Question about Purgatory

This may be the wrong forum, please move if so.

I was reading one of the “Ask an Apologist” forums and there was one about what happens when the damned are resurrected Here and Father Vincent talked about a particular and a general judgement.

While I am still not convinced about Purgatory (though it is logical) I was curious if at the time of the general judgement are all in Purgatory released?

There will be no more purgatory. Just as with those still alive at the Resurrection - they can be purified in a moment.

(perhaps another aspect of “and the last will be first”…:))


I really don’t have anything to add to this, but I’d like to give a bit of a personal reflection on the nature of Purgatory, given that you are still struggling with it. I believe everything I’ve written here is in keeping with Church teaching; if someone sees something that isn’t, please let me know. ^^

Please remember that we know very little about Purgatory. We know that it is a necessity, nothing impure can enter Heaven, and at death we may still have lingering sins, or the consequences of sins, that need to be accounted for. We do not know if this will take any “time” at all, or if it will be instantaneous upon our death. We also don’t know how this purification takes place; Christ alludes to purification through flames several times throughout the Gospels, so that is how a lot of Catholics envision it. (That is also how St. Faustina described it from her private revelation, which is not binding, but very… well, frankly it’s frightening to read, but very impactful.)

We also do not know what kind of existence Purgatory is. We know it’s a spiritual reality, but we don’t know if it’s something analogous to Heaven and Hell (a spiritual “place”). I believe Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI described it as the piercing gaze of Christ, in which we cannot hide from the effects our sins have had on ourselves and on others. To put it simply, we won’t know this side of Heaven what Purgatory is like. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI may be completely wrong, and it may be a place of purification through pure flames, though lesser in degree than the eternal fires of the damned; or he could be completely right, and when we die we will be met with the unfiltered gaze of Christ himself, with our consciences laid bare before us, unclouded for the first time…

When you think about Purgatory, don’t think about it as one of three options; think of it as a connecting stop, in which we are purified and truly made Holy in God’s sight; not by some masking of our flawed human nature, but rather through the complete repair of our broken human state. In Purgatory, we are made fully human, the flaws sin has created are truly removed, and we are returned to the state of perfection God envisioned for us in the Garden. From Purgatory, once we are made perfect, we enter Heaven and spend eternity with our Lord, fully human (spiritually at first, and then physically after the resurrection) for the first time!

I don’t like to knit pick but you did say to check for any errors.

A very small one, if I may. We are NOT to think of it as 3 options. It’s 2 options. It’s either heaven or hell; purgatory is just a stop, not an option.

If it were an option, we’d all be going to heaven!

God bless you

Why could God purify us in an instant at the resurrection but we need purifying in purgatory at any other time???


Why is purgatory logical?
Why did Jesus die on the cross?


That is exactly what I as saying. You might have missed it, I did say a lot:

When you think about Purgatory, don’t think about it as one of three options; think of it as a connecting stop, in which we are purified and truly made Holy in God’s sight…

As to your question about immediate purification, God could do it because God can do whatever he wants. I actually think this question is one which lead Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to write that Purgatory may be instantaneous. As I said in my post, we do not know if it is instantaneous or not, we are using “physical” terms to describe something which is non-physical; and temporal terms to describe something that is without “time” as we understand it. Any way we describe it will always be less than the reality of what it is because we, as created beings in a physical, limited, existence, cannot comprehend the full nature of what we’re describing.

If Purgatory some something analogous to a “temporal” dimension, then that is the direct result of God’s will and decisions on how we are normally to be purified. He can always dispense with these requirements if he so desires. He’s God after all ^^

God is God :slight_smile:

It is not so much about what is “needed” in some absolute sense -but what God judges is “needed” - that is best for us.

And we really do not know what the purification by God of anyone is…tis not so much a “time thing” really.

It could happen in a seeming “moment” for others. We just do not know.

"Some recent theologians* are of the opinion that the fire which both burns and saves is Christ himself, the Judge and Saviour. The encounter with him is the decisive act of judgement. Before his gaze all falsehood melts away. This encounter with him, as it burns us, transforms and frees us, allowing us to become truly ourselves. All that we build during our lives can prove to be mere straw, pure bluster, and it collapses. Yet in the pain of this encounter, when the impurity and sickness of our lives become evident to us, there lies salvation. His gaze, the touch of his heart heals us through an undeniably painful transformation “as through fire”. But it is a blessed pain, in which the holy power of his love sears through us like a flame, enabling us to become totally ourselves and thus totally of God. In this way the inter-relation between justice and grace also becomes clear: the way we live our lives is not immaterial, but our defilement does not stain us for ever if we have at least continued to reach out towards Christ, towards truth and towards love. Indeed, it has already been burned away through Christ’s Passion. At the moment of judgement we experience and we absorb the overwhelming power of his love over all the evil in the world and in ourselves. The pain of love becomes our salvation and our joy. It is clear that we cannot calculate the “duration” of this transforming burning in terms of the chronological measurements of this world. The transforming “moment” of this encounter eludes earthly time-reckoning—it is the heart’s time, it is the time of “passage” to communion with God in the Body of Christ[39]. The judgement of God is hope, both because it is justice and because it is grace. If it were merely grace, making all earthly things cease to matter, God would still owe us an answer to the question about justice—the crucial question that we ask of history and of God. If it were merely justice, in the end it could bring only fear to us all. The incarnation of God in Christ has so closely linked the two together—judgement and grace—that justice is firmly established: we all work out our salvation “with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12). Nevertheless grace allows us all to hope, and to go trustfully to meet the Judge whom we know as our “advocate”, or parakletos (cf. 1 Jn 2:1). "

~ Pope Benedict XVI Spe Salvi

  • including himself before being Pope

Thank you ^^

Hello Bookcat,

Thanks so much for your answer and for the above.

Of course I agree with all of the above. But I could never understand it as many others do and I always wonder why.

I believe the transformation happens in our lifetime. Once we encounter God/Jesus some change must come about in our lives and to me that would be the transformation. The acceptance of the original divinity (dangerous word to use) God breathed into us way back in Genesis.

As for grace and justice. All well and good. God is a good God but He is also a just God.

But then, why did Jesus have to be sacrificed? Didn’t that take care of the justice sought by God? Did that not redeem us?

If you don’t care to answer, it’s okay. It’s a battle of mine and I’ve been told to just pray about it and keep reading up on it. Seems to make no difference.

God bless you

Sorry about that. I caught the 3 and many people refer to purgatory as a third option, which, as you know, is incorrect.

I know God can do anything He wants to. But look, even some catholic theologians are beginning to think that it might be instantaneous. But what’s instantaneous where there is no space or time? Maybe my idea (which I keep to myself, BTW, except for every now and then like now and when I spoke to my priest about it) is not so outlandish?

God bless you

Let St. Francis de Sales dispel your doubts about Purgatory:

He puts forward many weighty arguments in favour of Purgatory.

I’ve studied St. Francis de Sales. I’m staring at his writings: Philotea, Introduction to a Devout Life.

Trouble is, I have ideas of my own. Real theological ideas.

Will be reading your link.



I checked out your link and it’s the whole book! Couldn’t find it easily in chapter III, so I just looked it up on google.

Ran thru it quick. It’s all stuff I know already.

Hope you don’t think I’m a calvanist or arian! I’ve considered all this and I still wonder why Jesus had to die if we, anyway, have to purify our souls. Was His sacrifice not enough?

Just quick on one point:

De Sales says Jesus went to purgatory after he resurrected to free the slaves. Catholicism uses the OT verses to prove this doctrine. But check out the new testament on this too. Where did Jesus go after the resurrection? Wasn’t it to Abraham’s bossom to free all the people that had been waiting for the redemption from the beginning? I think you’ll find that I’m correct. We made the doctrine of purgatory after the resurrection and used proof texts accordingly. But this is not where the old fathers were waiting.

Check out: Luke 16:19-22.
Is Abraham’s bossom purgatory? No. It is a place of comfort where they were awaiting the redemption.

Not trying to convince you, just explaining my dilemma.

God bless

It’s okay. Let’s not get too into this. I thank you for your thoughfulness.


I think that was posted for the OP, not for you :wink:

Yes transformation happens in our lifetime here. Yes such begins with Baptism and Faith - with encounter with Christ - the sanctification of the Holy Spirit and our cooperation with grace (asceticism, prayer, reception of the Sacraments etc) and can be in a real sense completed by God for us in this life time via various passive workings of purification. However for many many persons need further purification by Jesus before entry into the beatific vision - they are just not ready yet - could not take it!

Yes the Sacrifice - Jesus laying down himself on the cross - and his resurrection did redeem us - we are now a NEW CREATION already via faith and baptism- We passed from death to true life!!.. and we are restored or assisted by the other Sacraments such as Confession.

Now we are called to be more and more holy - saints called to be more and more saints! If someone when right from Baptism to beatific Vision that is one thing - but most of us live much longer and there are effects of sin in us and our world - and there is the heights to aim for - to be more and more transformed in Christ. To more and more put on Jesus and walk in the Spirit.

I think you must have read the bible sometimes!

Above is beautiful, and uplifting.

God bless you


Still getting used to this.

God bless you