Where do Catholics get the concept of purgatory?


Clarify Share Report Asked February 08 2019 Mini Carolyn DeLautre

Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.

Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
My understanding is that the basis for the concept of purgatory did not come from the 66-book canon of Biblical scripture, but from the deuterocanonical book of 2 Maccabees (specifically, 2 Maccabees 12:39-45), which deals with the period of Israel's history between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament.

The passage cited above speaks of individuals who professed faith in God, but who died while still having sins that they had not confessed or for which they had not done penance, and therefore (according to the belief expressed in the passage) they would not be able enter into God's presence in heaven when the dead would be resurrected at the close of the age, but would be retained in the intermediate state of purgatory until their sins would be "purged" or atoned for. However, the survivors of the deceased individuals could petition God through prayer and through the contribution of money offerings to "forget" those sins in order to permit the admission of the deceased into God's presence.

I would say that, although this belief has a surface appearance of humility (as a result of people not counting themselves worthy to enter heaven with unresolved sin), and aside from the fact that it is not found in the Bible itself, it also detracts from the sufficiency of Jesus' atoning death and resurrection by implying that something besides faith in His death and resurrection is required for salvation, and also that the eternal destiny of individuals can be changed after they have died, which to me contradict passages such as Ephesians 2:8-9 and Hebrews 9:27-28.

February 09 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Add your Answer

All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.

What makes a good answer? ▼

A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.

  1. Adhere to the eBible Statement of Faith.
  2. Your answer should be complete and stand-alone.
  3. Include supporting arguments, and scripture references if possible. Seek to answer the "why".
  4. Adhere to a proper tone and spirit of love and understanding.
  5. For more info see The Complete Guide to eBible
  1. 4000 characters remaining