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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Purgatory: Two Views (link to Jimmy Akin's blog)

Jimmy Akin was kind enough to respond to my cry for help via email regarding the quoestions, clarifications and more questions posted in this blog (check the comment boxes) concerning Purgatory, sanctification, temporal punishment, justice, and .. Oh, just read Jimmy's blog and be enlightened. Thanks, Jimmy. :-)


Anonymous said...
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Jeff Tan said...

(Previous comment deleted)

M. Anonymous, I continued to converse with him (and another Calvinist) because I hoped to teach him something. I hoped to teach him that what he thinks he knows about Catholicism is wrong. Yes, he does not allow anyone to argue in defense of Catholicism. Well, if he won't allow Catholics to tell him what Catholicism is, then the only recourse was to show him what a Catholic looks, acts and thinks like. I am one of two (maybe more) who occasionally visit his blog, and I think our reasons for doing so are the same.

I know how frustrating and abrasive he can be, but that is no reason to abandon hope or charitable conversations.

L P Cruz said...

Hi Jeff,

I read his blog. I do not agree that this doctrine of temporal punishment does not contradict the atonement of the Lord Jesus. It does contradict it.

Here are my points.

1.) To take purgatory as taught by Heb 12 is a mis-reading of scripture. Purgatory as a state or place is not alluded to there even as a concept. The chastisement happens here.

2.) So in RC doctrine, Jesus pays for your sins against Hell but you pay for your little ones in purgatory - and suffer for it. To say that there are sins that you have to pay for even temporarily in the afterlife (IMHO) is a deflection from the gospel.

Paul looked forward to his exit here on earth - he said absent from the body is present w/ the Lord.
I quote ... from Formula of Concord..

"Our Papists, however, cite such statements [opinions] of men in order that men should believe in their horrible, blasphemous, and cursed traffic in masses for souls in purgatory [or in sacrifices for the dead and oblations], etc. But they will never prove these things from Augustine. Now, when they have abolished the traffic in masses for purgatory, of which Augustine never dreamt, we will then discuss with them whether the expressions of Augustine without Scripture [being without the warrant of the Word] are to be admitted, and whether the dead should be remembered at the Eucharist"

Protestants are offended by the teaching because they can not find it in Scripture and anything that can not be found in scripture and yet made an article of faith is considered a distraction from the gospel.

Jeff Tan said...

'Purgatory as a state or place is not alluded to there even as a concept. '

Hebrews 12 and Purgatory share the same concept of the Lord's chastisement which is painful and is about correction. On the other hand, Purgatory specifically refers to chastisement AFTER death. But they do share the same notion of chastisement or discipline, not as atonement for sins, but as a means towards purification.

'Jesus pays for your sins against Hell but you pay for your little ones in purgatory'

I've clarified this:

'But what is temporal punishment? It's not about payment for sins. The goal of temporal punishment is our correction, as in Hebrews 12.'

and Jimmy Akin has clarified this. Let's clarify it further: we all undergo the chastisement of God because he loves us as his children. Chastisement adds nothing to the Atonement, which is Christ's alone for our benefit. We are already children of God, and our sins have already been forgiven. The Catechism makes clear that temporal punishment presupposes sins that have already been forgiven, where the eternal punishment has already been paid for by Christ.

The Catholic (and biblical) doctrine of temporal punishment (chastisement of God) is for all sin: unto death or not unto death. Again, this is not about atonement (as the Bible clearly explains in Hebrews 12), but about correction. In the two schools of thought that Jimmy Akin mentioned, it is either imposed by God or it is the natural consequence of our sins that God permits us to undergo. In both cases, it is for our correction, not atonement.

By "natural consequence" of sins, I do not mean the wages of sin. I mean the natural results, e.g., the guilt, the misery of losing friends over one's sinful behavior, becoming outcast, or even going to jail for a crime committed. Note that we may experience these natural consequences of sin despite the Atonement of Christ which pays for the eternal punishment incurred by sin. We also recognize that these examples are chastisements anyway, and when they happen to us, we may be so lucky to recognize the strokes of our Father in Heaven, by which He is correcting us for our own benefit.

BTW, St. Augustine did believe in Purgatory, and wrote so in "The City of God." He also wrote about his wishes for prayers to be offered for his deceased mother, St. Monica.

Finally, it is not true that it is not in Scripture. Praying for the dead is mentioned explicitly in 2 Maccabees. Unfortunately, it is not in the Protestant Bible because Luther decided to remove it, along with the other deuterocanonicals.