Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Purgatory, By The Rev. M. Canty, P.P., Part 28.




THERE have been many errors as to the class of persons who go to Purgatory and who deserve its pains.

1. Some have thought that even those who die in mortal sin go to Purgatory, the only necessary condition being that they may have been professed members, not only of the Catholic Church, but even of any Christian sect, or that they may have given alms.

2. Others held that no one enjoyed immunity from Purgatory except Christ. This notion would have all to go through purgatorial probation. In this opinion they followed Origen, (In Psalm xxxvi.) who says: "It is necessary for us all to go into that fire, even if some one may be a Paul or a Peter."

3. But Origen did not stop there. He advanced a step further, and said that all the wicked, including even the demons, shall be liberated from hell, and shall arrive at length at eternal happiness. Ac cording to this notion, so subversive of Christian doctrine, the dream of Origen was that all pains in the other life were purgatorial.

Far different from such notions of Purgatory. Is the teaching of the Catholic Church, or of those authorities that are supposed to reflect her mind. According to this teaching, we must conclude, that Purgatory was not instituted for those who are completely just—that is, for those who depart this life in the state of grace, and owe no temporal punishment to the justice of God.

1. This is proved from St. Augustine, who frequently, but especially in his work on the City of God, (Lib. 21, cap. 16.) teaches that those who die immediately after receiving baptism (understand, with the proper dispositions in the case of adults), have not to endure the pains of Purgatory. And speaking of the baptism of blood, as martyrdom is called, he expresses himself in the following phrase, which has passed into an adage:—" He who prays for a martyr, does injury to a martyr." He thereby declares that martyrdom, as well as the baptism of water, remits all punishments, both temporal and eternal, due to sin; and, in consequence, exempts the person who has suffered it from the pains of Purgatory. St. Cyprian, too, is of the same opinion as far as martyrdom is concerned. He teaches that those who suffer martyrdom, and who are thus baptized in their own blood, have not to endure the pains of Purgatory. The reason of this is, that martyrdom, like baptism, remits not only all sins of whatever sort, but also all the punishments due to them. 

2. It is proved from the Council of Florence, that Purgatory was not instituted for those who are fully justified. That Council (Sess. ult.) defines that presently after death some souls go to heaven, some to Purgatory, and others to hell. Thus the Council defined that some souls go to heaven presently after death. But they who go straight to heaven are exempt from Purgatory. Therefore this was not constituted for all the just, or for those who are fully justified.

3. Purgatory is that place in the other life where, the temporal punishment, which is due to actual sins, is paid. Consequently it awaits only those of whom this temporal punishment is due. But some die without owing this debt. Not alone infants, ' who, after baptism, are taken way from the trials and sorrows of this world, " lest malice may change" their "intellect; but many others depart this life after having fully satisfied the justice of God for their sins, and even sometimes with a large store of superabundant merit laid up to their account. These two classes, as having no temporal punishment for which to atone, are not numbered among those of whom the Apostle says, "They shall be saved, yet so as by fire," and have not to pass through the severe trial of Purgatory.