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24 Dec 2014 Q&A Comments (5)

Do devout Jews believe in purgatory?

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The Confession of a Former Lutheran Pastor titled “Why I Am Becoming Catholic …"

For thirty years I labored away in parish ministry as a Lutheran pastor. Then for another four years, I was a district dean for the North American Lutheran Church (a supervisory work I enjoyed about as much as tooth decay).

Now, as I write this in the run-up to Holy Week, I am about to become a Roman Catholic, along with my wife; me for the first time and her for the second.

You may blame her for my conversion (though I think of it as a natural transition, as you’ll see). She was raised Roman Catholic and became Lutheran. Her father was raised Lutheran and became Catholic. Life is a darn strange thing at times. Her father died two years ago, and in the throes of watching that good man give up his life to ALS, she felt a tug back to her childhood faith.

To my surprise — hers too, I think — I said I’d tag along. Actually, it wasn’t much of a surprise to me. From seminary on as I became enmeshed in the Lutheran confessional documents from the sixteenth century, I progressively became more catholic in my thinking. What I sought for my faith was an ecclesial density; the feeling that there is a “there" there. The state of Lutheran church bodies in America simply does not approach it.

But it isn’t only out of disappointment as a Lutheran that I am becoming Roman Catholic. There is conviction behind this move. That rises along several avenues.

1) Some of my seminary class work, back in the late 1970s, was done at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Ohio. I had classes in Sacramentology and Marian studies, taught by two old school Jesuits. I found myself in a classroom, the lone Lutheran surrounded by a horde of Salesian seminarians. It was exciting.

What impressed me was how close Lutherans and Catholics really are in basic doctrines and in the respective theological formulations. We ― Romans and Lutherans ― do theology alike, and possibly in a way nobody else does. We pay close attention to our words. Each word is weighed and compared to alternative words that might be used but pose less precision. Precision in wording, it seems, will keep us out of theological hell, and if the exact words aren’t the exactly proper words placed in the exact proper order, well, do not doubt it, we are all certainly doomed.

When you think about it, it’s actually a pretty charming approach. It also means that when Lutherans and Catholics do sit down together, they have a common language and speaking it together often results in surprising outcomes, as in 1999 with the doctrine of justification.

That’s one level. At the parish level, there is no consistency in how catholic a Lutheran congregation will be or can be. It’s that density thing I mentioned; pointedly, Catholics got it, Lutherans don’t.

2) When my wife said she was thinking of turning Roman again, I started wondering just how Lutheran I still remained. I had the influence of Fr. Richard John Neuhaus tugging at me. I was his successor at Forum Letter, a Lutheran publication he edited for 16 years (I did him a year better). In his years as a Catholic priest he would often nudge me, come home. The last correspondence we exchanged was on that topic. After his death there were a couple nights in my dreams when he whopped me upside the head because I hadn’t done it. The man had, in his Lutheran years, deep impact on my pastoral life as a Lutheran, and that only intensified in the years he was a priest. I enjoy telling people I discovered Neuhaus wheedles as well dead as he ever did alive.

The more I thought things through the more I realized most of the Lutheran clerics I admired most — and with whom I enjoyed the comradery of the Lutheran pastorate — had, one by one, left for Rome. It seemed I knew as many priests as I did pastors, and after a while, not a few of those pastors had became priests. There I was on the shore, hailing good-bye as they left.

For a short while after Neuhaus’ death I helped edit the magazine he founded, First Things. Though not explicitly Catholic, it is usually regarded that way. For the last six years, coming up on seven, I have been a regular columnist at the website; I was a Lutheran writer; now I’m a Catholic writer.

3) It became very easy for me to become Roman Catholic. But the key of course is not convenience, but conviction. I came to believe that the essence, more like fullness, of the Church of Christ is found in churches in communion with the Church of Rome.

I reject nothing of being a Lutheran. That is the transition, not the conversion; I am moving, but the Christian faith that has marked my life is coming with me. I learned my prayers as a Lutheran, memorized the catechism, and when I was struggling out of the well of agnosticism tending to atheism every third or fourth day, God put in my life some challenging, passionate, authentic Lutheran pastors who taught me well. For a guy who in those years did not believe Christ was raised, it was in a Lutheran community founded in the Resurrection of Christ that I first believed there had been a resurrection. What may I do with that, save give God praise?

Being a Catholic isn’t a finished job — not for me, not for any of us, as I think about it. We do not occupy a perfected Church. But then it is not our job to make it perfect; that’s God’s responsibility. But we are promised a holy Church being perfected. There are always discoveries of faith awaiting each of us.

 

Russell E. Saltzman is a web columnist at First Things and lives in Kansas City, Missouri. He can be reached on Twitter: @RESaltzman.

Written by Russell E. Saltzman
Aleteia.org writer









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58 comments

  1. Peter Spasic Reply

    Interesting reading… May I ask, what was your understanding, as a Lutheran, about purgatory?
    Now, as a Catholic, I wonder if you would mind granting me your understanding on the following questions regarding purgatory.
    Does a priest decide whether someone has gone to purgatory or heaven? If so, how does he know?
    When mass is said for someone who has died, is that because they are assumed to be in purgatory?
    Are masses said for those who (are assumed to) have gone straight to heaven? But again, how does the priest know?
    How does the church know when a soul has finally been purified and released into heaven? For how many days/months/years are masses/prayers for the dead continued?
    What about those who may be in purgatory for whom no one prays? Do the merits of the “saints" help them?
    If purgatory and the associated beliefs are true, then why is it not taught loudly and plainly in the New Testament? Passage such as 1 Corinthians 3:11–15 and Matthew 5:25–26
    I have been to a number of masses for the dead where the priest prayed that God will forgive them – yet have never heard the priest mention purgatory.
    Finally, doesn’t the teaching on purgatory imply that Jesus did not pay for ALL the sins of those who “have received Him"- John 1:13. If our sins can be atoned for ONLY by the blood of the Lamb of God, how can merits of saints and prayers of living sinners atone for unforgiven sins? (because to be still “imperfectly purified" must means some sins have not been atoned for.)

    To whom does Jude 24 apply? Those who have gone straight to heaven?

    1. Michael Reply

      Great questions. I know they’re directed at the author, but I can try my best to help clarify a few of them. To your first point, a priest doesn’t know nor decide who is in purgatory, heaven, or hell. All judgement is reserved for God. With the rare exception when the Church as a whole canonizes a Saint (after a rigorous process of confirming miracles and investigating the most detailed aspects of their private and spiritual life) but even that is done by the Church, not a single priest and usually this process must wait something like 6 years to begin (I might be wrong on timing, but it does require a waiting period).

      Masses are said for the dead with no assumption whatsoever with regards to the “location” of their soul, but simply that God will purify his/her soul and they may be received into heaven. The only assumption we have when we celebrate a mass for the dead is that they were an imperfect person that carried into death the tarnish of sin and our hopes are that they will be purified (if they aren’t already, again this is complicated because time is a very earthly element that doesn’t necessarily fit in with the spiritual realm) and eventually enter heaven if they haven’t already. Think of it as how you pray for someone you love going through a hard time not knowing whether at that very moment everything has been resolved or not, the prayer is still righteous.

      There are no people in purgatory that go without prayers. Every single day, every Catholic mass that is said includes the words “for those who have fallen asleep in the hope of the Resurrection and all who have died in Your mercy”. In other words, we pray for those who believed in Christ’s Resurrection and for the rest who maybe didn’t and therefore their souls are left to God’s mercy. Again, this indicates that we have no idea where their souls will rest for eternity, but that we continue to pray for EVERY ONE OF THEM regardless.

      As for the Biblical basis for purgatory, there are a few references in Maccabees (which you may or may not believe is part of the Bible depending on your church), but Rabbinic interpretations of the Zechariah 13:9 at the time of Christ indicate that they indeed had a belief that souls could be cleansed and purified after death. But remember, the Catholic Church also believes in revealed Truth through the Holy Spirit’s guidance, as opposed to “Sola Scriptura.” Now that doesn’t mean we can have beliefs that contradict the Bible, but it does mean that the fullness of Truth can be slowly revealed over time through Christ’s Church on earth. Arguably the most convincing argument I’ve read comes from C.S. Lewis when he wrote: “Our souls demand Purgatory, don’t they? Would it not break the heart if God said to us, ‘It is true, my son, that your breath smells and your rags drip with mud and slime, but we are charitable here and no one will upbraid you with these things, nor draw away from you. Enter into the joy’? Should we not reply, ‘With submission, sir, and if there is no objection, I’d rather be cleaned first.’ ‘It may hurt, you know’ – ‘Even so, sir.'”

      Yes, Christ’s death atoned for all sins, this is without a doubt. But I think that you’re line of thought would also imply that we should have no suffering whatsoever and would not need to be moving closer to Christ through our human life either. Christ clearly states that to follow him we must pick up our cross–we must do something; act; work; endure suffering; grow in our faith in Him. In a way, purgatory can quite easily fall in line with this as a way of suffering to purify our souls after death. Otherwise, it would seem that one would have to argue that ALL people are atoned for, not just those that believe in Christ and follow his teachings. Christ atoned all our sins, but we must choose to accept that atonement and go through the process of carrying his cross in this life and the next to realize that attainment.

      I’m not a PhD in theology or a priest. Would take my response with a grain of salt. I just love reading the teachings of the Church and the beauty in how they all tie so cleanly together, free of contradiction and full of love. So please, if anything I’ve said is incorrect, I would love to hear back.

      God Bless and keep searching for the Truth!

      1. Peter Spasic Reply

        Thanks for you reply… I thought my reply would be clearer if I just inserted comments (UPPER CASE) within your reply…
        Here goes…
        Great questions. I know they’re directed at the author, but I can try my best to help clarify a few of them. To your first point, a priest doesn’t know nor decide who is in purgatory, heaven, or hell. All judgement is reserved for God. With the rare exception when the Church as a whole canonizes a Saint (after a rigorous process of confirming miracles and investigating the most detailed aspects of their private and spiritual life) but even that is done by the Church, not a single priest and usually this process must wait something like 6 years to begin (I might be wrong on timing, but it does require a waiting period). DOESN’T THAT MEAN THAT THE VAST MAJORITY OF SOULS ARE STILL IN PURGATORY?
        Masses are said for the dead with no assumption whatsoever with regards to the “location" of their soul, but simply that God will purify his/her soul and they may be received into heaven. The only assumption we have when we celebrate a mass for the dead is that they were an imperfect person that carried into death the tarnish of sin and our hopes are that they will be purified (if they aren’t already, again this is complicated because time is a very earthly element that doesn’t necessarily fit in with the spiritual realm) and eventually enter heaven if they haven’t already. Think of it as how you pray for someone you love going through a hard time not knowing whether at that very moment everything has been resolved or not, the prayer is still righteous. PRAYING FOR THE DEAD IS NOT SAME AS PRAYING FOR LIVING PEOPLE. PAUL ASKED THE EPHESIANS (6:18) TO PRAY FOR HIM AND OTHER CHRISTIANS – NOWHERE IS PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD MENTIONED – I BELIEVE BECAUSE ONCE A PERSON HAS DIED THEIR ETERNAL DESTINY IS ALREADY DECIDED – NO SECOND CHANCE OR HALFWAY PLACE (LUKE 16:19-31 AND HEBREWS 9:27)
        There are no people in purgatory that go without prayers. Every single day, every Catholic mass that is said includes the words “for those who have fallen asleep in the hope of the Resurrection and all who have died in Your mercy". In other words, we pray for those who believed in Christ’s Resurrection and for the rest who maybe didn’t and therefore their souls are left to God’s mercy. Again, this indicates that we have no idea where their souls will rest for eternity, DOES THAT MEAN THAT SOMEONE IN PURGATORY CAN STILL GO TO HELL? but that we continue to pray for EVERY ONE OF THEM regardless.
        As for the Biblical basis for purgatory, there are a few references in Maccabees (which you may or may not believe is part of the Bible depending on your church), but Rabbinic BUT NOT NEW TESTAMENT SCHOLARS interpretations of the Zechariah 13:9 at the time of Christ indicate that they indeed had a belief that souls could be cleansed and purified after death. But remember, the Catholic Church also believes in revealed Truth through the Holy Spirit’s guidance, as opposed to “Sola Scriptura." Now that doesn’t mean we can have beliefs that contradict the Bible, but it does mean that the fullness of Truth can be slowly revealed over time through Christ’s Church on earth. Arguably the most convincing argument I’ve read comes from C.S. Lewis HE WAS JUST AN IMPERFECT MAN WHO HELD SOME UNORTHODOX VIEWS – COULDN’T THIS BE ONE? when he wrote: “Our souls demand Purgatory, don’t they? Would it not break the heart if God said to us, ‘It is true, my son, that your breath smells and your rags drip with mud and slime, but we are charitable here and no one will upbraid you with these things, nor draw away from you. Enter into the joy’? Should we not reply, ‘With submission, sir, and if there is no objection, I’d rather be cleaned first.’ ‘It may hurt, you know’ – ‘Even so, sir.’" BUT IF IT SO IMPORTANT WHY IS IT NOT TAUGHT PLAINLY IN THE NT?
        Yes, Christ’s death atoned for all sins of HIS PEOPLE MATTHEW 1:21 NOT EVERY SINGLE PERSON JOHN 637-44, this is without a doubt. But I think that you’re line of thought would also imply that we should have no suffering OUR SUFFERING IS THE RESULT OF FOLLOWING JESUS MATTHEW 5:10-12 AND PAUL IN ACTS 9:16 – NOT SO THAT WE CAN BECOME MORE PURE OR CERTAINLY SAVED whatsoever and would not need to be moving closer to Christ through our human life either. Christ clearly states that to follow him we must pick up our cross–we must do something BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN SAVED, NOT IN ORDER TO BE SAVED OR MAINTAIN SALVATION ; act; work PHILIPPIANS 2:12 WORK OUT, NOT FOR YOUR SALVATION; endure suffering; grow in our faith in Him. In a way, purgatory can quite easily fall in line with this as a way of suffering to purify our souls after death HUMAN REASONING – STILL NOT PLAIN FROM SCRIPTURE. Otherwise, it would seem that one would have to argue that ALL NO – HE DIED ONLY FOR THOSE WHO WOULD COME TO BELIEVE IN HIM – HIS SHEEP; CHRIST DID NOT PAY FOR THOSE WHOM THE FATHER HAS NOT DRAWN JOHN 6:37-44 – IN JOHN 3:13 MAKES IT CLEAR NOT ALL ARE ATONED FOR, ONLY THE BELIEVING ONES people are atoned for, not just those that believe in Christ and follow his teachings. Christ atoned all our sins, but we must choose to accept that atonement and go through the process of carrying his cross TRULY ‘CARRYING OUR CROSS’ IS EVIDENCE THAT WE ARE HIS, NOT SO THAT WE CAN BE SAVED – WHEN JESUS SAID WE MUST TAKE UP OUR CROSS HE WAS SAYING THAT IT WOULD NOT BE EASY, BUT HE DID NOT SAY THAT BY TAKING UP OUR CROSS WOULD SAVE US – IF WE ARE TRULY BORN AGAIN WE WILL CARRY IT. IF WE ARE CARRYING OUR CROSS IT MEANS THAT WE ALREADY HAVE IDENTIFIED WITH OUR SAVIOUR in this life and the next to realize that attainment.
        I’m not a PhD in theology or a priest. Would take my response with a grain of salt. I just love reading the teachings of the Church and the beauty in how they all tie so cleanly together, free of contradiction and full of love. So please, if anything I’ve said is incorrect, I would love to hear back.
        God Bless and keep searching for the Truth!
        FINALLY – I STILL SEE NO CLEAR NEW TESTAMENT SUPPORT FOR PURGATORY, NEED FOR PRE-HEAVEN PURIFICATION OR PRAYING TO GOD, MARY AND THE “SAINTS" ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED. SURELY IT SHOULD BE A MAJOR DOCTRINE.
        BTW “SAINTS" IN THE NEW TESTAMENT ARE JUST ORDINARY CHRISTIANS (EPHESIANS 1:2;
        ACTS 9:13, 32, 41 AND 26:10; 1 CORINTHIANS 1:2 – NOT CANONIZED DEAD PEOPLE.

    2. binu Reply

      please read these 2 books – ROME SWEET HOME by scott & kimberley hahn, and, BORN FUNDAMENTALIST, BORN AGAIN CATHOLIC by david b. currie. u will get all your answers there. no Priest decides how long a person is in Purgatory. and no one can say when a soul leaves Purgatory for Heaven. no one in the Catholic Church makes such claims either. we just pray for all the dead, that’s all. things such as, who’s in Purgatory & who’s in Heaven, are not the main things here. people who hate the Catholic Church usually hate what THEY themselves WRONGLY PERCEIVE TO BE The Catholic Church, not the REAL Catholic Church!!! Catholicism is the ONLY denomination that follows the teachings of the Apostles & the First Christians, to this day; all other denominations follow people like martin luther & calvin who came just a few centuries back. the problem is that we catholics are not good examples to others; so the whole of catholicism is being questioned by others. it would be prudent to remember that it is the Church which gave the world the Bible, not the other way around. the Apostles & the First Christians sat together & prayed & discussed & then decided which all books will form the Bible. infact, for the first few decades after Jesus’ Ascension, there was no written material even. it was Holy Tradition they held on to. people who blast the Catholic Church ought to read a bit of history & check the facts before making accusations. most of these accustaions are based on presumptions rather than facts… please check history…

      1. Peter Spasic Reply

        “Apostles & the First Christians sat together & prayed & discussed & then decided which all books will form the Bible"
        But the apostles had all died by about 96 AD. True the canon of accepted inspired scripture was not completed until some time after. However, the New Testament as eventually agreed upon (Matthew to Revelation) still does not clearly include the doctrines of purgatory, masses for the departed, the role of Mary and the “saints" (Ephesians 1:1 – all true believers are saints), If these doctrines can be classed as “Holy" then wouldn’t they have been somehow included in the NT?
        Regarding Luther and others, we must remember what system they had to come out of. They had their serious failings, but God still used them to separate true Christians out of what was the visible church. The reformers were nearly all originally Catholic in name, but who saw through the errors of teaching and practice.

        1. binu Reply

          dear brother in Christ,

          your genuine search is to be greatly appreciated! u will find all you need in these 2 books – ROME SWEET HOME by scott & kimberly hahn, and BORN FUNDAMENTALIST, BORN AGAIN CATHOLIC by david b. currie.

          though i was a born-Catholic, i was not interested in any religion and i did not understand Catholicism much though parents used to make me attend Mass regularly; its just that i was not interested. i did believe there was a God and that was enough for me. probably bcz things were going ok for me, and maybe since i had many very close friends from other religions, i was happy to believe that all religions ultimately led to the same God. i did not dig deep into any religion. it was when my world crumbled mid-life, that i began to genuinely search for God. and ironically, a Hindu and a Muslim helped me find Jesus. then i was happy to believe that the various Christian denominations were different flowers in God’s beautiful garden. i began to dislike the accusations Christian denominations made at each other, maybe bcz the books and lives of Potestants billy graham, derek prince and others helped me, and bcz i loved them as much as i loved the Catholic writers and Preachers. all through, i had my own personal miraculous experiences with the Holy Mass and the Holy Rosary, and it made me wonder. it was then that i got to read the 2 above mentioned books. that made me a real Catholic. all my doubts were cleared. today i live a super-natural life. a genuine Catholic life is a super-natural life… now i understand that, like in all other religions, there is truth in all Christian denominations also; but the FULLNESS OF TRUTH lies in the Catholic Church. true, many Catholics are not good witnesses; but that does not nullify Catholicism… just bcz many Catholics are not good witnesses, does not make Catholicism fully wrong…

          if Protestants are being led by the Holy Spirit as they claim, how come u can be so many denominations??!! the Holy Spirit is not a Spirit of division. He is a Spirit of unity. Protestants themselves do not know how many denominations they are!!! admitted that we Catholics do fight a lot among ourselves, but we are still ONLY ONE Church past 2,015+ years. we don’t claim credit for this either. the Holy Spirit kept us together and still keeps us together… i know many Protestant churches that have only 5 or 6 people in it. most have split not bcz of any doctrinal differences, but over friction between individuals. and most Protestants i know are more interested in converting Catholics who already know Christ, rather than going and preaching Christ to people who have never heard of Christ! u all claim to know the Bible very well – Jesus said He will build His Church on Peter, a PERSON. Jesus did not mention any BOOK on which He would build His Church, bcz the Bible was not there at that time. each Protestant group interprets each Verse as he/ she wishes. each one takes up the Bible and goes and forms a church! can any Protestant church claim a legacy back to st. peter?! the ONLY Church on earth which can trace back to st. peter is the Catholic Church!!! and many Protestant churches are changing rules according to the demands of the times. u don’t see that in the Catholic Church – that’s not bcz She’s outdated, but bcz She STILL holds on loyally to the teachings of Jesus, the Apostles and the First Christians even today, despite all the criticisms and brickbats and accusations.

          anyway, during the end times, all churches will become one. then everyone will anyway come to know which the true Church is. u can see that happening already…

        2. Chukwuemeka Ndubisi Reply

          One shouldn’t expect the sacred traditions to be included in the New Testament. If one does not accept the book of Maccabeus as a part of the bible, it is impossible for that person to accept any other book in the New Testament. As for the early Christians, it is commonsense that there was no break in the existence of the world. They handed the teaching over to people who lived and listened to them. We live in the 21st century and it seems to us that they existed without teaching people who lived with them. Those they taught actually dropped some writings for us but when we cut ourselves off from the Church of God, we lose access to such writings.

          Purgatory is everywhere in the bible as we read in Matthew 5:25-26. May I remind you that the word “prison” means “phulake” in Greek and it is in that same Phulake (temporary holding place) that Jesus was when he died to free imprisoned souls (1Pet3:9). Could he have freed souls in hell? Or did souls in heaven need any form of freedom on Jesus’ resurrection?

          We strongly believe that there is forgiveness after death as we can read in Matthew 12:32. If there is forgiveness in the age to come, who would plead for the dead? Is the forgiveness for the souls in hell or in heaven?

          When it comes to how long do we pray for a dead person, the bible tells us in 1Kings8:39 that God alone knows the hearts of men. Therefore the enormity of sin or the culpability of others is not ours to determine. Our duty is to pray for the dead. Also we know from 1John5:16-17 that we need to pray for those in purgatory as they did not commit sins that lead to death.

          May God open the eyes of our hearts and drive away misology in our life

          1. Nils

            There is nothing that implies that φυλακή means “temporary holding place.” Temporary for Christ, sure, but there’s no guarantee that the souls in prison aren’t “lifers.” The φυλακή is a place where one is watched by guards (φυλάκες).

    3. binu Reply

      ya, Protestants throw out half the Books of the Bible and then ask questions about where Purgatory is in the Bible!!! the concept of Purgatory is in the Books Martin Luther so coolly threw out. who gave Martin Luther the right to remove these Books??!! you people SAY you know the Bible thoroughly – well! have you not read what is written in Rev.22:18-19? or has Martin Luther thrown that also out??!!

      Rev.22:18-19 – I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophesy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book; if anyone takes away from the words of this prophesy, God will take away that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

      now don’t tell me “this book” mentioned in these verses mean only the Book of Revelation!!! [ya, you can interpret it that way also if that is what you want!!!]

      as you rightly said, most of the Reformists were originally Catholics. you say they LEFT the Catholic Church bcz they found faults in it. well! many others like st. fancis assisi and others also found many faults in it, but they DID NOT LEAVE the Church and form new churches in order to put things right. they STAYED in the Church and reformed Her from the inside and thus proved that you don’t have to LEAVE the Church if you are keen to reform Her. its like one writer said, “You don’t jump out of the ship just bcz you don’t like the Captain of the ship, do you?!”

      first and foremost, the 2 tenets on which the whole Reformation [and all the ensuing christian denominations] stands – SOLA SCRIPTURA and SOLA FIDE – they are themselves un-scriptural!!! then what is the use of going on asking, “Where is it in the Bible? Where is it in the Bible?” you people who have only HALF the Bible – how can you even ask, “Where is it in the Bible?” really!!! you have only half the Bible and you ask, “Where is it in the Bible?” your question itself is wrong – you ought to ask, “Where is it in our ‘half-the-Bible’?”

      we ought to realize the scandal our disunity causes to people outside Christiandom. there have been times when people from other religions have told me, “First, you Christians decide among yourselves, which of you are telling the Truth. then you come and tell us about the Truth. each of you say different things. what are we to believe?! if there is only ONE Holy Spirit as you say, why are you all not ONE?!”

      1. vy Reply

        Where there is peace, Than thats where God is. Find peace go to THE Church, go places go to visit. You will seek and search for the truth. But dont doubt it and you will find. Come fight with us. With virtues and prayer. Dont let irritation get to you if you do than you are sick. Next year is Our Lady of Fatima 100th year APPearance that if we go to Church for the first 5 saturdays of the month, pray the Rosary (asking or spoken tothrough intercession and pondering on each mystery) and pray for conversion of Russia for World Peace. But everything went backwards for almost 100 year. Now in 2017 is the 100th year. Im gonna do my best to go to MASS every first Saturday of the month. God Bless

      2. Peter Spasic Reply

        Hi Binu
        Thanks for replying

        Without getting into other issues you mentioned, I just have TWO questions – questions that no one has so far explained to me…

        FIRST, accepting for a moment that Protestants have only half the Bible, then if the doctrines of Mary as queen and co-mediatrix and purgatory and praying for the souls therein are so important, then what scriptures that Luther etc rejected, or what other sources (traditions) teach these doctrines? Does the apocrypha teach that Mary has an intercessory role in our salvation?
        Regarding purgatory, Luke 16 (Lazarus and the rich man) certainly seems to suggest there is no halfway state between hell and heaven. The rich man was told there was an impassable gulf. And he could not have been in purgatory if there was no hope of escape. Also 1 Corinthians 15:29 does not say that baptism on behalf of the dead is valid.

        Second, if these doctrines ARE so important, wouldn’t they have been taught, or been referred to, in the letters of Paul, Peter, John, James and Jude? The half Bible that you claim we use seems to be silent on these issues.
        And by the way, John 20:30 and 21:25 refer to other signs that Jesus did, not other teachings that He taught.

        I have been advised to read a couple of Catholic books on these subjects, but I really would like to hear how a typical Catholic would explain these beliefs.

        1. binu Reply

          dear Peter,
          your genuine search is to be greatly appreciated…

          as long as u hold on to the two un-scriptural Reformation tenets – SOLA SCRIPTURA and SOLA FIDE, u will not understand the Catholic beliefs regarding Mary or the Purgatory, or ANY of the other Catholic beliefs; we can just go on arguing and arguing and continue to be a scandal to non-Christians, that’s all. Catholicism is based equally on Holy Tradition AND the Holy Bible. u all say u know the Bible very well – tell me, where in the Bible [our full Bible or your “half-Bible” or any other “Bible” of any denomination] is it mentioned that we must believe ONLY the Bible?! there is not ONE Verse in the Bible that tells us to believe ONLY in the Bible. Jesus is much more than the Bible!!! the Bible itself says Jesus did many more things and that all of it cannot be written down. but this same Bible itself exhorts us, in 2 places, to hold on to Tradition. i hope u have those Verses in your “half-Bible”. if u check history, u will understand that almost each Book of the Bible was written years after it was orally in circulation. that is what is called Holy Tradition. if we discounted Holy Tradition, we would not have most of the Books of the Bible – u know that, don’t u? as long as u cannot accept Holy Tradition, u cannot understand Catholicism. there’s no point arguing and arguing; its just a waste of time.

          why r u so adamant that u want to hear the answers from the mouth of a practising Catholic itself?! why can’t u accept the humble suggestion to read the two books that cleared all my doubts? it is my general experience with Protestants – they will never accept a book i give them but will keep pestering me with all the books they have!!! why are Protestants so afraid to read Catholic writers?! are u afraid you’d become a Catholic? many staunch Catholics i know, read Protestant writers like billy graham and derek prince and ravi zacharias etc.; we r not afraid we’d lose our Catholic faith! i personally have a good collection of Protestant books. why this difference?! have u ever wondered??!! in that case, u r more interested in holding on to Protestantism than in knowing the TRUTH. isn’t that the fear?

          really!! i never like getting into an argument with a Protestant bcz it usually never reaches anywhere. when one question is answered, they will come up with another. when that is given an explanation, they will prop up the next question. and it goes on and on and usually never ends. Protestants have a lot of questions, i think, bcz u have only half the Bible. u never seem to have the ANSWERS. why?! why is it that all the answers HAVE TO BE ultimately given by Catholics??? have u wondered?! scott hahn rightly said, “PROTESTANTS LIVE BIBLE-CENTRED LIVES AND CATHOLICS LIVE EUCHARISTIC-CENTRED LIVES. PROTESTANTS HAVE THE MENU AND CATHOLICS HAVE THE MEAL. PROTESTANTS DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE READING AND CATHOLICS DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE EATING!!!” that aptly sums up the followers of Christ!!! Catholics r equally to be blamed for this situation [including me; i too am not a good example or anything].

          Brother, u will find all u want and more, in scott and kimberly hahn’s ROME SWEET HOME and david b. currie’s BORN FUNDAMENTALIST, BORN AGAIN CATHOLIC. they cannot be called “Catholic books”. the first half of these books r quite Protestant in nature. they are more “testimony books” – they also had the same questions u have and how they found the answers. all Protestants have the same questions – but these questions cannot be answered with your “half-Bible”. u need the complete Holy Bible AND Holy Tradition to answer your questions. ever wondered why u don’t find too many Catholics going around asking, “Where is it in the Bible? Where is it in the Bible?” well! that’s bcz Catholicism seems to have ALL the answers!!! Catholics seem more content whereas i find Protestants still searching and searching like they have lost something…

          [any idea who these three people – scott hahn, kimberly hahn and david b. currie – are?]

        2. binu Reply

          Arguing with Protestants is something I always refrain from – anyway…

          As long as u hold on to the two un-Scriptural Reformation tenets of SOLA SCRIPTURA and SOLA FIDE, u will never understand what Catholics say or what they believe in. as long as u hold on to martin luther’s “half-Bible", u will not understand Catholicism. But IF you are searching for the REAL TRUTH and IF you are ready to look beyond martin luther’s “half-Bible" and IF you are really OPEN to the leadings of the Holy Spirit even if He might lead u out of your comfort-zone, THEN maybe u will understand WHY we believe in the things we profess to believe in.

          First and foremost, Catholics believe in BOTH the Holy Bible [the Bible as handed down from the apostles and the first-Christians] AND Holy Tradition equally. A lot of our beliefs are NOT in martin luther’s “half-Bible". So there’s no point in u asking where Mary or Purgatory is in your “half-Bible".

          We will have to begin at the beginning – as to WHERE the Bible came from, in the first place, why Catholics have 73 Books, why Catholics don’t believe in the Bible ALONE. Only AFTER this, can we even begin to talk of where Purgatory is in the Catholic Bible, why Catholics pray for the dead, about Mary and Saints etc. Bcz, as long as we don’t sort out the SOLA SCRIPTURA issue, we just cannot talk of ANY of the Catholic beliefs. We will just be going in rounds and rounds and arguing for argument’s sake, which I want to refrain from. It will be just a waste of time and hurting one another’s feelings…

          [U might need a Catholic Bible to understand what i am writing here.]

          Where did the Bible come from? Some points that might help u:

          In the Book of Nehemiah, Ezra the priest, reads aloud to the people of Jerusalem from “the book of the law of Moses" [Neh.8:1] – sacred texts that now comprise the first 5 Books of our Bible. Where did these and the other Books in Scripture come from? The Bible didn’t fall from Heaven, whole and entire. It’s actually a collection of divinely inspired [literally, “God-breathed" – see 2 Tim.3:16] Books produced over hundreds of years by human authors and editors. We can identify the writers of some of these texts [see, for example, Lk.1:1-4, 1 Cor.1:1-3]. But for many others, the identity of the composers has been lost to history.

          Numerous ancient books claimed to be divinely inspired. But only 73 were chosen for inclusion in the Scriptural “Canon" [literally, the “measuring stick" by which all else is judged]. So, who had the power to discern and the authority to declare which books belong in the Bible? Ultimately, that role was played by the “Magesterium" [authoritative teaching office] of the Catholic Church, acting in light of the broader Apostolic Tradition. Though there was broad agreement among Early Christians about which Books belonged to the Bible, the agreement was not absolute. Some important Church Fathers regarded as un-Scriptural certain Books that are currently in the Canon of the New Testament. Others, equally eminent, thought that certain books not now in the New Testament Canon, were part of the inspired revelation. The first Church Father to list the currently accepted 27 New Testament Books was St. Athanasius in 367.
          So, who settled the issue? SEVERAL REGIONAL Church Councils in the latter part of the 4th Century [in 387,392, 393] listed the books of the Canon as we now know it. Their pronouncements were UNIVERSALLY ACCEPTED until the Protestant Reformation challenged them, more than 11 Centuries later! In response, the Canon was re-affirmed by the Catholic Ecumenical Council of Trent in 1546. This HISTORICAL REALITY presents a difficulty for those who believe that Scripture alone [SOLA SCRIPTURA] is the ultimate authority for Christian faith and life. Clearly, the Church and Apostolic Tradition are EQUALLY NECESSARY; without them, we WOULD NOT even KNOW which books belong to the Bible!!

          Related Scripture – Jn.20:30, Jn.21:25, Acts 2:42, 2 Thes.2:15, 2 Thes.3:6 [with Gal.1:9 and 1 Thes.2:13], 2 Tim.1:13-14, 2Tim.2:2. Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC] – 80 to 82, 101 to 107, 119 to 127, 131, 135 to 141, 304, 572, 688, 702.

          Why the Catholic Bible has 73 Books: some points:

          Baruch is one of the 7 Old Testament Books found in Catholic Bibles but not in Protestant ones. Catholics call them the “Deutero-canonical" [literally, “second canon"] Books; Protestants call them the “Apocryphal" [literally, “hidden" – thus “unknown, spurious"] Books. In addition to Baruch, these Books include Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom [or, Wisdom of Solomon], and Sirach [or, Ecclesiasticus]. These Deutero-canonical Books were included in the Septuagint, a 3rd Century BC Greek translation of the Old Testament, which served as the Scriptures of the apostles and the generations that followed them. The earliest Greek manuscripts of the Old Testament – such as Codex Sinaiticus [4th Century] and Codex Alexandrinus [c.450] – include the Deutero-canonical Books mixed in with the others. Church Councils at Hippo [393] and Carthage [397 and 419] listed these Books [and the other 66] as Scripture, endorsing what had become the general belief of the Universal Church [“Catholic" comes from “catholikos" which means “universal"]. The Council of Trent confirmed this Canon in the 16th Century.

          How did Protestant Christians LOSE these Books from THEIR Bibles? The influential Protestant reformer, martin luther, deleted them! Though he insisted that Scripture MUST BE the sole authority for the Christian faith, when Scriptural texts did not support HIS TEACHING, he tended to deny the authority of those Books in which these texts were found!!! The Deutero-canonical Books include passages that support the practice of offering prayers and sacrifices for the dead – and by extension, the doctrine of Purgatory as well [see 2 Macc.12:39-46]. Luther rejected this ancient teaching and practice of the Church, so he denied these Books a place in the Protestant canon!

          The Books of the “Second Canon" are similar in style to other Old Testament Books. Wisdom and Sirach are much like Proverbs. Tobit is in somewhat the same literary category as the Book of Job. Judith is comparable to Esther [2 heroic Hebrew women who helped save their people]. First and Second Maccebees are historical narratives like the Books of Kings and Chronicles. And Baruch is prophetic literature, akin to Jeremiah.

          The New Testament closely reflects the thought of the Deutero-canonical Books in many passages. For example, Rev.1:4 and 8:3-4 appear to make reference to Tobit 12:15. St.paul, in 1 Cor.15:29, seems to have 2 Macc.12:44 in mind, and Heb.11:35 mirrors the thought of 2 Macc. 7:29.

          U will find more explanation about this in CCC – 120, 138.

          I still cannot understand how a practising Christian like martin luther can ever tamper with the Bible that came down to us from the Apostles and the First Christians! Just bcz he and his friends found some people in the Church at that time, not being good Christians or found scandals, is that enough justification to (1) LEAVE the Church AND (2) TAMPER with the Bible??!!! The Mother Church has 2 sides to Her. On the inside, u have the Inner Church built on the Blood of Christ and on the rock of Peter especially, the blood of martyrs, with the Apostles, the Saints, rooted in God the Father, led by the Holy Spirit – things the human eye cannot see. On the outside u have the Outer Church which includes the presently living people – things the human eye can see. These living people are all capable of making mistakes; all fall-able sinners TRYING to follow Jesus. Just bcz u see sinners committing sins, u leave the Church?! In real life, would we jump out of the ship if we did not like the captain of the ship? We won’t do it out of fear that the sharks might eat us up! Mercifully, the sharks of this world have not been successful in eating u all up, but they have been able to tear u up into some 30,000 or 40,000 denominations!!! The general estimate is that in the US alone, 4-5 denominations are newly formed every week!!!

          Jesus NEVER told us to focus on the bad example of His followers, but to follow HIM. If we keep on looking at the sins of others, we will only go astray. We will, infact, start committing those same sins. Have u noticed that? it is dangerous to keep focusing beyond a limit, on the sins of others. All human beings r on the same boat; all of us are equally fall-able; no one is better than anyone. Human beings in all generations will keep making mistakes, errors, will be foolish. But THAT’S not reason enough to (1) leave the Holy Mother Church founded by Jesus, (2) AND ALSO TAMPER with the Holy Bible as handed down by the Apostles and the First Christians.

          At first, in my personal search for God, I went up and down the various religions of the world. Most of my friends were [and still are] non-Christians, and the bad example of Christians led me to doubt the whole of Christianity itself. When I came into Christianity and found Protestantism, I was thrilled. I devoured the books of billy graham, Derek prince, peter wagner, Charles spurgeon, Kathryn kulhman, joyce meyer, ravi Zacharias and many others. I used to sit and listen to Protestant talks on TV. At the same time, there were 2-3 Catholic preachers whom I used to listen to [on TV]. Then when I found the historical truths about the Reformation and the errors connected to it, I just felt cheated. That’s the first emotion I felt. I felt cheated. That’s when I began to read Catholicism.

          [But all through my search, I could not bring myself to discount Christianity fully or even Catholicism bcz I was having personal miraculous experiences with the Rosary and the Holy Mass! At that time I was going for the Sunday Mass only bcz of pressure from parents and some Catholic neighbours who were just “Sunday Christians" with no deep Catholic convictions!! It is very very ironic. They had no deep Catholic conviction, but were very particular about Mass on Sundays and all the Feasts and activities in Church! I was divided in my mind and my head was full of doubts but I was the one having super-natural experiences during the Mass!

          I still wonder at all this. I still don’t understand… I think there are lots of things our human head cannot understand… Like a friend once told me, “God’s ways are mysterious…"]

          One thing many devout people of various religions have told me is, “Never search for God with your HEAD; u will never find Him. Search for Him with your HEART."

        3. binu Reply

          Any idea why we have 4 Gospels?
          The New Testament begins with 4 Books that proclaim “the gospel [good news] of Jesus Christ" [Mk.1:1]: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Though they are NOT BIOGRAPHIES of Jesus in the strict sense of the word, they provide accounts of His earthly life and an interpretation of its meaning for the world. But why are there 4 such accounts instead of one? Jesus wrote NO autobiography, nor did He designate ANY of His followers to write an “official" biography! Rather, THE PRIMARY mission He gave His Apostles was to “make disciples of all nations" [Math.28:19] through preaching, teaching, and providing the Sacraments of the Church [see also Mk.16:15-18, Jn.20:21-23, Jn.21:15-17]. This first “witness" to Christ [see Acts 1:8] was thus ORAL rather than written, with an emphasis on the DEMONSTRATION of its Truth through the HOLY LIVES of believers and the wonders worked among them [see 1 Cor.2:1-5] and the wonders that would accompany them [ see Acts 2:43-47, Acts 5:12-16 etc.].

          IN TIME, however, several of the First Christians concluded that it would be useful for the new community to have a WRITTEN account of Jesus’ life and works. Luke’s statement of METHOD and INTENTION in producing his Gospel suggests how they went about the task: Lk.1:1-4 – Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were EYEWITNESSES from the beginning and MINISTERS of the word have HANDED THEM DOWN TO US, I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you … so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.

          Not surprisingly, the 4 Evangelists [Gospel authors] used some of the same sources. But each seems to have drawn as well from sources not employed by the others, and each arranged his material in a distinctive way. At the same time, no one of them could tell the whole story; as John notes, “There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written" [Jn.21:25]. The result is that the 4 Gospels, though telling essentially the same story, differ in many ways in content, perspective, emphasis, and style. The resulting VARIETY provides the Church with a WONDERFUL RICHNESS of insight that would be lacking if only one of the Gospels had come down to us.

          Related Scripture – Jn.21:24, Acts 2:14-3:10, Acts 4:31-35, Acts 5:12-16, 1 Cor.11:23-26. CCC – 76, 83, 124-127, 515, 638.

          Are you aware that the 4 Gospels in the Bible – Math., Mk., Lk., Jn. – were not the only ancient Books that claim to be authentic records of Christ’s life? There are others, and they don’t they appear in Scripture. Do u know that some have claimed, that the Catholic Church hierarchy [or perhaps the 4th Century Roman emperor Constantine] “banned" these others books from the Bible to cover up certain uncomfortable “truths" about Jesus reported in them?! The AUTHENTIC teaching of the Church about Jesus began, not as a BOOK, but as an ORAL TRADITION – preached and passed on by the Apostles and others who knew Him PERSONALLY. Once the faith had spread throughout the Roman world and beyond, portions of THIS ORAL TRADITION were committed to WRITING and circulated among the scattered LOCAL CHURCHES. The resulting books were RECOGNIZED by THESE CHURCHES as reliable and authoritative accounts bcz they judged them to be in keeping with, and rooted in, the genuine APOSTOLIC TRADITION they ALREADY possessed.

          3 criteria were used to evaluate a book for which a claim to divine inspiration had been made: (1) First, was it written by an Apostle or an associate of an Apostle? (2) Second, did it conform to the “rule of faith", the doctrinal TRADITION, affirmed by churches THROUGHOUT the world? (3) Third, had it been read PUBLICALLY and REGULARLY in Christian worship, especially in those churches with APOSTOLIC beginnings?

          Writings from the generations of Christians just after the Apostles show that they quoted as authoritative the 4 Gospels we now have in our Bibles. By the mid-2nd Century, teachers living as far apart as St. Ignatius in Syria, St. Justin Martyr in Rome, Tertullian in Africa, and St. Irenaeus in what is now France, had all ACCEPTED as reliable and divinely inspired the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. This judgment was later CONFIRMED authoritatively by formal Church Councils, and not by a Roman imperial decree as is claimed by anti-Church people.

          A few other ancient writers did indeed claim to tell about Jesus’ life; St. Luke himself noted some of them [see Lk.1:1]. But their books were not “banned" by the “hierarchy". Rather, they NEVER GAINED ACCEPTANCE by the Church AS A WHOLE in the first place bcz they failed to meet the reasonable criteria described above. Books such as the “Gospel of Thomas" were thus rejected as later products of eccentric teachers. The genuine APOSTOLIC TRADITION exposed them as a false “different gospel" [see Gal.1:6-9].

          Related Scripture – 2Cor.11:12-15, 2Peter 1:16 – 2:3, 1Jn.2:18-23, 1Jn.4:1-6, Rev.22:18-19. CCC – 76, 83, 124-127, 515.

        4. binu Reply

          Catholics don’t believe in the Bible ONLY.
          The Bible plays a central and primary role in Christian faith, but it is not SUFFICIENT as the SOLE authoritative source of belief. If it were, the more than 30,000 “Bible-based" Protestant denominations in the world would not have such FUNDAMENTAL disagreements over WHAT the Biblical text really means. Clearly, Scripture needs both a wider context of Tradition, and a LIVING, authoritative interpreter if it is to be rightly understood. The fact that Baruch and certain other Books don’t even appear in the Protestant Bibles, places the problem in even sharper focus. MANY ancient books CLAIM to speak for God. How can we even KNOW which ones belong in the Bible unless we have an authority OUTSIDE Scripture itself, to tell us?!

          FROM THE BEGINNING, the Magisterium of the Catholic Church has exercised the GOD-GIVEN authority to DISCERN which books belong in the Bible and HOW they are CORRECTLY INTERPRETED in the light of Sacred Tradition. Catholics thus view the Bible, the Church, and Holy Tradition as harmonious pieces of a whole. In fact, THE BIBLE ITSELF points to Tradition and the Church as authoritative; it DOESN’T TEACH that Scripture is the Christian’s sole ultimate authority. St. Paul, for example, commands Christians to “hold fast" to the Traditions he has passed on to them, BOTH those that were WRITTEN down [and were later recognized as Scripture] AND those that were NOT WRITTEN DOWN [see 2 Thes.2:15]. He writes to St. Timothy that the CHURCH [NOT SCRIPTURE] is “the pillar and foundation of truth" [1 Tim.3:15]. Have u seen 1 Tim.3:15? Don’t u have this Verse in your Bible?

          Nor is Scripture, as some Christians claim, fully self-interpreting. As 2 Peter notes, for example, in St. Pauls’ letters, “there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures" [2 Peter 3:16]. The Catholic Church avoids such dangers by relying on the authoritative interpretation of the Magisterium in the light of Holy Tradition.

          Related Scripture: Mth.15:3,6, Mk.7:8,9,13, Rom.6:17, 1 Cor.11:2,23, 1 Cor.15:1-3, Gal.1:9,12, Eph.4:14, Col.2:8, 1 Thes.2:13, 2 Thes.3:6, 1 Tim.4:1, 2 Tim.1:13-14, 2Tim.2:2, 2 Tim.4:3-4, 2Ptr.1:20, 2Ptr.2:21. CCC – 78, 80-87, 90, 95, 109, 111-120, 128-133, 137, 234, 817, 2089.

          Even so, Catholics believe the very presence of Christ in the Bible as He is “the Word made flesh" and treat the Bible as SACRED. In fact, in many Catholic Churches u can see Priests worshipping the Bible with the incense in the middle of the Holy Mass. So, even though the Bible is not a Catholic’s SOLE authority, still the Bible stays CENTRAL to a Catholic’s life, belief, and worship. We TRY not to go to either extremes. Its called “Biblical balance". Heard of it?

        5. binu Reply

          Purgatory is from the Bible AND Holy Tradition – some points which might help u:

          The writer of 2 Maccabees praises the offering and sacrifices for the dead [see 2Macc.12:38-46]. Why do the departed need such assistance from us? So that their sins “might be fully blotted out" [2Macc.12:42]. The final destiny of the redeemed is to live in Heaven eternally with God, where “we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is" [1Jn.3:2]. Since God is holy, to be like him, we too must be holy [see Mth.5:48]. Without that holiness, “no one will see the Lord" [Heb.12:14], for “nothing unclean will enter" the glory of Heaven [Rev.21:27]. Nevertheless, few people, even among practising and devout Christians, are fully cleansed of sin and its effects, when they die. And God will not reject any penitent sinner, even one who has been notoriously wicked yet repents at the last moment before death [see Lk.23:39-43]. How, then, can we enter Heaven in such cases, immediately at death, if we aren’t perfected in holiness? St. john tells us that everyone who hopes to be holy as God is holy, and to see Him at last face-to-face, “makes himself pure, as he is pure" [1 Jn.3:3]. That process of purification begins in this life as we submit to the dealings of God that help to make us whole. “Purgatory" is simply the name given to that process of purification as it continues after death; a purgation. Like “the Holy Trinity", “Purgatory" is a term not occurring in the Bible; but the reality it refers to, is IMPLIED by Scriptural truths. [Protestants have no problem in freely using the term “the Trinity" even though its nowhere in their “half-Bible" or in the traditional Catholic Bibles!!!] God doesn’t purify us instantly in this life by waving a magic wand, bypassing the cooperation of our free will. So we shouldn’t expect Him to do so at our death, either. And since his work to heal is of the effects of sin is usually painful now – just as surgery for our bodily health is painful – the purgatorial process will likely be painful as well.

          The traditional image of the cleansing purgatorial fire comes from such passages as 1 Cor.3:11-15, which speaks of those who “will be saved, but only as through fire" [3:15]. The Bible also speaks of God’s holiness in this regard as “a consuming fire" [Heb.12:29]. Yet, just as a physician’s cauterizing fire burns in order to heal, so does any pain we might experience in Purgatory. In the end, it is a work of God’s Mercy.

          Just bcz Luke 16 does not MENTION Purgatory, u cannot come to a final conclusion that there is NO Purgatory. U r presuming. This is what happens when u take the Bible bit by bit; u got to see it in its wholeness. Also, u r still holding on to the un-Scriptural SOLA SCRIPTURA here. Ok, now u, a Bible-only-believer, tell me, where is SOLA SCRIPTURA and SOLA FIDE in the Bible? [martin luther’s “half-Bible" will do.] The way u all talk about the Bible – like u all alone know everything about the Bible!!! U Bible-only-believers are holding on to SOLA SCRIPTURA and SOLA FIDE which is NOWHERE in the Bible!!! U tell me – where is SOLA SCRIPTURA and SOLA FIDE in your Bible?! U won’t understand how cheated I felt when I found out that these 2 tenets were un-Scriptural!!! How could luther and his friends preach such lies, that too, in the name of God?! Just bcz he found some lousy liers in the Church, he went out and preached [and lived] a bigger lie?! If only holy people can be inside the Church, then no one can really enter the Church even today! The Church is for every one; u will find all sorts of people… God does not differentiate the way we humans differentiate each other. His Church is for everyone, ESPECIALLY sinners… Or, do u mean there are no such sinners in the churches luther established?!

          U can check some related Scripture – Lev.11:44, Lev.19:2, Deut.4:24, Malachi 3:2-4, 2 Cor.7:11, 1Peter 1:16. Please check Catechism of the Catholic Church – 1030 to 1032 and 1472 for further clarifications.

          We Catholics do pray for the “dead" – but no one really “dies" according to Christianity; we only CHANGE from one state of LIVING to a HIGHER state of living. So the “dead" we say, are still “living". Only our body dies, really. Human beings were CREATED eternal. some points which might help u:

          One day as the Jewish general Judas Maccabeus and his men were burying comrades fallen in battle, they discovered that the slain soldiers had been secretly practising idolatry [see 2 Maccabees 12:39-40]. “Turning to supplication," Scripture says, “they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out" [2Macc.12:42]. Then Judas took up a collection for an expiatory sacrifice for them in the Temple. “In doing this, he acted in a very excellent and noble way… Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin" [2Macc.12:43,46]. Why did the ancient Jews pray for the dead? For the same reason they prayed for the living! It was an act of fraternal charity. They recognized that the departed needed their help to be cleansed of their sins. And they were confident that such spiritual works would benefit those who had died, just as it would have benefitted someone who was still living. The First Christians who were Jews, maintained this “excellent and noble" practice. For example, st. paul prayed for a friend named onesiphorus, who was apparently deceased [see 2 Tim.1:16-18]. The apostle also noted, without objection, that the Corinthian Christians were being “baptized for the dead" [1Cor.15:29]. Though we know nothing more about this ancient rite, it almost certainly would have included prayers, and early believers apparently assumed that it would help the departed in some way. Not surprisingly, then, many inscriptions on ancient Christian tombs ask the living to intercede for those buried within. Clearly, from earliest times, the Church has offered prayers and sacrifices for the faithful departed – especially the most valuable sacrifice of all, the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

          Some Christians object to praying for the dead. For those who are in Heaven, they insist, our prayers are unnecessary. And for those who are in hell, our prayers are useless. But there are faulty ASSUMPTIONS here. First, most people who go die, still require purification before they are ready to live with God forever. Our prayers can help in that process. Second, we don’t know for sure who is in hell, so we should still pray in hope for even the worst of sinners. In short, charity demands that we should pray for the dead. And humility demands that we should ask others to pray for us when our day comes to depart this life.

          Related Scripture – Phil.1:3-11, Col.1:9-12, 2Thes.1:11, Heb.11:39-40, Heb.13:18, James 5:16. Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC] – 1030 to 1032, 1474 to 1477.

          Let me painfully recall here how some Protestants so easily say privately at certain funerals, “He will go to hell only! Look at the way he lived!" or “She will go to hell only! What a woman she was!" How can we be so presumptuous?! How dangerous are such assumptions!! Such statements arise from the assumption that there can be only Heaven and hell. You won’t hear such comments even from the worst of Catholics. Why? Even at a worst criminal’s funeral, a “practising Catholic" ’s perspective will be, “We do not know anything about God’s Mercy, do we? Who are we to pass judgement? Let us pray for him/ her." This is the outcome of believing that God in His Great Mercy, has arranged a Purgatory for us. Or, a lot of people will have to end up in hell. And I personally don’t think our Father is all that cruel… He will do all He can to get a majority of His children to Heaven [without compromising His Justice]… that’s my PERSONAL view…

        6. binu Reply

          I think, one reason why many “practising Catholics" are unable to explain what they believe in, is bcz, many of them have personal super-natural experiences of Mother Mary, Purgatory, Heaven, the Rosary, the Eucharistic Celebration, the Saints and so on – experiences that go way beyond what is written down in even Catholic books. Many will find it very difficult to explain all this in HUMAN words. A lot of Catholics I know, don’t seem to even need anyone to explain all this from the Bible or even Holy Tradition. They have first-hand experiences of all this. On the other hand, ofcourse, there are a lot of “Catholics" who don’t believe in Catholicism in adulthood, were baptized as infants, and come to Church on Sundays just bcz of pressure from family or friends! Many don’t even come to Church! So, we have to always differentiate between a “practising Catholic" and a “non-practising Catholic" – they are poles apart; they belong to two different worlds.

          (1) “Non-practising Catholics", naturally, may not be able to explain anything much about the Catholic tenets. They will infact tell u all the things that’s wrong with their local Parish Church and generalize it for the whole Universal Church!!! (2) “Practising Catholics", may be practising Catholicism either bcz of strong values embedded into them in their childhood by their families/friends, or/and bcz of their own personal super-natural experiences or bcz of some acute problems in life which is beyond their control. They also will not always be able to explain in HUMAN words what they actually believe. (3) Its only “practising Catholics" who take pains to sit and study the Scriptures and history and books related to all this and do some personal research in this sphere etc., who will be able to put in human words what they really believe in and what Catholicism is all about. [I have found HUMAN words, many times, inadequate, to explain some of my own personal super-natural experiences…] U will find these 3 categories of Catholics in every Catholic Parish and in every Catholic family, and usually they will be at war with one another!!! [That’s bcz they are at 3 different levels, and thankfully, Catholicism is a JOURNEY and not a destination.] So, next time, u want to ask a Catholic a question regarding Catholicism, see that u go ONLY to (1) a “practising Catholic" (2) who takes pains to sit down and study what Catholicism is all about!!!

          This is one thing that confounds many Protestants bcz most Protestants are always reading and searching and trying to go deeper and deeper into their own faith; whereas most Catholics are very content with what they know deep down, and with what they DO NOT know, and are spiritually asleep!!! If u ask such “sleeping Catholics" questions about Catholicism, they’d usually wake up very stunned and will only stare at u wondering if something’s wrong with u!!!

          A good chastisement will definitely come down from God, upon Catholics especially [me included], for this state of affairs on earth – that’s for sure… bcz of the bad example of many Catholics, the whole of Catholicism itself is being questioned… and martin luther put more oil into the fire!!! [I can’t blame anyone really – I took God seriously only when I saw death face-to-face mid-life!!! Though a born-Catholic, I went behind other religions at first, then many Christian denominations, and finally found the COMPLETE TRUTH in the Catholic Church! It was agonizing, but worth it.]

          Ever wondered how the Catholic Church is still standing past 2,015+ years?! It is just not humanly possible. The Church has been battered from outside AND from inside, yet She’s still standing. She’s been shaking from the foundations from the time She was founded!!! U ought to read the Church history – u will only wonder how She’s still standing!!! Even great great civilizations rose up and fell, great emperors and conquerors – how many generations did their dynasties rule? Maybe 3 or 4 generation at the most – check history – then other families/powers began to rule. Not one dynasty or civilization has stayed around 2,015+ years. History is proof to this. That’s the problem with the Catholic Church – She will keep shaking and shaking and swinging to and fro, but SHE WILL NEVER FALL!!! Whatever anyone does, SHE WILL NEVER FALL. That’s bcz of the Holy Spirit; its not humanly possible. Human beings, as usual, will continue to do a lot of foolish things, both inside and outside the Church, and the Church as usual will be shaking to Her very foundations – but She will not fall. Did not Jesus say that She will never fall? In the Old Testament times, God the Father led His people; then the Son lived on earth for 33 years and had a public ministry of just 3 years – He was revealed to the world only for 3 years; after that it’s the Holy Spirit who is leading the people of God.

          Really, this is quite time-consuming… I came to this website quite accidently… if u have more doubts, u could meet a helpful and kind Catholic Priest in your neighbourhood who will have the patience to answer your questions… don’t be apprehensive – most Priests I know won’t push us to suddenly become Catholics bcz they prefer people to understand Catholicism properly first… Priests having studied in Seminaries for 13 years and more, will be able to explain rightly.

          Really! People who r still arguing about SOLA SCRIPTURA and SOLA FIDE, are missing out on the great treasures of the Church, like st. thomas aquinas’ SUMMA THEOLOGICA, St. John of the Cross’ THE ASCENT OF MOUNT CARMEL: THE DARK NIGHT, THE SPIRITUAL EXERCISES of St. Ignatious, Thomas a’kempis’ THE IMITATION OF CHRIST, br. Lawrence’s THE PRACTICE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD, the books/talks of fulton sheen, the writings of the Desert Fathers, etc. – such gems that is just out-of-this-world. Maybe that’s precisely why people of this world are not able to see its worth – bcz its ‘out-of-this-world’. You’d be surprised to realize that none of these contradict anything written in the Bible! The sharp insight, unearthly wisdom and deep spirituality of our Church Fathers is something we just cannot ignore. I truly feel sorry for people who miss out on all these treasures which will take one way beyond this world and into the highest realms of spirituality. Its time we stopped wasting time on un-Scriptural things like SOLA SCRIPTURA and SOLA FIDE and went on to the more serious matters in Christian spirituality. I don’t think we have much time left… the world is in such a mess, and God will surely take all of us Christians to task, am sure… instead of going out and discipling all nations, we are all still very busy arguing amongst ourselves!!!

          dear Brother in Christ, wish u a blessed pilgrimage on earth, and a life with our Lord, thereafter… and please do remember all of us also in your prayers… God bless…

        7. binu Reply

          dear Brother in Christ,
          i really hope i have not hurt u with my writings… if i have hurt u [and i think i have], please forgive me, and pray for me and my loved ones…
          with prayers,
          binu.

  2. MTNCATH Reply

    “Each word is weighed and compared to alternative words that might be used but pose less precision.” – awesome! I know how you feel 😉

  3. Ronald Anguyo Reply

    Am proud to be a Catholic

    1. Peter Spasic Reply

      But can you give an answer to the questions I posed?

    2. Peter Spasic Reply

      That’s fine… but can you give an answer to the questions I asked?

  4. Raylene Menke Hallman Reply

    What a wonderful article. My father in law and sister in law both decided to become to Roman Catholic from Luthern. Both found it an easy transition. I always assumed it was because they weren’t particularly active. Now I think it may have been a natural transition for them in their faith walk.

  5. Frank Reply

    One must read about the saints, Sister Faustina vision of purgatory and Hell is real
    Divine Mercy book

  6. vy Reply

    Purgatory is where souls with less grave of sins go to be purge and purified the ones that after death sins that was not confessed to a Priest whom you empty to and absolve you inside the confessional at a church. Which the priest will than grant you peace and pardon and than before you die if you receive the promised of Christ than a Priest will visit you to anoint you with the anointing oil. And if you have a mass said for you you will shoot straight into heaven if not than purgatory.There was a story three priest died along with 3000 others 2 went to priest went to purgatory 1priest went to heaven and the rest was damned. Your goal is heaven if you believe Jesus is son of God or pray the Devine Mercy and have faith and repent you shouldnt worry its better to become Catholic than asking questions. God bless

    1. Peter Spasic Reply

      Thank you for your reply, Vy…
      However, won’t you please explain your understanding of how/where these doctrines are taught in scripture? Surely if these are important Christian teachings they should be supportable from God’s word. Moreover, we are told in 1 Peter 3:15 to “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” The apostle Paul did just that – he preached the Gospel, including why it was true, by explaining the Old Testament scriptures.
      How about it…? Dig into your Bible (and catechism) and/or ask your priest. What harm can come by backing belief with God’s word?

      1. Oliver Bakadjaken Reply

        Dear Peter
        You’ll certainly find m’y english poor as i’m from a french upbringing.
        From what i’ve read, your main concern is to know why such an important doctrine such as purgatory hasn’t been taught explicitely in the NT.
        Well i’ll point out to thé evenmore important doctrine of thé holy trinity that is not explicitely express anywhere un your bible, and was only clearly expressed at the concile of trent.
        Another important doctrine is that of the incarnation in which jesus is peesent as the Man God. Well this doctrine qs well is not clearly state in the bible or at least the arians did not view it as clearly as an average christians sees it in our days.
        I can think of two reasons why some of our beliefs are not clearly express in the bible:
        1-) our purpose in life is to seek and love God. If eveeything were plainly laid there would have been no atheist…thus this purpose of our journey would have been meanless. More over the element of faith would have been stripped of its meaning – the hope for things we do not see (at least explicitely)-
        2-) the books of the bible are christ centered. Hence, marian doctrines, purgatory, angels, heaven, hell and all thé others concepts… Are only hinted as the main focus has to be Jésus.

  7. Alfsed Reply

    Iam a pure catholic . . .and i understand all that has beEn ask about cAtholic pRactices , rites, beliefs . .all of it had answered by the holy bible. .mOst esPecially Praying the holy Rosary , a perfect worship and undrstanding of christ birth, miracles , sufferings, death Ressurection. . The center of all christianp faith. .

  8. Ingulf Tore Presthus Reply

    I have got the message from the creator inside my heart 17 january this year. I am member of catolic church but now I see the Truth. Most all religion are colored by OLD MEN with hierarci and patriarcal way with lot of selected word called bible, koran, Tora, mm. But priest try to inseminate all text to people without the core of message Jesus try to give. Luther was right about paying money to get rid of sin. And all money to glorify the churces and sermonies with smoking alters. Dramaties like A teater every servants. Denied reinkarnasion with some tiny words in A bible that may not be correct together with gods improvement.No religion can close other people out and say only members has opportunity to be salvated. Every Soul has to councer all obsticle lik hate, envy, matrialistic overdue in life to got salvation, and everyone will feel if they are ready for heaven. No hell exist because hell is our life struggling to get a good person and certainly need more than one life.You will have the eternity to be reinkarnate to perfection. No free ticket to heaven because of telling a PRIEST that you ask for forgivnes all sin if you do not do it in your heart. Every new born life have an option to be A perfect Soul, but few at the time. We need to be United with all human being on earth if we should overcome the challenge on earth. Politics shoul be humanaised in every corner of world and the religion shoul be for everyone with the basic human rights and filosophy like budism and Jainismen and reduced the Christian and islam Way to respect individual sex AS equal. After Peter it was allowed to be married as priest and both sexes could spread the word from Jesus. The church has misused power lot of times in politic and war against humanity. A Soul could be homosexual but make love and respect and should not be damned. We should not exclude someone because they look different. clean up all text from bible and do not exclude evangelic documents to prevent the Truth. Everyone must find HIS path inside and not hypnotised by pope, PRIEST mm.I am sorry for all people who could not see clearly by themselves all influence of false hope given from church without real help of how we shoul live among other human beings and nature that we should left in order for further generasions. Bless you all because you do not need A church to live like god would you to do.

    1. Peter Spasic Reply

      Interesting…. what was the message you got? How did it come to you? Dream? Vision? By reading the Bible?
      Romans 10:12-15 shows that we can be saved only by believing the gospel – which is given to us through the Bible.
      “A bible that may not be correct together with gods improvement” ?????
      Are you saying the Bible is not reliable? If so, then who decides what to accept and what to reject?
      “you do not need A church to live like god would you to do” – but we do need God’s word
      True Christians ARE the church, the church that Christ is building (Matthew 16:18 but Peter is not the rock Jesus referred to!)
      “A Soul could be homosexual but make love and respect and should not be damned”??? Whole homosexuality is sin, it is forgivable like any other sin. However, if a homosexual gets saved he/she will reject it (even though temptations may still be a battle – we all battle against our own particular weaknesses). A change in attitude will come if he/she is truly born again.
      “Every new born life have an option to be A perfect Soul” – only when we pass from from this life will we be perfect (Jude 24) Only then will we be completely freed from our Adamic fleshly nature.
      Best wishes

  9. Yayi Timothy Reply

    Catholic belief is based on “tradition” and “bible”. It was clearly stated that in the bible that if everything is not stated in the bible. Was it all the miracles Jesus performed that is in the bible? We have what we call “magisterium” in the church. Much more, tradition is older than the bible.

    1. Peter Spasic Reply

      “Catholic belief is based on ‘tradition’ and ‘bible'”
      If that is true, then can you tell me which Catholic teachings are “tradition” and which come directly from the Bible? Such as, purgatory, helping souls get out of purgatory by praying for them and by the merits of the “saints”, Mary as co-mediator and queen of heaven.

      ” tradition is older than the bible.” So which traditions are these?

      “It was clearly stated that in the bible that if everything is not stated in the bible.” Are you referring to John 20:-31 and 21:25 – these refer to other things that Jesus DID, not other teachings. If it were other teachings, then they would be in the New Testament.

      It is sad that not one Catholic that I have engaged with has offered actual scriptures in support of the teachings I have tried to discuss.
      Hoping you try to explain why you believe the things you do… 1 Peter 3:15

      Best wishes
      Peter

      1. vy Reply

        It is sad, it is this and that blah blah blah Catholic is and always a religion that worship God and there is only one God. We are definitely Christians because we do the sign of the cross and its just using our hands. You call yourself Christians but afraid to use your hands to do the sign of the cross. I invite you to convert yourself and become Catholic Christians because it is better so that You are with the truth and than you are Not separated so that together we can definitely be As one in Christ and Than you Can go ask questions than sitting there pondering where the truth is. We Catholics are inviting you to love thy neighbor and Love God…

        but you guys like pray to Mary… no we Pray Our Father and Jesus taught us exactly that. We ask Holy Mary to intercede for us the people where at the wedding at Cana Blessed Mother whom is your Mother, spole up for the people that they were short on wine.. and Jesus turn water into wine, the finest wine for the people. Wouldnt you want Gods mother to like intercede for you also?.. or would you say no and denied your mother who Jesus said this is your mother when was nailed to the cross the reedemer of this World. If you pray the our Father and refrain the scriptures of when Virgin Mary conceived of the Holyspirit with Jesus in the whomb whom is God when elizabeth said hail Mary full of grace the lord is with thee blessed art thpu amongst woman and blessed Is THE Fruit of THY womb JESUS. Than we ask Holy Mary (because conceived by the holyspirit) so holy Mary Mother of God Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. So that there is a intercession but I guess you are toooo afraid to ask you own mother and cant even use you own hands to just do the sign of the cross and you sit there and call yourself Christians and think youre in a better place than these poor Catholic People…you trying to prove something that Catholic is Not you brothers and sister and there is something wrong with us?? I invite you to the truth than being somewhere where God is NOT there without Holy Mary Jesus is not present and without Holy Mary the Holyspririt is NOT there. IT is BETTER to BE Catholic and stop asking questions Love God Love neighbor Jesus redeem us all and if you think you can talj the way you talk Go out into this world and fix this whole separation than. God Bless

        1. Peter Spasic Reply

          Thanks for your reply once again…
          “Than you Can go ask questions than sitting there pondering where the truth is”
          Are you saying that I can have my questions answered if I become Catholic? But why not before?
          In Acts 17:11 we are told to ask questions…”searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”
          So why do you not offer some scriptural answers to my questions about purgatory and praying for the dead and Mary’s role in our salvation? Your reference to Mary and Jesus at the wedding in Cana (to prove He listens to her requests on our behalf) does not seem to be expounded upon by the teaching letters of Paul, Peter, John, Jude and James. If Mary really does have a role as intermediary between us and Jesus and God surely this should be clearly taught in the epistles. When Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 2:5, this would have been an ideal place to mention Mary.
          Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man(and woman) of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
          So, I apologize if I come across as saying I am better than you. I am simply trying to understand why you believe the things you do (again, 1 Peter 3:15),
          And I quote scripture, not to make myself look “better”; I simply believe our beliefs should be founded solidly on God’s word.
          You say that “all the things I say came from my heart and mind which God created” – but what does “from my heart and mind” mean? From what what you have been taught since childhood in church? Or your own reasoning, which would be still be based on what you have been brought up on?
          Anyway, I hope we can continue to discuss matters of eternal importance in a Christian manner.

          1. vy

            Many are saying of me, God will not deliver him. But the Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the one who lifts MY HEAD HIGH. I call out to the Lord and he answers me from his holy mountain. I lie down to sleep; I will not FEAR though tens of THOUSANDS assail me on every side” Psalm 3: 2-6 ” it is holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may u be loosed FROM SIN” (2 Mac. 12:46) “what you believe will be done for you.” (Matt. 8:13) At Fatima (1917), so if Mary says let it be done to me according to your word, would you not saythe same thing your Mother said or is Mary not your Mother?… whatever I say you think you have better wisdon over me so go and read Luke 1:46-49 and invite your ownself to the Catholic Church and save yourself. My goodness

          2. vy

            In Acts 17:11 you are ask to ask questions on the scrptures you read… either 10 times not ask questions… get it together and if you keep asking questions than the Bible is Gods word he is already speaking to you. What is wrong with you?

          3. vy

            Peter Trust me on this please peter I am only 35 years old and I dont want to be rude or mean but I want to help others and I hope I help enough because I dont want to cry. Why would I come here to try my best to really talk to a stranger because I just want you in heaven thats all no where else just go to heaven peter its better peter. Im totally serious I want you to Go to heaven. Im sorry that you have questions but you dont have to ask anymore peter the answer is convert into the Catholic church and thats all you need to do and than you are with the truth and I will be one greatful person peter okay bud. Trust me im doing my best for you I dont wanna cry

          4. Peter Spasic

            Vy, I do thank you for your genuine concern for me. It was never my intention to upset you. I will not be asking any more questions. But I do pray God’s blessing on you in your walk of faith. Goodbye (as in ‘God be with you’)

          5. vy

            Thanks peter for your sincere comment I no in this world we would say one God but many denominations but guess what there is only one truth and if we dont love eachother than there is a separation. Not everywhere is perfect but dispite all the mistake others do even in the Catholic church we still are to forgive and move forward. There are people out there that denies the truth even when they got the answer they still deny it. But peter God is Love and Mercy and inspire or not by his Holy Cross he had redeem the world. I will find a cheat sheet peter and ask me any kind of questions and I will patiently answer it. I am Catholic and its just me when I say its better to be, even tho I kno there are questions I have questions too and its answered when you can feel his presence its more than you would ever want and you know that you are truly in the right place when you pray anywhere and his presence fills you up and stays with you untill you have the peace and rest. But I am still here to help out until you come to me and say I am free.

          6. vy

            Give it up peter you will die for love of God so why not be with the truth if its not the truth than why would I sit here and say it who do you think I am someone that was born to joke around with you on this or am I decieving you like a victim of the enemy or maybe im being forceful or this and that. I dont know peter but there is a place Jesus talks about and its called Heaven peter. I pray that you will be streghthen to stop asking questions and listen to a person that doesnt know everything but know a little and sits here to talk to you this late night that you will just take a deep breath and just say im tired of finding answers and asking questions and today is the day that I leave everything in Gods hand and let hi. Guide me home through Christ our Lord Amen.

          7. vy

            In acts 17:11 asking questiions on each verses you read to understand the verses more like 7 or 10 times not all of these questions that gives me a headache

          8. CJG

            Peter, it seems that you’re really hammering away at the sola scriptura argument. Have you bothered to ask yourself, however, where the Bible came from…that is, who put it together, and on what authority? Or better yet, when scripture refers to “scripture,” what do you think is being referred to, in a historical context?

          9. Peter Spasic

            OK then… assuming the Bible (Old + New Testament +? Apocrapha) that we have in is not the only source of God’s revelation…
            Can you provide other “scriptural” support for the questions I have posed?
            And, if so, I wonder why those issues have not been addressed CLEARLY in our New Testament.
            For example; If the woman in Rev 12 refers to Mary, making her queen and co-mediatrix, then why wasn’t this revealed before 95 AD – by then many Christians would already have died…without having known about praying to Mary or any saints up to that time?
            Over to you…
            BTW – the canon of scriptures was deliberated and compiled by about 100
            ps – not trying to be argumentative for the sake of it, I am serious. I know I stand by sola scriptura, but at least I have proposed Biblical references in my reasoning.
            pps – perhaps we can discuss ” where the Bible came from…that is, who put it together, and on what authority? Or better yet, when scripture refers to “scripture," what do you think is being referred to, in a historical context?” for a later time? Though you may wish to allude to that question in your reply.
            I do hope we can continue to discuss in a mutually respectful manner.
            Best wishes..

          10. vy

            Hi peter again Mary is mother of God created in the image of God we are all created in the image of God. Mary was incarnate concieved by the holyspirit. The bible came from God who created all things. GOD gave us his o ly Son name Jesus. Jesus on earth Jesus in heaven everything comes through Gods creation as its place I. Front of us we can recieve it after giving thanks and in Jesus name we recieve. Just like partaking in the body and blood of Christ. Before he broke the bread he gave thanks and said all of you take this and eat it this is my body which is broken up and given to you. (Given through Jesus) and if you dont give thanks and recieve its not coming through Jesus. so moving forward we Do not pray to Blessed Mother although we ask for intercession, because all grace is dispense through Mary granted by Jesus just like the wedding at Cana. In the begining there were already people denyi g Christ and they are doing now still when Jesus redeem us fro. The cross and Christ church is the Ccatholic church brought up through the romans. Its all there in the Bible but if you dont know the truth you shouldnt fear because we pray for eachother. Jesus is our hope, open your door and believe in him. And all is God. He is the creator and almighty King one and only. We are his children pray the our Father ask Mary glorify the Lord be sorry and Jesus has defeated sin. And without Jesus we are nobody. A Priest can absolve sins baptise and consecrate the host through the mystery of the bread and wine. GODs words is in the Holy Bible and there is only One true Holy Bible one true God and One true Holyspirit. And one Mother immaculate conception. Today is the day that the Lord has made let us rejoice and be Glad. Alleluia.

          11. vy

            Peter on this rock you will build my church and no hell can overcome it. Peter became the bishop in the Catholic Church priest are ordained and give the permission to forgive sins through the Bishop. Although our faith in Jesus he forgives those who are sorry just like mary magdelene and the thieve on the cross. Whatever sins you confessed is forgiven and if your sorry you so to belived because your sorry to Jesus and whatever go through Jesus goes to the Father.

          12. CJG

            Peter,

            Wow, not only did you miss the point I was trying to make – you missed it by an impressively wide margin. My point was that your insistence on scriptural backing for all things is off base and unsound; somehow, you seemed to think that I was suggesting other (non canonical?) pseudo scriptural sources as backing. No.

            The fact of the matter is that the Jews of Jesus’ time did not believe in sola scriptura or in the notion that all beliefs must be based on some written word. There was actually no official canon of Jewish scripture at the time; the Jews did not come up with their own canon until after the Christians did in the late 4th century – decided by Church councils. So the authority of the Christian Church is what determined whether or not the books floating around the various communities would be accepted as official, divinely inspired scripture. It’s that magisterial authority (the so-called “chair of Moses”) that takes precedence; after all, it was the authority that determined what was and was not the divinely inspired word of God.

            If you want to challenge that authority, fine…but you’ll have to go back and review all of those writing yourself to determine which ones are inspired. Some may still be around, like the Gospel of Nocodemus, or Gospel of Peter, but many have been lost to history. So good luck with that.

            Anyway, you seem to be all over the board trying to challenge Catholic practices and whatnot from a sola scriputura perspective. I’m not really interested in trying to (tirelessly) address each and every one of your objections, point by point, in some (possibly pointless) apologetic marathon; I just want to point out that your excessive devotion to scripture seems almost idolatrous – scripture that, as I have pointed out, was compiled by leaders of the Church (at the Councils of Carthage and Chalcedon). But I will address one point: your objection to intercession of the Saints (or Mary, specifically), otherwise referred to by you as “praying to the dead.”

            The basic premise of your apparent objection is that praying to deceased humans is equivalent to praying to the Divine. The basic answer / resolution is for you to understand that in Catholicism, unlike in Protestantism (generally), praying is not the highest form of worship; for Catholics, the highest form of worship is the sacrifice of the Mass: “take and eat, and do this in remembrance of me.”

            Praying, otherwise considered as just talking or communicating, is a lower form of worship in Catholicism, subordinate to the sacrifice of the Mass, whereby Christ’s sacrifice is re-represented, in remembrance of him, as per his instruction. So praying to Mary, or saint-so-and-so, or even to my dead mother, does not carry the same weight in Catholicism as it does in non-Catholic circles; it’s just as simple as if I were talking to you – a living person – and if I were to ask you to pray for me. Death does not separate us: we exist in the Church militant (here on earth), the Church triumphant (in Heaven), and the Church suffering (those at the precipice of Heaven, undergoing preparatory purgation). So asking other members of the Church to pray for one another is not problematic.

          13. Peter Spasic

            OK then…
            You state “the Church suffering (those at the precipice of Heaven, undergoing preparatory purgation)”
            I’m wondering how you would answer someone who genuinely wanted answers for the following legitimate questions…
            Please don’t dismiss these – I am deadly serious.
            Or do you consider these issues to be not important or relevant to the totality of one’s beliefs?
            I don’t mind whether you refer to scripture or “ex cathedra” pronouncements, or whatever – I really would like to hear how a typical knowledgeable Catholic would answer someone genuinely looking into Christianity. (1 Peter 3:15).

            1 Does a priest decide whether someone has gone to purgatory or heaven? If so, how does he know?
            2 When mass is said for someone who has died, is that because they are assumed to be in purgatory?
            3 Are masses said for those who (are assumed to) have gone straight to heaven? But again, how does the priest know?
            4 How does the church know when a soul has finally been purified and released into heaven? For how many days/months/years are masses/prayers for the dead continued?
            5 What about those who may be in purgatory for whom no one prays? Do the merits of the “saints" help them?
            6 Matthew 5:25–26 “until YOU have paid the last penny..” I believe the context shows that he was doomed as how can he pay if he has nothing and no way of earning the money. Can a soul “pay” his/her own way out of a purgatory?
            7 If purgatory and the associated beliefs are true, then why is it not taught loudly and plainly in the New Testament?
            8 I have been to a number of masses for the dead where the priest prayed that God will forgive them – yet have never heard the priest mention purgatory – why is this? (I have approached one priest, but he refused to talk with me)
            9 Finally, doesn’t the teaching on purgatory imply that Jesus did not pay for ALL the sins of those who “have received Him"- John 1:13. If our sins can be atoned for ONLY by the blood of the Lamb of God, how can merits of saints and prayers of living sinners atone for unforgiven sins? (because to be still “imperfectly purified" must means some sins have not been atoned for.)
            10 To whom does Jude 24 apply? Those who have gone straight to heaven? They are said to be “faultless”.

            Again, I hope we can continue to discuss these matters cordially.

          14. CJG

            Peter, I realize it has been nearly two weeks since you posed your questions to me, but I finally just now found some time to sit down and offer a proper response. I’m not sure if you’re still paying attention to this conversation (I see others have offered their own responses), but I get an occasional email notification letting me know that there have been additional comments added.

            To be honest, I was initially apprehensive about even following up, because your questions are posed in a way that suggests you may be trolling or looking to simply argue. But you say that you genuinely want answers and that they’re legitimate questions, so I’ll take you at face value there.

            I’m not sure that it would be efficient to attempt to answer your ten questions one by one, because many of them appear to have incorrect premises, and clearing up all of those misunderstandings might require a quite lengthy tome. Instead, I think it would be better for me to attempt to offer an explanation on a couple of key issues that are a common theme in the questions you pose: the theology of the Church, and the nature of Purgatory.

            First of all, from the perspective of Catholicism, and in contrast to Protestantism, salvation is a team sport, so to speak. Whereas Protestant denominations tend to emphasize a “me and Jesus” type of personal salvation, Catholicism’s understanding of the Church is more unified and holds that, in addition to private judgement, the communion of saints is publicly judged as a whole. Along the lines of the “team sport” language, it’s kind of like when in football (the NFL), if a member of the team is called “offsides,” the entire team is punished with a 5 yard penalty.

            So with that kind of model for the church, and for the communion of saints (NB: “saints” in lowercase refers to all of the faithful, as opposed to capitalized “Saints” which refers to those who are believed to be in Heaven), it might become more clear why, for example, it might be fitting for the Church militant to offer prayers for the Church suffering. Masses are not only offered for deceased who are believed to be in Purgatory, but also (commonly) for the living who are ill, in need, or who are otherwise healthy and who are believed to be in need of prayer.

            As for the notion of Purgatory, let’s start by making it clear that Purgatory is essentially Heaven. Perhaps much misunderstanding about Purgatory has come from questionable medieval Church practices involving indulgences where it was suggested that “years” of Purgatory could be bypassed, somehow. Without delving too much into metaphysics, physics, or philosophy, it’s important to understand that the concept of time really only applies to the material world (time is a necessary consequence of matter, to put it succinctly), so length of time in Purgatory (or in any spiritual or otherwise immaterial realm of existence) is quite meaningless. What’s most important to understand about the nature of Purgatory is its purpose: to purgate, to purify, or to otherwise make clean, in preparation of the beatific vision (i.e. being in the presence of God).

            The basic idea is that an impure person must be completely purified before being able to “see the face of God,” so to speak. To understand this, theologians and philosophers rely heavily on metaphorical language (since they’re speaking of immaterial beings who do not exist in time); a well known scriptural reference is to speak of the “Refiner’s fire.” While medieval theologians where fond of speaking of years (or centuries) in purgatory, and while the Bible likens the experience to being refined by a burning fire, there is no reason to not think of it as an instantaneous process. Perhaps the lengthy time or the refining fire is an attempt to suggest that the process is painful…but that delves a bit into mysticism, which I’m trying to avoid. In short, it might by a psychologically painful process to see yourself with objective, truthful eyes, as God sees you (which, presumably, is the type of self knowledge one would have in preparation for the beatific vision).

            As far as how we know who is in Heaven (which, by implication, includes Purgatory), that’s a matter of magisterial teaching. As I explained in my previous comment, it’s the magisterial authority of the Church that determined the canon of sacred Scripture, and it’s the same magisterial authority that determines Sainthood. The basis of this authority is the notion that the Church is infallible (in matters of faith and morals) – that is, that there is a preventative protection, offered by the Holy Spirit (God), that keeps the Church from leading the communion of saints astray with false teaching. The “Church” means all of the bishops, in agreement. Catholicism holds that its bishops are the successors of the apostles of Jesus, and that when they decide, in union, on a teaching, they are prevented from teaching the wrong thing to the faithful.

            This is the basis for deciding when a person is a Saint. So it’s not a single priest who makes the determination, but rather a large group of priests with seniority – leaders of the Church – who make the determination. As an aside, while the Church has declared many to be in Heaven by this method, she has never declared anyone to be in Hell.

            One other small point that kind of pertains to the ten questions you asked is that Catholicism teaches that there are two kinds of sin: mortal and venial (or deadly and non-deadly). There are a few conditions for being in a state of mortal sin, including that it be a grave matter, that the person is fully cognizant of this, and that the person fully chose the sin (there are many nuanced, subtle implications to these conditions). The Church teaches that it is not possible to enter Heaven when in a state of mortal sin. Venial sin, however, is a different matter. I only bring this up because of your question number nine: “9 Finally, doesn’t the teaching on purgatory imply that Jesus did not pay for ALL the sins of those who “have received Him"…”

            Perhaps there are some very holy people who die without any mortal or venial sins to be atoned for, and presumably they would be candidates to go straight to Heaven. However, common consensus among Catholics is that most of us have a lot of venial sin that has to be atoned for. Maybe our prayer helps, maybe it doesn’t…that’s probably something that varies on a case by case basis, and it may depend on whether there is communal sin involved. If my actions lead my brother to sin (in a venial manner), and my brother dies, then my prayers could very well be efficacious as far as helping to bring about resolution to whatever purgation my brother may have to work through as a result of my actions. Team sport. Then again, perhaps a recently deceased person has venial sin to work out that is no connection to anyone else. But it may reflect well on him for God to see that that person lived his life in a way that positively affected others in a way that causes them to care for him and to pray for him. Team sport.

            On a final, closing note, I strongly recommend that you read C.S. Lewis’ book, “The Great Divorce.” It’s a wonderful allegory that addresses the issue of the nature of Heaven and Hell, and of the need for purgation as a requirement for entering Heaven.

      2. vy Reply

        You talk like you know it all when you come on here and ask questions and be dumb and than being smart go and ask God your questions instead you come 8n here and you say your sad at Catholics not one mention bible scripture verses and your hurt at this and that and you say this and you say that, didnt God make us all equal, but you sit here thinking you are better?.. and you say this oh you know this and that from the bible but all the things I say came from my heart and mind which God created so dont go on here and say things like your feelings and emotions to us and think this and that of Catholics . Where peace is is where God is. If I ask you are you under the state of grace? You wouldnt know the answer because you are not Catholic. So if your not Catholic go and become Catholic and than treat us equally like what you need to be doing. Who are you? And who AM I?

        1. vy Reply

          Gen 3:13 corinthians 11:13Mary was incarnate of God whom in body and flesh go search the incarnation john 1:14 when the word became flesh he dwelt in the womb o Mary and was born Jesus. Jesus is the incarnation of God. John 6:38-40 john 1:15he who comes after me has surpssed me because he was before me.

        2. vy Reply

          I was away from the Church for 14 years I came back few years ago to pray for my dad when he passed away and I am refreshimg myself but I Love Jesus and he is my savior Lord and Christ And Mary is My Mother and we are her Children end of story. Be strenghthen in Jesus and be with him and Love his Mother because it wouldnt make any sense if Jesus was born by (Virgin Mary) and she was incarnate and gave birth to the Son of God and than the word was made flesh and dwelt among US. She was a replacement of eve thats why she was without sin and That is why she is The Mother of Jesus and its all Gods work. If God wants Mary to be our Mother than thats what its going to be because there is Only one God powerful and almighty King saviour and redeemer. Good night.

  10. McP Reply

    Peter Spasic, ask and it will be given to you; search and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will alway have the door opened to him. (Mt. 7:7-9. [the Jerusalem Bible])

  11. Jeffrey Mierzejewski Reply

    Dear Peter,

    Since you asked in all seriousness, I will answer as best I can.

    “Does a priest decide whether someone has gone to purgatory or heaven? If so, how does he know?”

    No, God decides. Our Lord came to earth to forgive sins (Mk 2:5,10) and he included his apostles in this “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:8). But while our Lord bestowed the power to forgive sins upon then, the responsiblity for the faithful does not directly lead to their sanctification; that requires effort on each sinner’s part.

    “When mass is said for someone who has died, is that because they are assumed to be in purgatory?”

    It is true that the Catholic and Orthodox Churches no longer prayer for the salvation someone who has been declared a saint of the Church, but instead asks for their prayers. (We can certainly pray for other things for them than their salvation, and the Byzantine liturgy even offers prayers for the all-pure Mother of God.) But we also believe that God is not limited by time. If I pray for the conversion of someone who is dying, without realizing that they are already dead, it makes perfect sense that God will hear those prayers, outside of time as He is, and do what he wills. There is practically no one we are certain is in Hell, and comparatively few we can be certain are in heaven. Thus, to pray for all the dead is an act of charity.

    “Are masses said for those who (are assumed to) have gone straight to heaven? But again, how does the priest know?”

    Masses can be offered for anyone who has died. They would not be offered for someone who had been declared a saint, but instead the prayers of the saint would be requested (James 5:16), and the just dead are certainly alive to God.

    “How does the church know when a soul has finally been purified and released into heaven? For how many days/months/years are masses/prayers for the dead continued?”

    The church does not know. Acts of penance are sometimes correlated to the equivalent number of days of strict penance, but these were never considered to be “days out of Purgatory.” And the tradition of offering sacrifices for the sinful dead predates Christ (2 Maccabees 12, if I recall correctly). Of course, in the Eucharist the prayer is really that of Christ, and we yoke our prayers to his, in his mercy.

    “What about those who may be in purgatory for whom no one prays? Do the merits of the “saints” help them?”

    There are many Christians who prayer especially for such people – and in both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, special days are set aside to pray for them. In fact, in the Byzantine tradition, on the eve of Pentecost we pray for all those who have died, “since the beginning of the world.”

    “If purgatory and the associated beliefs are true, then why is it not taught loudly and plainly in the New Testament?”

    Because sanctification is a process, and just as our Lord seems to expect all to fast at some time, we can be expected to do penance as needed. If the early Christians expected Jesus to return very soon, then there was no need to consider such questions. For that matter, the divinity of the Holy Spirit is not taught “loudly and plainly” in the New Testament, and that is a much more important doctrine than that of Purgatory.

    “I have been to a number of masses for the dead where the priest prayed that God will forgive them – yet have never heard the priest mention purgatory.”

    The priest was acting reasonably in directing the faithful to what needed to be done, rather than talking about things we cannot have direct experience of. Can you give an exact, non-symbolic account of what heaven will be like? The apostle suggests not (1 Corinthians 2:9).

    “Finally, doesn’t the teaching on purgatory imply that Jesus did not pay for ALL the sins of those who “have received Him”- John 1:13. If our sins can be atoned for ONLY by the blood of the Lamb of God, how can merits of saints and prayers of living sinners atone for unforgiven sins? (because to be still “imperfectly purified” must means some sins have not been atoned for.)”

    Saint Paul says we must somehow take part in making up what is “lacking” in the afflictions of Christ (Colossian 1:24). Whether this applies to the labors of the saints or the penance of the repentant, it serves as a reason to glorify Christ, who have us a share in his life, and his Cross. “By his stripes we were healed” – and in a strange way they are ours as well. This takes NOTHING away from Christ’s sufferings; it makes him the first of many brothers (Romans 8:29).

    “To whom does Jude 24 apply? Those who have gone straight to heaven?”

    To ALL who come into God’s presence in heaven, sanctified and purified. And it is Christ that is credited by Jude with making this possible. Nothing unclean can come into God’s presence, and yet all those who die in Christ will. Some sort of purification – however and whenever it takes place – resolves the apparent paradox.

    May God bless you with wisdom as you ponder the truths of Christ Jesus, and the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven!

    1. Peter Spasic Reply

      Thanks Jeffrey
      I do appreciate your reply, but still have questions…
      I thought it would be easiest to just annotate your reply by inserting CAPITALISED responses into your reply.
      A serious point I would like to make is, pleases show me scriptural (your Catholic Bible) or inspired tradition, references to the issues I have raised. I keep being told that we have only half the Bible and that we don’t accept tradition – but I have not been shown where these teach the Catholic doctrines.
      Thanks again for your patience…

      Since you asked in all seriousness, I will answer as best I can.
      “Does a priest decide whether someone has gone to purgatory or heaven? If so, how does he know?"
      No, God decides. Our Lord came to earth to forgive sins (Mk 2:5,10) and he included his apostles in this “ministry of reconciliation" (2 Cor 5:8).
      THIS MINISTRY (2 COR 5:18) IS THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL, BY WHICH GOD RECONCILES US TO HIMSELF – THIS IS NOT A “CONFESSION" AS PER CATHOLICISM But while our Lord bestowed the power to forgive sins upon then, the responsiblity for the faithful does not directly lead to their sanctification; that requires effort on each sinner’s part.
      “When mass is said for someone who has died, is that because they are assumed to be in purgatory?"
      It is true that the Catholic and Orthodox Churches no longer prayer for the salvation someone who has been declared a saint of the Church, but instead asks for their prayers.
      BUT, AGAIN, WHERE IS THE SCRIPTURAL SUPPORT FOR THIS IN YOUR BIBLE?
      (We can certainly pray for other things for them than their salvation, and the Byzantine liturgy even offers prayers for the all-pure Mother of God.)
      WHY DOES SHE NEED OR ACCEPT OUR PRAYERS???
      But we also believe that God is not limited by time. If I pray for the conversion of someone who is dying, without realizing that they are already dead, it makes perfect sense that God will hear those prayers, outside of time as He is, and do what he wills. There is practically no one we are certain is in Hell, and comparatively few we can be certain are in heaven. Thus, to pray for all the dead is an act of charity.
      “Are masses said for those who (are assumed to) have gone straight to heaven? But again, how does the priest know?"
      Masses can be offered for anyone who has died. They would not be offered for someone who had been declared a saint, but instead the prayers of the saint would be requested (James 5:16)
      BUT IN JAMES IT IS LIVING PEOPLE PRAYING FOR LIVING PEOPLE – NO MENTION OF PRAYERS OF THE DEPARTED
      , and the just dead are certainly alive to God. TRUE, BUT THAT’S NOT THE POINT HERE – …
      “How does the church know when a soul has finally been purified and released into heaven? For how many days/months/years are masses/prayers for the dead continued?"
      The church does not know. Acts of penance are sometimes correlated to the equivalent number of days of strict penance, but these were never considered to be “days out of Purgatory." And the tradition of offering sacrifices for the sinful dead predates Christ (2 Maccabees 12, if I recall correctly).
      MACCABEES WAS WRITTEN ABOUT 100 YRS BEFORE CHRIST – STRANGE THAT THE APOSTLES DID NOT MENTION THE DOCTRINE OF PRAYING FOR THE ‘DEAD’ IN PURGATORY… OR IS IT TAUGHT IN THE BOOKS THAT LUTHER AND OTHERS REJECTED?
      Of course, in the Eucharist the prayer is really that of Christ, and we yoke our prayers to his, in his mercy.
      “What about those who may be in purgatory for whom no one prays? Do the merits of the “saints" help them?"
      There are many Christians who prayer especially for such people – and in both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, special days are set aside to pray for them. In fact, in the Byzantine tradition, on the eve of Pentecost we pray for all those who have died, “since the beginning of the world."
      AGAIN, WHERE IS THE SUPPORT FOR THIS …?
      “If purgatory and the associated beliefs are true, then why is it not taught loudly and plainly in the New Testament?"
      Because sanctification is a process, and just as our Lord seems SEEMS – but not a command to expect all to fast at some time, we can be expected to do penance
      AND WHERE IS THE SUPPORT FOR PENANCE (SUCH AS ACTS OF MERCY AND PRAYING THE HAIL MARYS AND OUR FATHERS…?
      as needed. If the early Christians expected Jesus to return very soon, then there was no need to consider such questions.
      SORRY – BUT SEEMS A REAL COP-OUT! SCRIPTURE WAS GIVEN SO THAT WE COULD BE PREPARED FOR EVERYTHING IN THE FUTURE. IS THIS SAYING THAT THE APOSTLES DECIDED IT WASN’T RELEVANT, AND THEREBY OVERRULING THE HOLY SPIRIT?
      For that matter, the divinity of the Holy Spirit is not taught “loudly and plainly" in the New Testament, and that is a much more important doctrine than that of Purgatory.
      BUT THAT DOCTRINE IS EASILY INFERRED FROM PLAIN SCRIPTURE…
      “I have been to a number of masses for the dead where the priest prayed that God will forgive them – yet have never heard the priest mention purgatory."
      The priest was acting reasonably in directing the faithful to what needed to be done, rather than talking about things we cannot have direct experience of. Can you give an exact, non-symbolic account of what heaven will be like?
      NO – BUT WE CAN KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT HEAVEN TO KNOW IT IS A REALITY MUCH TO LOOKED FORWARD TO. SURELY IT WOULD BE HONEST FOR A PRIEST TO DESCRIBE PURGATORY AS A STATE OF PURIFICATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF EVENTUALLY BEING ACCEPTED INTO HEAVEN. AGAIN. IF PURGATORY IS A REALITY, WHY NOT TEACH ABOUT IT UNASHAMEDLY?
      The apostle suggests not (1 Corinthians 2:9).
      SO WHEN A PRIEST OFFERS PRAYERS TO GOD FOR THE DECEASED AND INVOKES THE MERITS AND ASSISTANCE OF MARY AND THE SAINTS, WHY DOES THE DECEASED NEED PRAYERS UNLESS HE/SHE IS NOT IN HEAVEN? AND IF NOT IN HEAVEN, WHERE? IT WOULD APPEAR THAT MOST PRIESTS SEEM UNSURE ABOUT HOW TO HANDLE THIS ISSUE…
      “Finally, doesn’t the teaching on purgatory imply that Jesus did not pay for ALL the sins of those who “have received Him"- John 1:13. If our sins can be atoned for ONLY by the blood of the Lamb of God, how can merits of saints and prayers of living sinners atone for unforgiven sins? (because to be still “imperfectly purified" must means some sins have not been atoned for.)"
      Saint Paul says we must somehow take part in making up what is “lacking" in the afflictions of Christ (Colossian 1:24).
      THERE WAS NOTHING LACKING IN THE AFFLICTIONS CHRIST SUFFERED FOR US. REMEMBER, IT WAS GOD THE FATHER HIMSELF WHO “WAS PLEASED TO BRUISE HIM" – “LAID ON HIM OUR SINS" – ETC ISAIAH 53. PAUL WAS NOT SAYING THAT HE OR WE CAN SUFFER IN ORDER TO COMPLETE WHAT IS NEEDED FOR OUR ATONEMENT. PAUL WAS REFERRING TO THE AFFLICTION THAT CHRISTIANS SUFFER BECAUSE THEY LIVE FOR CHRIST (MATTHEW 5:11-12) JUST LIKE PAUL WAS ASKED, “WHY DO YOU PERSECUTE ME?" ACTS 9:4 THE DEVIL AND MAN WILL CONTINUE TO AFFLICT CHRIST’S CHURCH (ALSO INDIRECTLY, CHRIST HIMSELF) UNTIL HE RETURNS…
      Whether this applies to the labors of the saints (YOU MEAN THE CANONIZED?) or the penance (AGAIN, WHERE IS THE MERITORIOUS NATURE OF PENANCE TAUGHT?) of the repentant, it serves as a reason to glorify Christ, who have us a share in his life, and his Cross. “By his stripes we were healed" – and in a strange way they are ours (HOW CAN THEY BE OURS? THE PUNISHMENT HE SUFFERED, HE ALONE SUFFERED – ANY SUFFERING WE SUFFER IS BECAUSE WE ARE HIS, NOT TO ATONE FOR OUR SINS) as well. This takes NOTHING away from Christ’s sufferings; it makes him the first of many brothers (Romans 8:29).
      “To whom does Jude 24 apply? Those who have gone straight to heaven?"
      To ALL who come into God’s presence in heaven, sanctified and purified. And it is Christ that is credited by Jude with making this possible. Nothing unclean can come into God’s presence, and yet all those who die in Christ will. Some sort of purification (BUT YOU STILL HAVE NOT EXPLAINED WHERE THIS IS TAUGHT IN INSPIRED SCRIPTURE, WHETHER IN OUR OR YOUR BIBLE) – however and whenever (TRUE – HOWEVER OR WHENEVER?) it takes place – resolves the apparent paradox.
      May God bless you with wisdom as you ponder the truths of Christ Jesus, and the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven!

  12. Ex protestant Reply

    Hi Peter, I’m certainly no theologian, but I am a convert to the catholic church (I was mainstream protestant for over 40 years, and have been catholic for 3 years). When I was called into the catholic church it caused me no small amount of horror, to be honest – I always (wrongly) thought that canonised saints were idols, that Mary was worshipped by catholics (she’s not – the catholic church is crystal clear on that fact, it’s in the Catechism of the Catholic Church which sets out catholic dogma) – and all the rest of protestant anti-Catholic stuff (plus a few I probably invented out of desperation as I’d told God I would only know it was Him calling me into the catholic church if I could not find a single issue with catholic doctrine – using my NIV study bible (ie my protestant bible, without the 7 books present in catholic bibles – in case the bible had been doctored or skewed by catholics). Again, to my horror – He DID prove to me without any possibility of doubt the truth in the catholic church, over and over and over again – so in the end I basically became a catholic because I couldn’t disprove it, and not only that – I realised that the catholic church was INFINITELY more faithful to scripture than my old sola scriptura church. (A massive shock I can tell you!) I can highly recommend 2 books which really helped me (the second has heaps of biblical references in it) – the first is Rome Sweet Home by Scott Hahn (an ex anti-Catholic pastor who became catholic after studying both in great depth) and the second is “Surprised by Truth” by Patrick Madrid (a book containing testimonies of 11 converts to Catholicism from various backgrounds spanning atheist, protestant, jewish, etc). Re purgatory – the book of Daniel talks about a purifying fire. Also – it makes sense (to me, anyway). How can we really expect to be alive and sinful one moment, then all of a sudden, simply because we’ve died – suddenly be in a suitable state to meet God? We dress up for special occasions, I think it stands to reason that if we have any minor sins still left, they should be dealt with before we meet God face to face. In the NT there’s the parable of the wedding feast, and the person being refused entry because he was unsuitably dressed. The NT also speaks of the unforgiveable sin, and sins that can be forgiven (in the context, it seems as though the author is speaking of after we die). If there is a sin that cannot be forgiven after we die, then what about the sins that CAN be forgiven after we die? In my view – that’s purgatory. In the NT there’s also where Jesus said to sort things out with your accuser before you get to court, because “no one will get out until he has paid the last penny” – again, I believe He was talking about purgatory. Re Mary’s intercession – that is less clear on the face of things, but obvious if you know where to look. Solomon’s mother was a powerful influence on her son. Mary, at the wedding at Cana, intervened and called on Jesus to help when the hosts were going to be embarrassed by running out of wine. In Revelation, John sees the ark of the covenant in Heaven – and immediately follows it with seeing a woman with the moon at her feet, and a crown of twelve stars (it makes more sense when you remember that numbered verses were only inserted later to make it easier to find one’s way around a bible – but John would’ve written it as one piece, not as bits and pieces that stood alone – when read as a whole, he says he sees into heaven – then says he sees a woman. In catholic circles, that woman is considered Mary. She is the Ark of the (New) Covenant – she carried and bore Jesus into the world. And just as the Old Ark of the Covenant was honoured and respected, she should be too). A good book on Mary (and catholics’ view of her) is another Scott Hahn book called “Hail, Holy Queen” – it explains a lot. Mary is not prominent in the bible for the very reason that she always points to her son, Jesus. But that does not exclude the fact that Jesus spent ten times more of His earthly life with her than with His disciples, that she is His mother and therefore to be respected (which is all the catholic church requires us to do – she is NEVER to be worshipped). There is also the Fourth Commandment to Honour thy father and thy mother – Jesus did, so why shouldn’t we? If any mother should be respected it’s Mary. I respect my friends’ mothers, she deserves our respect also. In the end, I think it’s commonsense – an angel appeared to her (at God’s command) and said “Hail (rejoice) Mary, you are full of God’s favour”. Then, when she visited her cousin Elizabeth who was pregnant with John the Baptist – John the Baptist leapt in Elizabeth’s womb and Elizabeth (filled with the Holy Spirit) said “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus!”) If the Holy Spirit (via Elizabeth) called her blessed, and an angel appeared to her as God’s messenger and told her to rejoice because of what God had done in her – then I can’t fathom a reasonable excuse to not treat her with the appropriate level of respect that is due to her. As for the above, and any other issues being unbiblical because they’re not spelled out clearly in the bible – I think that’s wrong, based on the fact that Jesus spoke in parables to everyone but spent time “explaining everything to His disciples in private” – which, I believe, became the oral tradition spoken of in the bible (the church being the pillar and bulwark of the truth, and which Jesus said would stand until the end of time) – and which either Peter or Paul (sorry, I can’t recall off the top of my head) referred to. There is also the authority of the church which is clear – if someone has a problem with his brother, and it cannot be sorted out – take it to the church, the pillar and bulwark of the truth. If the person will not listen even to the church, then treat him as anathema. Pretty strong words which, for a sola scriptura protestant, cannot be ignored – but which means the church cannot be ignored either. There are also other verses in the NT which speak of the oral teachings which had been handed down and which were to be followed (sorry, again I cannot recall the exact references, but you seem to know your way around a bible so I’m sure you’ll be able to find them – unless someone else can help?) Anyway, God bless you as you search – there’s a reason you’re looking for answers in the first place, and I’m sure God will help you find them. In the end, you could always just ring your local catholic church and ask them where the catholic church gets purgatory and about Mary, and/or buy a Catechism of the Catholic Church (pretty cheaply available online). God bless

  13. Michael Carter Reply

    I am a Former pastor from the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. I joined the Catholic Church in 2011. I have always been Catholic in my heart. I only wish that I had done this sooner.