Karl Keating; Director of Catholic Apologetic Organization Catholic Answers:
…the doctrine of purgatory is not at odds with other tenets of Christianity. In fact, as he [Samuel Johnson] may have known, there is considerable scriptural warrant for it, even if the doctrine is not explicitly set out in the Bible.1
Can it really be said that considerable scriptural warrant could be non-explicit?
It is between the particular and general judgments, then, that the soul expiates its sins: ‘I tell you, you will not get out till you have paid the very last penny’ (Lk 12:59). 2
The concept of Purgatory is place between the particular and general judgments not because the Bible teaches this or even hints at it but because it is the only place that Mr. Keating could find to place it. It is so incongruous with Scripture that it must be forcefully inserted, and it must be inserted because it is found nowhere in the Bible.
Fundamentalists note that biblical references to the judgment refer only to heaven and hell. Quite true. That is because most of the references are to the general judgment.3
This is stated as opposed to the individual judgment. The problem for Mr. Keating is that references to individual judgment still say nothing about having to suffer for our own sins in the fires of Purgatory.
professional anti-Catholics…claim, instead, that the Bible speaks only of heaven and hell. Wrong again. It speaks quite plainly of a third place, where Christ went after his death, the place commonly called the Limbo of the Fathers, where the just who died before the Redemption were waiting for heaven to be opened to them (I Pet 3:19). This place was neither heaven nor hell. Even if the Limbo of the Fathers was not purgatory, its existence shoes that a temporary, intermediate state is not contrary to Scripture.” 4
The Limbo of the Fathers or Abraham’s Bosom is now empty and now there are only two places; heaven and hell.
Anyone who has not completely expiated his sins—that is, not just had them forgiven, but ‘made up’ for them, been punished for them—in this life is, to some extent, ‘unclean.’ Through repentance he may have gained the grace needed to qualify for heaven (which is to say his soul is spiritually alive), but that is not enough. He needs to be cleansed completely. By not admitting the doctrine of purgatory, one necessarily implies that even the slightest defilement results in the loss of the soul.” 5
By made up he is making reference to Colossians 1:24 which he quotes as “in my sufferings for you, and [I] fill up those things that are wanting in the suffering of Christ.” This is in some way supposed to connect to Purgatory but as is fairly common in Roman Catholic writings they seem to overlook the line between the living and the dead. The living man Paul was writing to living people in the city of Colossi, from here by use of eisegesis (or, isogesis), this concept is force to breach that Biblically un-breachable chasm between the living and the dead.
Fundamentalists think…Christ obviated6 the need for any expiation on our part, but the Bible nowhere teaches that. Having one’s sins forgiven is not the same as having the punishment for them wiped out.”7
Then what does having ones sins forgiven mean?
no parish maintains a ‘schedule of fees.’ A few people, of course, freely offer more. On average, though, a parish can expect to receive something less than five dollars by way of stipend for each memorial Mass said. These Masses are usually said on weekdays.” 8
I’m not quite sure what he means by schedule of fees but I can speak as one that worked for a Roman Catholic Church for four and a half years. The local Archbishop decides how much a Mass intention costs; $10.00 in our case. In the Mass Book we write down the intention and we would mark whether it had been paid or not and, of course, we had a receipt book specifically for Mass intention payments.
In the parish for which I worked there were seven Masses a week for which intentions were allowed, three intentions were allowed per Mass. Theoretically speaking, this means that if all the intentions were sold the parish could bring in $840 per month from these sales alone. If this does not seem like much, sadly, it is a few dollars more than I was making per month for full time work. Multiply the dollar amount per Mass by millions of Masses all over the world, then multiply it by millennia and you will see that we are talking about an incredible amount of money.
Purgatory is perhaps best described as the painful state or experience of encountering God after death, when we see him as he really is ‘face to face’ (1 Corinthians 13, 12), and, by contrast, ourselves as we really are, as sinful humans. An encounter with the living God always is painfully, totally upsetting.”9
Christ has made up our sins, and now accepts us totally, but we yet have the need of doing something about them ourselves, as when we hurt anyone we love…Most people realize that they have not made up for all their sins, that they still are clinging to some faults, and therefore could not expect to be perfectly happy immediately after death with the perfect, totally accepting Love we call God. 10
True, as an example, if in this life we stole something we could make up for it by giving it back. But this concept cannot be taken into the afterlife because Jesus came to do that which we could not do; make it up to God. Any denial that Jesus did so fully, or the contradictory purgatorial argument that Jesus did do so but we must still suffer in the afterlife is a denial that Jesus completed the task for which He was born and died. Jesus Himself said, “It is finished/paid in full” (John 19:30).
Those passing through this purgatory state know clearly that they are saved, God’s love overwhelms them, and they have a joy far more intense than anything on earth.11
In that case, one would wonder why people are in such a hurry to get their dead relatives out of Purgatory. Sure, it is not yet heaven but that is where they know they are going so why not save your money and let them enjoy this intense joy for a few centuries? (Please forgive the sarcasm).
A Catholic Response, Inc.:
Even though not explicitly referred to by name, the Bible does allude to it, especially in terms of purging fire.”12
As will be discussed in the next essay in this series, The Consulted Scriptures, in order to read Purgatory into the Bible in every place where any sort of flames are mentioned there is an attempt to insert Purgatory, yet to no avail.
very serious sin – mortal sin – ‘kills’ our friendship with God. By willfully committing mortal sin, we reject God, and we lose this sanctifying grace (Titus 1:16). Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross can still redeem our friendship with God; however, we must repent and seek God’s forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). If we do not repent and die in this graceless state, then we suffer the loss of eternal life. This loss is eternal punishment or hell (Matt 25:46). 13
Let us explore the logical conclusion of this concept. We are talking about a person who has completed all their Roman Catholic sacraments, who has redemptive sanctifying grace i.e., God’s forgiveness. Let’s say that this person is driving along in their car and commits adultery in their heart by lusting after the photograph of a person on a billboard, if they get into a car crash and die they will go to hell for all eternity.
This is because even though they had their sins forgiven by Jesus Christ and had redemptive sanctifying grace, they simply did not make it to the priest for confession and so they will go to hell. This is a nonsensical tactic from the Dark Ages and does not exist in the Bible. Forgiveness is forgiveness and salvation is salvation.
Some sin is not serious enough to kill our friendship with God, but still it is harmful. The mess caused by our sin needs correction. This correction is temporal punishment (Hebrews 12:5-11). We can be corrected and cleansed through personal penance on earth or later in Purgatory – thanks to our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. 14
True, Hebrews 12:5-11 speaks of correction or chastening but nowhere does the word of God speak of this as able to continue later in Purgatory.
In comparison to hell, Purgatory could rightly be described as Paradise.15
Maybe so, but compared to heaven Purgatory is hell.
Others may object by citing that Christ’s Blood ‘cleanses us from all sin.’ [1 John 1:7] Now that is true, but His sacrifice of redemption can be applied in different ways, such as through Baptism, Confession, prayer…Another way is Purgatory. 16
If it is true then we could have Christ’s redeeming blood applied to us in Purgatory. This would mean either that an unforgiving sinner could be saved in Purgatory or that, as the case appears to be, Christ’s Blood does not cleanses us from all sin since we must still suffer for them ourselves in this life and afterwards.