, but in the mean time I don't think a serious problem exists with the current text. As to your point, I think that moves into the difficult area of eschatology. The understanding of the escaton is complex from its origin in the Bible. At times the language used is that of sleep and awaiting the second judgement. Then, at times, the saints will be shown doing things, and the particular judgement will be discussed. I would guess that this does not get totally sorted out, and expressed in the logicality of a doctrinal statement until the minds of the fourth century - but that is a guess. As to your final point, I am not aware of the significance of baptism in this context, i.e. I do not see prayers in any way limited to the unbaptized. Do you have a particular source for this? Lostcaesar 12:22, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Sorry. Tired of all the colons. How about this for now? We change the opening line to something weasely like "Catholics point to the essential concept of purgatory in the writings of. . ." That way, we're not taking a stand one way or another. What do you think? Jonathan Tweet 03:01, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

Yeah that sounds like a good idea. Lostcaesar 08:32, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

LC, above, you say that this is the essential concept of purgatory: "Yes, they might have prayed for the dead, and yes, the dead might be in a state of current suffering that can be alleviated through prayer. " If that's what's meant in this article by "the essential concept of purgatory, " then I want to spell it out so that the reader knows what the article means when it says "essential concept of purgatory." Jonathan Tweet 14:46, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Clement's quote. It says that those in possession of gnosis are superior to those who merely have faith, and that those who have only faith ("the believer") suffers inner torments: shame, seeing others having that which they themselves lack. But what is the great and permanent grief, and what is "the other fold"? : "Now to know is more than to believe, as to be dignified with the highest honour after being saved is a greater thing than being saved. Accordingly the believer, through great discipline, divesting himself of the passions, passes to the mansion which is better than the former one, viz., to the greatest torment, taking with him the characteristic of repentance from the sins he has committed after baptism. He is tortured then still more -- not yet or not quite attaining what he sees others to have acquired. Besides, he is also ashamed of his transgressions. The greatest torments, indeed, are assigned to the believer. For God's righteousness is good, and His goodness is righteous. And though the punishments cease in the course of the completion of the expiation and purification of each one, yet those have very great and permanent grief who are found worthy of the other fold, on account of not being along with those that have been glorified through righteousness" Jonathan Tweet 16:24, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Recent Addition[edit]

JT, I want to talk about your recent addition, titled "Academic view". First, let me say that I think there is a way to express this point of view in the article. That said, I think this first start is very rough. It only has one citation, that of what seems to be an argumentative essay by James Tabor. Yet it claims to be characterizing all of academia. I don't think the one reference supports this. We could perhaps say "Tabor's analysis" or something like that, and replace phrases like "in secular estimation" with "in Tabor's estimation". Also it contains this sentence: " Later parts of the Bible describe a belief in resurrection on Judgment Day, the bosom of Abraham where the righteous await Judgment Day in comfort (not in purifying punishment), and Gehenna where the wicked are punished." That sounds like original research – does Tabor say it? The Bible contains a discourse of the afterlife were the dead see the bosom of Abraham but are prevented from getting there and instead reside in an unfortunate place, though apparently not Gehenna. My point is simply that I don't think this statement is anything but original research since it doesn't take into account this section. Sure, it can be interpreted differently, but to say that there is no mention of this (or particular judgement) just doesn’t sound right. Because I think there is a right way to include this view I have left the text in for the time being, but I think we need some improvement here, especially in terms of specificity and references. Lostcaesar 07:02, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

If I may chip in, I'm not entirely happy with the way the section is phrased either. The reality is, of course, that Purgatory qua Purgatory, is a is an early mediaeval theological construct, in an effort to unify some data and resolve what appeared to be some loose ends in Christian Eschatology. The same loose ends were tied up in other ways elsewhere in the Eastern Churches, of course, but the Tridentine understanding of the concept is essentially a Mediaeval invention (and I don't mean fiction). That is no secret at all; any scholarly history of the subject will confirm it. Still, the section could be worded better, so it doesn't look like the RCs invented it out of thin air. --InfernoXV 10:00, 5 October 2006 (UTC)
I consider the section a work in progress. On one hand, I don't want to go overboard. I want to sketch the academic view, but I don't want to belabor it. I'm open to suggestions. These views are not Tabor's alone, and they represent (as near as I can tell) the common views of secular religious historians (e.g., Stephen Harris, who wrote the textbook I studied from in college) and even liberal Christians (e.g., Harry Emerson Fosdick). If someone wants to rewrite the section to say something narrower, that's fine. It just means I'll need to go fetch more references to expand it again. Jonathan Tweet 14:55, 5 October 2006 (UTC)
JT, I think your contributions are a good addition, and that you are going in the right direction. I understand that this is a work in progress. I am trying to point out areas for improvement, without getting in your way. I think inferno's point, which I agree with, is that the doctrine developed over time, and what is important is to sketch that development to some extent, though obviously we will be dealing with a good deal of interpretation, and we will have to return to this notion of just what is essential to the concept of purgatory. One thing that I am concerned over, however, is that you seem to associate secularism with scholarship. There is no requirement for a scholar to be secular, and there is no reason to think that a secular scholar is, by merit of that fact alone, any better at examining the material in question. So I think you need to decide if you are sketching scholarly views, or the secular view. Obviously the former is a lot more interesting. Lostcaesar 15:20, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

Inferno, you say "The reality is, of course, that Purgatory qua Purgatory, is a is an early mediaeval theological construct, in an effort to unify some data and resolve what appeared to be some loose ends in Christian Eschatology. The same loose ends were tied up in other ways elsewhere in the Eastern Churches, of course, but the Tridentine understanding of the concept is essentially a Mediaeval invention (and I don't mean fiction). That is no secret at all; any scholarly history of the subject will confirm it." Could we state this in the article somewhere? The current article doesn't come out and say that purgatory qua purgatory is an early medieval theological construct. If this reality is generally understood, it should go in the general description of the history of purgatory rather than segregated in a section devoted to a partticular view. Jonathan Tweet 17:11, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

State it only with references. Goldfritha 18:54, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
I think what would be good would be a nice quote about the development of the doctrine in antiquity, say 200-600. Lostcaesar 20:02, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
LC, two things. First, do you have a different version of what you would write for "academic view"? Second, could you please be patient as I go back to my notes? I don't remember which sentence came from which source, etc. And I'm cutting back on my wiki editing. Third (OK, three things), do you think it would be better labelled as "historical view"? After all, the viewpoint isn't strictly academic. It's the viewpoint that views sacred texts, etc., as historical artifacts and documents rather than as sacred texts, etc. Jonathan Tweet 03:01, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
I would write the section somewhat differently, but I am letting you have a go at it since it was your idea, and yes I will be patient as you track down those sources. I merely added the tags as a request for them. I can try and contribute some too; I just did not want to step on your toes while you put together this section. "Historical view" doesn't seem quite right. Perhaps "history of the view", though would take the section in a bit of a different direction and would require the inclusion of differing scholarly takes, if you know what I mean. Lostcaesar 08:12, 17 October 2006 (UTC) *edit: I should say what I would do differently to explain my first comment. Instead of saying "scholars today say X", I would say "Soandso argued X (cite scholar and book)" and give various scholars. Lostcaesar 08:14, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

I think what we need to do is to omit this section for the time being, and move it to a project page (perhaps on your user page) until it can be properly sourced. At present it only has only referenced claim, and the source does not use the word purgatory. I think on the whole it is just too raw. I do not mean to rush your work, but until something more polished is presentable we should move this off the mainpage and into a project page, since otherwise the article is of a much more developed form. Lostcaesar 14:09, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

LC, I don't see this section as substantially more troubled than others on this page (e.g., the Jewish section with almost no references and information about the mourner's kaddish that is contradicted on the page about the mourner's kaddish). But if you can find an atheist who thinks that the "academic" section is a big step down in quality, I'll be happy to omit it. Jonathan Tweet 03:13, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
I simply meant for the time being; If there are problem with the Jewish section then we should fix them. Lostcaesar 07:27, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
Found one more reference and added it in. The only unreferenced issue remaining is one that doesn't strike me as controversial given the content of the rest of the paragraph (which is referenced). The sentence is this: 'These various views account, in secular estimation, for why sects as different as Roman Catholics and Jehovah's Witnesses can find Bible verses to support their various beliefs about the afterlife.' I've been reading on this topic on and off for over 20 years, and I can't tell you what the specific source is, nor have I been able to find it on the Internet. But now that the rest of the paragraph is well referenced, how about removing the "expert" tag and the one remaining "sources/OR" tag? This page is full of unreferenced sentences, and I don't think it's good form to single this one out as being a problem. I have already referenced the paragraph to meet a standard to which other sections have not been held. If anyone can find a counter-reference to the sentence in question, of course, that's another story. Lacking a counter-reference, however, I think the sentence can stand. Jonathan Tweet 14:42, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

I appreciate all the attention that you have given to the section in question. Let me say some of my concerns.

The lead sentence says that "secular historians" see purgatory as an invention of the RCC. Though perhaps tautologically true, it is worth asking whether this reference can speak for secular historians. It is written by a certain "Richard Hooker", who says the entire concept was invented in the 12th century. He neither claims to be secular nor to characterize a secularist historical community – he could be a devout Baptist. Whatever the case his claim is obviously false, since the idea well predates the 12th century (it is fully developed in both Gregory the Great and Bede, both late 6th and early 8th century figures, respectively) – though it could still be a 6-8th century invention of the RCC I guess.

What the Bible teaches about the afterlife is not entirely relevant since the RCC teaching need not be based on clear references in scripture. I would really have to ask why this has to do with the topic.

I think there is a way to describe the development of the doctrine, and to fix historical points when further insights were added. Obvious, if one is secular (or simply not catholic) he will see this as an invention of (catholic) men, and could label its doctrinal definitions as RCC inventions. If he is catholic he will see this as God's revelation of truth. Thus there may be a more neutral way to go about this.

Thoughts, Lostcaesar 20:47, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

It's not a tautology that secular scholars regard purgatory as invented by the Catholic Church. If it appeared in the Bible, it wouldn't be so considered. If Hooker doesn't represent secular historians, please find secular scholars that don't consider purgatory to be a Catholic invention. Gregory did not fully develop Purgatory; he described the purification as prior to Judgment Day, not prior to entrance into Heaven. Also the concepts of venial sin etc. aren't apparent in Gregory's doctrines. For not worrying about whether the Bible teaches purgatory, Catholics sure are eager to find support for it in the Bible. I'd be happy to include a line like, "The lack of support for purgatory in the Bible doesn't undermine the Catholic doctrine of purgatory because the Catholic Church recognizes authentic revelation outside the Bible." I'd be happy to see a neutral way to describe the developments in the doctrine of purgatory. A point-by-point timeline would be great. Such a description would go into neither the "Catholic" nor "Secular" views on purgatory. Jonathan Tweet 08:57, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

Eastern Rite Catholics[edit]

There is a statement under the section on Eastern Orthodox theology which reads: "Eastern Catholics, like the Eastern Orthodox, do not teach the Roman Catholic doctrine of Purgatory." I doubt this is factually accurate and propose it be deleated unless a competent citation can be found. Mamalujo 20:41, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

I added that, and have restored it. I'm an Eastern Catholic and I can tell you that Purgatory is mentioned nowhere in our official catechisms, and is not in our prayer texts either liturgical or private. Have a peek at and its references to the Treaty of Brest. InfernoXV 07:04, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
I used that source to express the view therein mentioned. Lostcaesar 08:37, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

Protestant claims[edit]

I found it odd that while we cite several Biblical passages that could metaphorically refer to purgatory for the Catholic side, there isn't anything on the Protestant side apart from quotations from some Reformers. I took the initiative to add a couple of passages based on an online book I found criticising Catholic doctrines. It would probably be prudent to expand the section further, though, and to locate citations for the Protestant theologians who believe in purgatory. Johnleemk | Talk 13:14, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Looks good to me. Lostcaesar 14:20, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Academic View[edit]

I propse this is renamed to "secular view" - thoughts? It seems more descriptive. Catholic theologians are, after all, academics. Lostcaesar 17:27, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

Zoroastrian material[edit]

LC, you deleted the Zoroastrian material as irrelevant. Why is that? It seems relevant to me. How about I put it back in, and if you can get someone to agree with you that it should be deleted, they can delete it? No need for us to butt heads again. Jonathan Tweet 20:28, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

I kept one bit of info from there and moved it to a different section. Zoroastrianism basically vanished in antiquity (along with their religious text, for the most part). Current "zoroastrians" are really a different religion, neo-zoroastrians. It doesn't seem significant, nor do I think that a really authentically "zoroastrian" position exists. The only relevance is whatever scholars can piece together about the ancient religion, which was a real, major, bitheistic faith, of historical significance. I kept the sentence about ancient zoroastiranism, and junked the modern day stuff. What about it did you think was worth mentioning? Lostcaesar 20:37, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
Zoroastrianism might be the red-headed stepchild of the monotheisms, but if we're talking about how various religions treat a middle state, it sure seems to apply. I don't pay much mind to what's "real" Zoraostrianism or "real" Christianity for that matter. They're belief systems and are noteworthy on that account. It's Wikipedia policy to be abundant and redundant, especially when editors agree on whether material should be included. The default stance is that it should be included. Jonathan Tweet 21:32, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
I am not making a distinction between what's "real" Zoroastrianism. Zoroastrianism basically died out, like Celtic or Germanic paganism. The beliefs of ancient Zoroastrianism are historically significant because the group was significant in the ancient world. Modern neo-Zoroastrianism is like modern neo-paganism - its miniscule and has no constitutive belief system. After moving that claim, all that was left in the section anyway was about one sentence. If you want to include something about the journey through the afterlife in ancient Zoroastrianism, it sounds ok to me, but were getting a bit away from Purgatory and over into just generic Afterlife. Nonetheless we could maybe have a bulk section that talks about this, the Egyptian passage to the realm of the dead undergone by the pharos, maybe the German warriors waiting for the final battle in the hall of Valhalla, and so on. Lostcaesar 22:06, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
PS - Zoroastrianism was not monotheistic, it believed in 2 Gods. Lostcaesar 22:06, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

Thank you for schooling me on Zoroastrianism. The reference should really be to the particular pahlavi texts in question. There's no such thing as "Zoroastrianism," per se, but there were religious treatises in the Zoroastrian tradition. It's to those treatises that I'll refer. While Zoroastrianism is miniscule, Zoroastrians were in dialog with Christians and Muslims in a way that Norse skalds never were. These Zoroastrian beliefs were influenced by other monotheisms' doctrines about the afterlife. As to the Zs being bitheists: I ask Muslims to call Christians monotheists. I ask Christians to call Zs monotheists. Jonathan Tweet 22:25, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

Well, we seem to agree about the importance of ancient Zoroastrianism. I think if you notice I went out of my way to preserve a reference to this (the only reference to it), one which is obviously a view I do not personally agree with, so it should be clear that I am not trying to exclude such points. If you want to talk a little about ancient Zism (or other religions), it sounds ok to me - I happen to be quite interested in this stuff so I won't complain. I will say to be kinda careful when getting info on ancient Z-ism; because it faded away, and especially because the original religous texts perished, it is very difficult to reconstruct their beliefs (its a bit like discerning Germanic pagan beliefs from 13th century texts), so scholarly views vary a good deal. Lostcaesar 22:31, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
LC, could you provide me with a reference for your assertion that the "Zoroastrians" writing in Pahlavi in the 9th century weren't Zoroastrians, I'd appreciate it. Otherwise, could you please restore my informationn about Zoroastrianism and its "middle state"? Jonathan Tweet 18:08, 24 December 2006 (UTC)
As I thought we had established, contemporary Zoroastrianism is historically disjoined from the ancient religion and consists of a reconstructionist movement. Is this disputed? Lostcaesar 00:17, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
Hamistagan comes from 9th century Zoroastrianism. If 9th century Zoroastrianism wasn't Zoroastrianism, please direct me to somewhere where I can confirm your assertion. I'm no expert on Zoroastrianism, but I've done some reading, and the 9th century Zoroastrians seem to me to have been Zoroastrians. If your issue is only with contemporary Zoroastrianism, then please replace the material you deleted under the header "Medieval Zoroastrianism" or something. Jonathan Tweet 16:02, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

LC, if you won't cite a reference for why you say that the self-styled Z'ists weren't really Z'ists, and you won't restore the material you deleted for that reason, would you at least assure me that you won't just delete the material again if I restore it? Jonathan Tweet 16:36, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Do we have any reason to think the information is accurate? Lostcaesar 20:19, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
[5] Search for hamistagan. Do we have any reason to think the information is inaccurate? Jonathan Tweet 21:05, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
I have reason to think it confused because it doesnt distinguish between ancient Zoro. (interesting) and reconstructionist movements (irrelevant). Lostcaesar 08:21, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
Fine. Now document your reason. If you can't document your reason, please restore the material you deleted. Or at least assure me that you won't delete it again for no (documented) reason. You referred to "contemporary" Z'ism and "modern day" stuff, but this is medieval Z'ism. Jonathan Tweet 14:17, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

The section in question reads:

Zoroastrians believe in hamistagan, a place where the souls of those whose good and bad deeds are equal await resurrection on Judgment Day[6]. Souls in hamistagan do not suffer. The particular judgment of souls after death, and their disposition to a level of heaven, a level of hell, or to hamistagan is described in the 9th century Pahlavi text Dadestan-i Denig ("Religious Decisions"). This might be the oldest purgatory concept so critics of the Catholic Church, like Frank Hughes, indicate they borrowed the idea from Zoroastrianism for nefarious purposes.[7]

This section talks of "what Zoro. believe", not what Zoro. held in antiquity. It then talks about "it", i.e. the concept discussed above as in the present, being the "oldest concept". So its not talking about "medieval stuff". Its talking about, in my understanding, beliefs of antiquity that are falsly represented as historically continuous with beliefs of today. Lostcaesar 15:11, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Well I'd be darned, you're right. I ascribed medieval beliefs to modern Zists. So show me the documentation for your assertion that modern Zists don't believe it. Jonathan Tweet 05:43, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm not saying they don't - I'm saying that the modern movement is a reconstructionist movement. It'd be like saying that celtic pagans believe (present tense) X, Y, and Z, and that Caesar wrote about this religion (present implied) in his "Gallic Wars". The celtic paganism that Caesar encountered vanished at a historical point. Centuries later (in the 1970s to be exact), someone tried to begin anew a new religion, minus some things like human sacrifice, based in part on what Caesar wrote. Now, I like what the section says at present. It mentions 9th century beliefs and ignore the irrelevant neo-zoro-ists. So I think were cool. Cheers. Lostcaesar 09:22, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
You have never documented your assertion that modern Zism is a reconstructionist movement. If it's not, then the text can go back to referring to present-day Zists. Jonathan Tweet 14:43, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Eastern Orthodox[edit]

You're right that they don't believe in soul sleep. I was drawing the lines rather strangely. What do you call the doctrine that the dead hang out (happy or sad) while waiting for Judgment Day? It's not the same as the Catholic idea that the damned go to hell immediately after death, etc. Jonathan Tweet 20:30, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

Well, if you know which religious group beliefves this, then I bet you can find your name. What exactly did you have in mind? I know that Germanic paganism had this idea - the dead awaited the final battle between men and the giants. Lostcaesar 20:44, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

I'm doing my best to describe the Eastern Orthodox position. Did you delete my reference without reading it? Or did you miss the relevant section: "Orthodox dogmatic theology (refers to) "particular judgment", after which the soul experiences a foretaste of the blessedness or the eternal torment which awaits it after the resurrection." The damned don't go to hell until judgment day; in the mean time, they hang out in dreadful anticipation of judgment day. Ditto but reversed for those destined for eternal life.

See also:

Then of course there's John Calvin, who called the doctrine psychopannichism, a term which has now come to be attributed to unconscious soul sleep.

May I ask that if I go to the trouble of referencing information, please be a little slower with the delete key? Jonathan Tweet 21:27, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

I did not delete any of your references, if I am not mistaken. I believe I used them all. I saw myself as fixing errors, i.e. misreadings of those texts (and introduced another reference to support my reading). You said that, in orthodoxy, the damned don’t go to hell and the saints don’t go to heaven until the general judgment. I think this is wrong. Orthodoxy has saints, who are people that go to heaven straightaway upon their death. They pray for people and the like, just like in Roman Catholicism. Likewise, the damned are condemned upon their death, at the particular judgment. All your quote means is that the happiness of the saints and the torment of the damned will be greater after the general resurrection, and this is because they will have their bodies back. That's completely compatible with RC doctrine, and I believe several Catholic Doctors said as much. That the nature of the afterlife and those therein will change at the eschaton is simply the view, given in Revelation, that there will be "a new heaven and a new earth".
Similarly, in Orthodoxy some are elected to Heaven but must wait because they are not holy enough. The Orthodox don't like to call this purgatory because that word is not part of their Greek tradition – its from Latin thought. Also, they get nervous whenever someone starts talking about these people suffering, though the waiting itself is a kind of suffering and in this sense they can agree with the RCC. Lastly, Orthodox totally distance themselves from the complex articulation of indulgences, which they see as scholastic, western, and alien to them; although, the notion of prays for the dead is really just a very basic form of indulgence. I don't think you will find anything in those sources that disagrees with this.
P.S., You are also citing Russian Orthodox – the Russians are noticeably more paranoid about "western" ideas creeping into their Orthodoxy than the Greeks, and generally bend over backwards to distance themselves from "western" teaching, even when the differences are really only in terminology.
Lostcaesar 22:27, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for preserving my references. Can you clear something up for me? Do Catholics believe that there are people in hell right now? Do Eastern Orthodox? Do Baptists? If your answers are all yes or all no, I have some follow-up questions. If your three answers are not the same, what doctrinal terminology would you use for the two different answers? Jonathan Tweet 22:53, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
I would say yes to all three, though this masks key differences between them. Lostcaesar 23:39, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
I take this quote to mean that the hell-bound "wait" instead of going to straight to hell after death, or at least that the vast majority of hellbound dead people aren't in hell yet: "Orthodoxy teaches that, after the soul leaves the body, it journeys to the abode of the dead (Hades). There are exceptions, such as the Theotokos, who was borne by the angels directly into heaven. As for the rest, we must remain in this condition of waiting. Because some have a prevision of the glory to come and others foretaste their suffering, the state of waiting is called "Particular Judgment""[8] What do you make of it? It looks to me like waiting for judgment day either happily or sadly. Jonathan Tweet 00:37, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
I also find reference to the dead waiting in dread but not yet going to hell here [9]. Jonathan Tweet 00:54, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
The Orthodox afterlife is not as stark as, say, the Baptist one. Its much more like the vision of Dante in his triology. Here is my understanding. A soul is judged and, perhaps, condemned upon death (or elected, conversly). He then suffers torment in Hades, which is usually translated as Hell. There prays cannot help him (this alone makes it a topic perhaps not relevant to an article on "purgatory"). He waits for his body upon the general judgement, after which the hereafter changes a bit, and the damned suffer more greatly with their bodies. The sources you provided want to save the word "Hell" for this last state. I don't exactly know what to make of this, because other times, as I said, "Hades" is understood merely as a Greek word for "Hell". The bible itself uses lots of different words: prison, abyss, netherworld, &c. I think the solution is that the afterlife is really one place, with different "areas", rather than two distinct places (like the Baptist heaven and hell, for example, which are fissured) - think of the vision of Lazarus, for example. Perhaps some otrhodox theologians are only comfortable talking about a heaven / hell split after the general judgement, while others don't mind calling the damned who suffering as residing "in Hell" presently. In all likelyhood it is a matter understood as one of those finer points, not wholly revealed, and therefore open to theological speculation. But we are moving into a domain where I am ignorant and would only err if I said much more. What exactly are you looking for here? Once we know that then we can work on getting it included in the article. Lostcaesar 09:19, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
"The sources you provided want to save the word "Hell" for this last state. I don't exactly know what to make of this" I've got a pretty good idea of what to make of this. In EO, no one goes to Hell until after the general Judgment. Hades is merely the abode of the dead. In general, no one gets to heaven before the end of the world, either. One does, however, experience bliss or dread in the grave while awaiting JD. This belief was common in 1st-century Judea and early Islam. It appears in 9th-century Persian Zoroastrianism. I'm not terribly surprised to see it in EO. Your not knowing how to square this information with Catholic doctrine shouldn't prevent me from putting the information in the article. As a courtesy, I'll give you some time to try to demonstrate that my straightforward reading of EO sources is wrong, if you'd like to. Otherwise I can just replace the information you deleted. Jonathan Tweet 15:02, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
In EO, no one goes to Hell until after the general Judgment. Hades is merely the abode of the dead. In general, no one gets to heaven before the end of the world, either. There are problem with this. First, in this article Hell is treated as = to Hades (see pg 28: "...Jesus, after His crucifixion, decended into Hades (Hell)"). Second, there are certianly people who die and go to Heaven - these are the saints, and EO has them. There is nothing here that "does not square with Catholic doctine". You don't experience bliss or dread "in the grave", you experience it in the afterlife.
EO = when one dies, he is judged (particular judgement), and either elected or condemned; the elected either enter into perfect communion with God (Heaven), or they wait for this perfect communion until the general judgement, meanwhile prayers help them. The damned begin their peroid of torment eternally, prayers are of no avail. On the general judgement, when the resurrection occurs, all who all the elect who are still waiting will enter into perfect communion with God - the bliss is greater because the bodies are returned. The damned also get their bodies and their suffering increases. That is 100% = to RC doctrine. Some websites you have found, RO, don't want to describe the damned who are suffering their eternal torments in the hereafter, without recourse, as "in Hell" until after the general judgement. I don't know what to make of this because other EO sources have no problem calling this Hell and because it is not clear what the difference would be. Whatever the case, it seems a trivial, nominal point (merely a difference of "names"). Is it not? The far more significant divergence is on the matter of indulgences, which you seem uninterested in.
Lostcaesar 16:01, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

You and I read the same material and come to opposite conclusions. I could keep trying to make my case, but we can both guess how that would turn out. How about I put an expert tag on the section and then we try to find an EO who can weigh in? Jonathan Tweet 01:38, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

I think part of the trouble here is that the EO have not defined this with quite the precision of much of Western Christianity, and some of it is still controversial. See Ware, The Orthodox Church [10] which contains a nice summary.
As noted, there are also translation problems. "Hell" is a Germanic word; originally the eponymous realm of the goddess of death in pagan belief, and what Greek (or Latin) word you use it to translate is a matter of taste more than anything else. You may call the place of waiting for those destined for damnation "hell" if you like -- some do -- but with the understanding that it is not final. (If "hell" suggests fiery torment then it's inappropriate, but if it suggests cold, darkness, and confinement, then it's a reasonable translation from the EO POV.)
There is also a problem of reliable sources. Not so much Russians, but certain hyper-traditionalists will reject anything that sniffs of "Western captivity" for that reason alone. They're almost invariably members of some schismatic group, but it's not always easy to discover their pedigree. (And often they are reliable, more so than many academicians, except on certain sensitive issues.)
Ware is good. I'd say Moghila's Confession, which someone linked to above, can be safely used here, at least in the form given, which I suspect is redacted. His work is widely considered to be unduly influenced by the West (even the very form of his Confession is inspired by Western catechisms) so he is not one of the reactionary authors who need to be used with caution in that direction. However, the definitive statements on Orthodox opposition to Purgatory are those made by St. Mark of Ephesus at the Council of Florence.(See this rather polemical, but reliable from the EO POV, source.) I would discount the Greek catechism linked above. Attentive RC readers will note a strawman or two right near the beginning, and he draws distinctions in the conditions of the departed that will be encountered almost nowhere else.
We differ from Roman teaching on Purgatory in two ways that seem to me most important, and could perhaps be brought out better. The first is that we do not hold that any kind of punishment is forthcoming for sins that have been forgiven, regarding the very idea as contradictory. In sacramental Confession a penance (epitemia) is sometimes assigned, but this is purely medicinal and contains no punitive element. There is therefore no need to satisfy unfulfilled punishment at death, which renders the idea of purgatory -- and the indulgences that might shorten one's stay there -- redundant. Secondly, there is therefore also no idea of a "treasury of merit" that can be drawn on to cut short those punishments due. Prayers, commemorations in the Eucharistic offering, and almsgiving on behalf of the departed benefit them directly, in mercy either improving their situation in blessedness or loosing them from the condition their sin has condemned them to. You will sometimes encounter the term "purification" associated with this, but it's thought of more in terms of liberation. TCC (talk) (contribs) 04:09, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
LC, would you like to take a shot at summarizing this as "The EO take on purgatory'? Or should I? Jonathan Tweet 03:13, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
So how exactly is the current section wrong? (1) no temporal punishment for forgiven sins, though there is penance [source], and (2) the concept of a "treasury of merit" [is this mentioned elsewhere in the article?] is absent but prayer and intercession do directly benefit the dead. That sounds really close to what we do have. The little bit (1) about indulgences is perhaps the more significant. Lostcaesar 09:20, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

LC, is the point of this section to show how close EO is to purgatory, to show how far the EO is from purgatory, or somewhere in between? A section highlighting differences is more informative to the reader than one highlighting parallels. A section that highlights both might serve the reader best. I'd be happy to take a crack at it. Jonathan Tweet 14:32, 29 November 2006 (UTC)


The article contains the following line, The word Purgatory, just as the words Trinity and Rapture, does not appear in the Bible. I took out the mention about rapture, since it does indeed come from the Vulgate, 1 Thes 4:17. Someone reverted it since the finite verb rapiemur, "we shall be seized", is not identical in form with the noun that that refers to it, raptura. But this form is incidental to its meaning and is only important for assigning its grammatical place in a sentence. If you want to refer to the event which rapiemur describes as a noun, you really only have a few fully general ways to do it in Latin: you can either use the 4th declension raptus, the 3rd declension raptio, or the 1st declension raptura. For whatever reason, the last of these options has been chosen.

In his summary, the reverting editor compared using raptura to refer to rapiemur with using "trinity" to refer to "three". This analogy does not really hold. Trinitas is the abstract version of the adjective trinus, "triple", which occurs nowhere in the canonical books of the Vulgate. If it did occur, then trinitas would be the right noun form to refer to its occurance.

Suffice it to say that "rapture" is not an adequate example of the principle that the editor is trying to demonstrate, and is hardly relevent to the article at all. It should be dropped. Rwflammang 22:59, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

Rapture does indeed come from the bible, not just the vulgate but the English word is in the KJV I believe. We should not say that "rapture" does not come from the Bible - the word, at least; the doctrine is a different matter. Lostcaesar 23:20, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
"Rapture" is not in the KJV. An exhaustive search of the English versions available at has it occurring only in two translations: "The Message" and Darby, both in the Song of Songs but in different verses. "The Amplified Bible" suggests it as a synonym for "joy" ("glad" in the KJV) in Jn 20:20. In no case is it translating "raptura" or a related verb. In 1 Thess, everyone is sensible enough to translate it correctly. Modern translations will take it from the Greek "αρπαγησομεθα" anyway.
I still think the analogy valid, but I don't think it important enough to insist on it as the examples given are sufficient to illustrate the point. TCC (talk) (contribs) 23:47, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

We are talking about this, yes?

deinde nos qui vivimus qui relinquimur simul rapiemur cum illis in nubibus obviam Domino in aera et sic semper cum Domino erimus (1 Thes 4:17)

So what exactly is the difficulty? Lostcaesar 08:55, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

None that I'm going to make any more of a fuss about than I already have. TCC (talk) (contribs) 09:45, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

"Secular" View[edit]

Thanks, LC. "Secular" is way better than "academic." I especially like "secular" because of its root meaning: worldly or temporal. Jonathan Tweet 05:24, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

new lead[edit]

Bible verses were moved to the lead section. That's too detailed for a lead section. Jonathan Tweet 03:23, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

Temporal punishments and Protestants[edit]

It is my understanding that the very purpose of Purgatory is for souls to serve out temporal punishments or penances they may be due but did not receive before their deaths; and that indulgences obtained on behalf of the dead cut short or eliminate this time. I believe this is supported by ¶1471 and following of the CCC. If this is not true, a cite should be given.

As for Protestants, a great many of them understand Purgatory perfectly well and reject it anyway. If it really is true that most reject it due to a misunderstanding that should be said, but it also requires a cite. TCC (talk) (contribs) 22:47, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Yes purgatory purges temporal punishment due to sin and also unforgiven venial sins. Protestants who follow Reformation theology reject the notion of a need for purification because of their doctrines about salvation and justification. Lostcaesar 23:24, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
There are two aspects to the doctrine of purgatory, one is a required part of the doctrine, the other is not but both are widely accepted throughout the catholic by non-lay people. the fist is that on earth you are sinful and in heaven you are not, purgatory is how you stop being sinful. this is the first and required aspect. the second aspect has two supporting arguments, the first is that Christ's death forgave the all the sins you confess but what happens about the sins you committed between your last confession and when you die? Other people say that while Christ forgave all sins he did not remove all the eternal punishment due sin and that this punishment must be inflicted before you can enter heaven. the first stance is losing standing in catholic circles and the second is a misunderstanding of the difference between temporal and eternal punishment. Most protestants mistakenly believe that this second attribute, the attribute of being punished for sins, is a required part of the doctrine of purgatory and thus reject it. and i'll find some supporting articles and post a section on this over Christmas break. J.L.Main 06:10, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
That's nice. Whatever you find needs to be more authoritative than the RCC's official catechism. Good luck. And you will certainly need to find some reasonably reliable source showing that significant bodies in Protestantism reject this doctrine because they misunderstand it. TCC (talk) (contribs) 08:45, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Its far more complex than that, I am afraid. It has to do with the Church's authority to dispence the merits of Christ to forgive temporal punishement and to forgive sins. It also has to do with the nature of sin and punishment itself - forgivness of the guilt of sin does not necessarily forgive the punishment due unto sin. The article here is actually quite clear on all that. Lostcaesar 09:06, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
You indented a level as if you were replying to me, but were you actually replying to J.L.Main? TCC (talk) (contribs) 09:20, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
i'm pretty sertain he was. and Lostcaesar, i have two points for you, first, acording to wiki standars, when something is disputed, you leave it out untill the dipute is settled. in such i have left out my addition to the opening section. However as my alterations to the protestant section are reductions they should not be changed back untill we come to an agree ment. my second point is that while my opening paragraph was an exreem over simplification it hit the main points, including the one you mention. albeit i should have stated it more clairly.J.L.Main 09:50, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
I indented only so the page was easier to read; I was replying to JL. Lostcaesar 09:53, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
JL, you are misstating Wikipedia policy. Where there's a dispute, it is settled by which version of an article is more verifiable. There's never a need to leave anything out, only to support it with reliable sources. It occasionally happens that two such sources with slightly different points of view make contradictory statements; in that case, in order to maintain a neutral point of view we include both, well sourced, explaining the viewpoints the statements represent.
That is not the case here. I have provided a reference. I can also point to the relevant article in the Catholic Encyclopedia on the subject and the actual decrees of the Councils of Florence and Trent which are the definitive statements of the Catholic Church about Purgatory. All make it clear that Purgatory takes time (this is what is meant by "temporal"). Florence states that it is accomplished by "cleansing pains", which Trent expounds on to the effect that we know nothing of what these "pains" consist. You contend that Purgatory need not take any time at all -- this is true only if the appropriate indulgence has been obtained -- and that no pains at all are involved, but you are asking us to simply take your word for it. This isn't a disputed article in the usual sense of the word, and it won't be until you can show by references that what you're saying reflects Catholic doctrine.
And my dear sir, please consider using a spellchecker, or a browser with a spellchecker built in like Firefox. Even if your edits were verifiable, they'd still need a considerable amount of copyediting. TCC (talk) (contribs) 11:14, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
I thought i did use a spell cheaker. i try to allways use one when i post in an actually artical, i don't care as much on talk pages, but sometimes i forget. particularly when i'm editing an artical for the third or fourth time because some jerk keeps reverting rather than editing. it really gets under my skin when people just revert my post as if it were vandalism even when there are some parts that can't be denied or have good sources. and i am sorry i forgot to do that last time. it was after all 4 AM here. J.L.Main 11:23, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Well, this jerk reverted your edits because he thought they were wrong, not vandalism, and you have no sources to show otherwise. Lostcaesar 11:54, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
But you have of yet only disputed my addition to the opening section. you have not raised a complaint to my edits to the section on Protestantism, however you reverted the entire article. and my frustration is more aimed at a poster from another page who continuously reverts my edits but provides almost no defense of his position. I have read many of your posts and would like to express that i am impressed with your theological aptitude and look forward to debating this with you, even if you prove me wrong.
TCC, i have reviewed the links you provided. you may have the wrong page listed. I skimmed through the Council of Florence and the of the Council of Trent, with the exception of the sections on purgatory and indulgences which I read in full, however neither of these made any mention of the temporal or painful nature of purgatory. I if you could direct me to what parts of the Counsel of Fluorine and Trent which speak on the temporal and painful aspects of purgatory i would be most appreciative. if you do and i see there that i am wrong i will write out an apology here for you to read and even place a copy of it under my profile page. The Catholic encyclopedia does indeed seem to say that purgatory in temporal but this may be poor wording or misunderstanding by the author(the catholic encyclopedia is not infallible). Temporal punishment is a phrase which by my understanding refers to the consequences due your sin which can not be removed through the forgiving blood of Christ. The word temporal refers to the temporal nature of the punishment which starts on earth and ends in purgatory. This can be placed in opposition to eternal punishment that was lifted from us by Christ's death on the cross. As the temporal aspect of the punishment would extend beyond purgatory it would not be incorrect to say that purgatory is a place of "temporal punishment" even if purgatory is instantaneous, while it would not be the best way to fraise it. is that at all understandable? J.L.Main 12:29, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
From the page I linked to from Florence:
Also, if truly penitent people die in the love of God before they have made satisfaction for acts and omissions by worthy fruits of repentance, their souls are cleansed after death by cleansing pains; and the suffrages of the living faithful avail them in giving relief from such pains, that is, sacrifices of masses, prayers, almsgiving and other acts of devotion which have been customarily performed by some of the faithful for others of the faithful in accordance with the church's ordinances.
The decree from Trent mainly outlaws abuses in the sale of indulgences, but also "But let the more difficult and subtle questions, and which tend not to edification, and from which for the most part there is no increase of piety, be excluded from popular discourses before the uneducated multitude." Which is to say, it affirms the assurance made to the Greek party at Florence that a material purgatorial fire was not dogma, and some of the more extravagant metaphors that tended to mislead people in that direction were to be de-emphasized. But both insist that prayers for the dead, especially the offering at the Mass, can improve their situation in Purgatory. So the Blood of Christ most certainly is efficacious for these sins; in fact even absent prayers at the Mass it's only his sacrifice that allows for them to be forgiven at all.
But to imagine that "temporal" is a misinterpretation, or that the temporal punishments due extend beyond purgatory, is a fantasy. The decrees of Florence and Trent did not take place in a vacuum, but refer to doctrines well-known to the participants in those councils. "Temporal" simply means that it takes place within time, and is not eternal. Purgatory is by definition the place where these punishments are meted out or penances fulfilled; equally by definition they do not extend beyond it. That "temporal" is appropriate see the Catechism [11] and [12]. This document is the official teaching from Rome, hosted at the Vatican website. You're going to have a hard time finding something more authoritative.
Speaking of citations, unless you can provide one for your "Left Behind Theory" (under that name, since it's capitalized here) that's going to have to go too. TCC (talk) (contribs) 12:49, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
JL, thank you for the kind words. As for your concerns, your last change restored the protestant section, and I haven't reverted that. You changed a sentence which said that Luther denied purgatory to read that he denied temporal purgatory. Though this seems redundant to me, I suppose it is ok. I guess you are trying to say that glorification is, as instantaneous, an example of atemporal purgatory - seems logical to me, but in my experience if you start saying anything about purgatory to a protestant they get nervous. For this reason I had the earlier lead read that Protestants embrace the "somewhat" similar doctrine of Purgatory. You removed the word "somewhat" - but this was an allusion exactly to the temporality of Catholic purification. Lastly, after the statement that protestants reject purgatory, you removed "especially the precise Catholic theological definition" - which seems wholly true to me. Even Anglicans, who are a bit more warm to the idea of purification, shy away from the theological, scholastic, and precise articulation of purgatory, and especially the related indulgences. So I don't know why this qualifier was chopped, but I suppose the sentence is true without it (if less clear). Lostcaesar 13:13, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Well, Protestants are bound to shy away from addressing the doctrine of Purgatory for a great many reasons. After all, while the Catholic Church can cite a lot of passages to support its dogma, the primary passage upon which the doctrine is built (Matthew 5:26) is metaphorical in nature. Not only that, but another, increasingly popular passage (cited more now), 1 Corinthians 3:13-15, isn't even speaking about purification. It is, in fact, most likely dealing with the subject of examination in judgement. It seems to be talking about the level of sanctification that a person has, by Grace, of course, achieved in this earthly realm; Martin Luther said, "There is no justification without sanctification .... no real faith from which the fruits of obedience do not grow." If this is the case, which I believe it is, then 1 Corinthians may be dealing with a break-down of the human life, to see just how much has been conformed to G'd's holy and perfect design. For, as Luther so eloquently put it, a person with true love and true faith will strive to live in the Way of G'd. At this examination, 'fires' will test the person to see if his or her life can attest to the Spirit of obedience and truth present in any real believer's heart-- indwelling in them and changing them. If so, the person may enter Paradise; if not, he or she (at this point they are really neither, being only spirits) is cast into Damnation. And then those who barely meet the standard for sanctification, perhaps a standard differing from one individual to the next, are permitted into Paradise ... but not unharmed by these all-consuming fires. This, I believe, is the meaning of the passage so oft-cited in deffense of Purgatory.
I love that Hebrews 10 is mentioned here! What a great contradiction to the whole system that asserts such an absurd dogma (with all due respect to my Catholic brothers and sisters). "But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time." Heb. 10:12; "For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy." Heb. 10:14; "And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices." Heb. 10:18. No need to offer any more sacrifices! Thus penance, priestly absolutions, corporeal mortification (though chastisement can be a true sacrifice offered in order to grow in Grace and Holiness, even if it can never offer a sacrifice for the atonement of sins) are all meaningless when it comes down to purgation. For if we live in Faith we are children of the Most High, and when we are His children, never will He cease to wash us of our sins and iniquities, but will forever blot them out, failing to remember them. And no amount of self-denial can make us co-redeemers ... For those who think works save, or help to escape Purgatory's fires, you are in great trouble, and it is the Devil's most heinous game to lead you into self-exaltation. Be wary. (Mr.Ligit was responsible for this comment.):::::
Hebrews is discussing the animals sacrifices (sin offerings) of old. One could understand the passage spiritually to be discussing confession and repentance, but to understand a passage spiritually one needs the guidance of the Spirit, who has so lead the great councils to a different conclusion. The doctrine of purgatory need not be established from Scripture alone, though 2 Maccabees comes very close indeed. Lostcaesar 08:28, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Text moved due to accuracy issues[edit]

I moved the following text to talk:

Other early accounts of the afterlife, however, apparently contradict the doctrine of purgatory. Hippolytus of Rome, for example, depicts the righteous and unrighteous alike as going to hades, where the righteous enjoy blessings and the unrighteous suffer anticipation of their punishment[1]. This description parallels Luke's description of Lazarus and the rich man in hades, with flames for the wicked, the bosom of Abraham for the righteous, and an abyss between them.

I am not sure that the statement of Hippolytus is indeed contradicting the doctrine of purgatory. It is perfectly fitting to call the afterlife by different terms, as scripture does, and Hades seems as applicable a word for the hereafter as any other. In his description there is a realm of the afterlife reserved for unquenchable fire, and another for those who suffer temporal punishment (his words) awaiting the blessedness of heaven, and a gate through which is reserved the joy of the elect. So I don't see the connection. Also, the bit about the parable of Lazarus does not make sense to me — how is this vision of the netherworld applicable to unorthodox views of the afterlife? At any rate we are lacking a scholarly opinion and thus this disputed matter is perhaps original research. Lostcaesar 21:17, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

You read the text at the end of the link? If so, then once again we have proven our ability to read the exact same text and come to exact opposite conclusions. According to purgatory, the righteous die and start suffering. According to Hippolytus (and the early Christian/1st-century Jewish concept of hades), the righteous die and are at rest. In the doctrine of purgatory, the dead either go to hell and suffer or to purgatory and suffer. In the hades system, the dead all go to hades where the damned suffer and the saved are happy. How again are these the same? Let's at least find a way to preserve the link and allow the reader to make up their own mind. Jonathan Tweet 06:09, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
This is all OR, but we can discuss to an extent anyway. Here is what Hippolytus says: "But now we must speak of Hades, in which the souls both of the righteous and the unrighteous are detained.... [T]he angels are stationed as guards, distributing according to each one's deeds the temporary punishments for (different) characters." That is purgation. Lostcaesar 09:08, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
Purgatory is only for the saved. Hades, and its temporary punishments, is for everyone. Here, the wicked suffer temporary punishments before eternal judgment on judgment day. Thus H's hades is not your purgatory. As to this being OR, a slew of references purportedly in support of purgatory are not OR, but references contrary to it are? How's that? Jonathan Tweet 14:30, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Text replaced. Jonathan Tweet 00:21, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

LC, do you think you could find a way to include references to these apparent contradictions in some manner you would deem fair? When one editor repeatedly removes referenced material, rather than trying to keep the references in a proper context, wel, you know. Or should I cut to the chase and request a comment? Jonathan Tweet 14:25, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

My Guess on Why the Doctrine of Purgatory Exists[edit]

In one question, I asked users that, if Christians believe that Christians will go to heaven and non-Christian will go to hell, and Catholics believe that some people will go to purgatory after they die, then who do Catholics believe will go to purgatory when they die? One user answered by saying that it is never official Catholic doctrine that all people who are not Christians will go to hell after they die.

That sounds strange! The Bible clearly says that all people need to be saved from going to eternal hell, and you cannot be saved without being a Christian. But Catholics still believe that some non-Christians will go to purgatory instead of hell after they die.

I guess that one of the reasons why the doctrine of purgatory exists is that the fact that all non-Christians will go to an eternal hell is something that even Christians find hard to accept. [13] The Anonymous One 05:02, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

It doesn't work that way. Pugratory is not specifically for non-Catholics or non-Christians &c. I would have hoped that the article expressed that clearly enough. Purgatory is a process of purification where unforgiven venial sins, and uncompleted temporal punishment due to sin, are forgiven &c., making one ready for heaven. If everyone in the world were Catholic, a great many would still go to purgatory (and Hell, for that matter) because they would still sin and would still need to do penance (temporal punishment) - though it would be less, at least, simply because being Catholic avails you to all the sacraments &c. giving you more access to divine grace. Now, as for salvation, there is no salvation outside Jesus Christ and his Church. What that means is, if you are saved, it is through the merits of Christ's saving act as dispensed by his Church. You could think of it like this: everyone in heaven is catholic, whether they died one or not. Now, we know of no other way to be saved besides baptism, and that comes in three forms: water, blood, and desire. What happens to people who are not Christian? All the Church has said is that it is not impossible for them to be saved: there might be a way. It is something about which we should trust in the mercy of God, and if it bothers you then, by all means, pray for them. Lostcaesar 08:10, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Another possibility for the creation of purgatory[edit]

Is it possible that purgatory was invented to discourage early Christians from prematurely ending their lives, either through suicide or reckless martydom? After all, if a person thought they were going directly to heaven, why wait around on an imperfect Earth? Purgatory effectively negates the benefit of dying young.Hellbound Hound 01:23, 30 January 2007 (UTC)


I made some changes, mostly structural though it looks far more than it was in a view of the edit synopsis. Because Eastern Rite Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church had basically the same view, I thought it best to put the tradition into Latin and Greek versions, rather than Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox (since the ERCC are also what is meant by Roman Catholic). I moved the biblical passages section into the bit on spirituality, since it seemed better there. This article is not about debating the veracity of scriptural proof texts and whatnot. I also tried to rephrase the "early christian writings" section to better express the historical nature of the statements, rather than to look upon them in hindsite and try and fix them to this or that camp. I also eliminated the "back and forth" style the article had, in accord with the guidelines. Some other minor things...; Lostcaesar 12:23, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

You have got to be kidding us. The lead section defines purgatory as only that which can be stretched to match the EOC view (not "punishment for unremitted but forgiven venial sins," etc.). The difference between EOC and RC is attributed to terminology (!). Now that the Bible verses weren't all hand-picked to support Purgatory, they're tucked away in a later section. Once again, I try to make information more readily available, and you're making it harder to come by. Honsetly, LC, I don't know what to tell you because I myself can't think of a way for you to be fair and to be true to what the Catholic Church teaches at the same time, but wow. In the time that you and I have struggled with this page, I've learned a lot about early Christian views about the afterlife and purification after death. What you seem to have learned is how to spin the information. I'll let the dust settle, but don't get attached to this version of the page. Jonathan Tweet 14:36, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Well lets talk about it. What are your specific objections? All you mentioned here was the lead and the bible verses, so that's all I can talk about. The lead references the Catechism of the Catholic Church for its definition of purgatory, so I am not "stretching" anything. As for the verses, it seems best that they be under spirituality. The contra verses can be included in the protestant section if that section is reworked accordingly. Lostcaesar 14:42, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Lostcaesar - I like the division into Latin and Greek views, it's far more accurate. I say, good work! While I have your attention, I'd like to point out "Eastern Catholic Churches" - not "Eastern Rite Catholic Churches". Aside from that, top-notch! InfernoXV 16:09, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for the correction, and I am glad you agree with the edits. =D Lostcaesar 18:33, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

POV tag[edit]

The recent overhaul of the page depicts the topic in a fashion far too amenable to one POV (Catholic). At every point the recent overhaul downplayed dissent from the doctrine and smoothed over rough spots. A salient feature of purgatory is that no one outside te RC is buying it. Jonathan Tweet 18:26, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Could you be specific? Lostcaesar 18:37, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Used "" to mark places that are POV. You can see them, or search for them, if you edit the page. Jonathan Tweet 20:00, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Alright, well I will export those here for us to discuss.
(1), You said that the lead " Doesn't describe those aspects of purgatory that are most controversial." What aspects are those? The lead gives the dogmatic aspects of purgatory according to official Catholic teachings.
(2), You said that the lead "treats theosis as a different term for purgatory". You will have to spell out how the term "final theosis" is misused, since the source expressly says, " Rather than "Purgatory," we prefer to call it "the Final Theosis."
(3), You said, "Bible verses moved to later contrary to standard format and natural reader interest". What "standard format" are you referring to? How do do you justify your claims concering "reader interest"?
(4), You said, "pov O'Collins treated like scholarly source but is just intra-RC POV". O'Collins is a scholarly source, he is a published scholar and the text is a history book published by Oxford University Press. Besides, all he is cited in that section as supporting is that the concept of purification etc. is found in certain ancient texts and the like, which is hardly a controversial position and expressed in other sources cited in the same section. Do you have a source that says otherwise? Do you have reason to think him wrong?
(5), You said that "pov quotes Harnack selectively, portrays early Christian writing as in line with P contrary to EOC view" - how does it so portray early writings? Also, the only selection was that the article selects from Harnack the statement he makes that purgation was common in ancient writings, and it is selected because it is relevant. What else would you like said from Harnack?
(6), You said, "emphasizes agreement and downplays dissent contrary to EOC view". What matter of "dissent" are you speaking of?
(7), On bible verses, you said , "Lots of these quotes are out of context or ambiguous, and no contrary quotes are mentioned". The context is Catholic and Orthodox spirituality, wherein they are obviously interpreted as supporting those beliefs, so the context seems fine. Obviously, there would not be aby contrary quotes (whatever those are supposed to be) placed here, since this is about Catholic and Orthodox spirituality. Such quotes could be put in the section on protestant views.
If I had to review your concerns, I think I would have to request what you think the relevant doctrines to be, and whence you derive this view. What exactly is this doctrinal "dissent" that you think is absent?
Lostcaesar 20:31, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

My answers are in the text. Jonathan Tweet 21:47, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

LC, there's more work to do, but I'm going to take a break just now. I cut you slack when you overhauled the article. Please cut me some slack on this material. Jonathan Tweet 21:54, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

I made the following changes. I left in your clarification on Dante, and on O'Collins. I removed or moved some text from the intro. The intro cannot be too long. The matter of venial sins etc, which is complex, is best left for the later section, I think, and moreover Greek tradition understands a difference between light and grave sins as well, which the current wording seemed to exclude. The issue of the Merits of Christ being dispensed by the Church is not discussed in the article, but if it were it would be better in the later sections. I removed the section on the Bible as I am not exactly sure of its relevance. The view of Harnark is already expressed in the section on Protestantism, so I omitted the duplicate text which was in a less apt location. I also took out the inline text as it is represented above. Lastly, I removed a couple OR sentences that may have conflicted with some of the sourced text; we must be careful with primary sources not to violate OR.
JT, if I may simply take the issue directly, I believe your problem with the article is twofold. One, you want the article to say that the GO and RC churches have an irreconcilable difference on the matter of purgatory, especially the doctrine of a real purging fire. The problem is, this is incorrect. The RC church does not and never has had a "doctrine" of such. Furthermore, purgatory simply is not an irreconcilable difference, evidenced by the fact that the ECCs have the exact same theology on the matter as the GO, but are in full communion with the RCC. So it simply cannot be an irreconcilable difference. Two, you want the article to debate the biblical foundation and veracity of the doctrine. Unfortunately, an encyclopedia is not the place for this. There are lots of websites that try and make these arguments. Lostcaesar 08:26, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
LC, if I may simply take the issue directly, I believe our problem with the article is that you want to de-emphasize the facts that a reader might interpret to mean that purgatory is special to the RCC, and I want those same facts to be clear. It is a recurrent theme in our disputes that you want to remove or de-emphasize information that I want to state in straightforward terms. I want to state all sides clearly and up front, and you want to massage the text into shape. For example, Tertullian says that souls are reserved in hades until judgment day. Your version of that opinion is that souls don't enter into full blessedness until judgment day. That's not a clear statement of T's position; it's a spin. From your view, it's the right spin, but it's not T speaking for himself. You might well accuse me of POV in trying to point out that purgatory is the RCC's thing, not well-matched in the EOC, Protestant tradition, or early church. In my defense I can only say that I'm trying to include material that's missing. Honestly, you seem to be in something of a bind. Yes, it's true that antipapist bigots pick on purgatory, but that's because it's a soft spot in the teachings of the church. Whatever, religions aren't perfect and they have soft spots. Jonathan Tweet 16:02, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
I am not accusing you of Pov or anything else. I think your edits are good faith. As for the material, I do not think the sources we have support the view that "purgatory is the RCC's thing". In otherwords, the "information" you want to emphasize is problematic for me because I am not certain that it is correct information, given our sources. As for Tertullian and the like, I myself and not fully versed in the Tertullian corpus, and depend on secondary sources to expound fully on his eschatological views. The sources we have speak in the language of final blessedness following the Resurrection. In truth, it doesn't seem to be a central matter, since we are more concerned with purification than with the eschaton anyway. And, for whatever its worth, I don't see myself in a "bind". I have expanded and clarified the section on Protestantism just as much as on Latin and Greek Christendom, and the text I added was far more fair and far less patronizing to the Protestant position than what was previous there. I have also put in requests on the Judaism and Islam portals for help with those unsourced sections. Lostcaesar 16:12, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Restored POV tag. LC, you removed the POV tag once my objections were answered to your satisfaction. The whole article is slanted. My original objections remain, even though you dismiss them. If you think your Purgatory page is not a slant, get an RfC. Jonathan Tweet 02:20, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

Well, considering the recent changes, what specifically do you have a problem with at present, and what sources do you have to support your position? Lostcaesar 07:12, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
LC, please don't pretend that this is a discussion. You decide what material goes on the page and how it's presented. You delete, rewrite, or subordinate my additions. To discuss the issues as if we were deliberating in good faith would be a farce. You ask what my concerns are, but I've already told you. Jonathan Tweet 13:58, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
So what exactly is your position? That the pov tag will remain in perpetuity without recourse? Lostcaesar 22:33, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
You have recourse. Accept reasonable edits from people who disagree with you about purgatory. What's your position, LC? That you decide what material goes on the page, and if so, how it is presented? I'd rather the page be balanced. You've demonstrated how amenable you are to my edits, so I have little hope for that. As I said, if you think that your take on the Purgatory page is not a slant, get an RfC. Jonathan Tweet 01:20, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
In order to do that I need a statement from you expressing your current position. As for my edits, my position is that I wish to avoid OR, unsourced statements, or improperly sourced statements, and to accurately present the material. Lostcaesar 08:09, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

LC, I already listed my objections in the text itself. You apparently deleted them? In summary, I'd say my objections are to most of what you've done to the article since Feb 27. Curious readers are directed to this comparison of versions [14]. Jonathan Tweet 22:17, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

User:Lima|Lima]] 09:27, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

  1. ^ Against Plato, on the cause of the universe [15]