Sunday, January 3, 2010

Catholic Dogma: The Reality of Purgatory

St. Padre Pio knew more than most people about Purgatory and the souls who wait there for their release. He obtained permission from his spiritual director to offer himself as victim for sinners and for souls in Purgatory. He suffered the wounds of Christ in his own body for fifty years, along with countless other sufferings. Despite overflow crowds at his Masses, he said, “More souls of the dead from Purgatory than of the living…attend my Masses and seek my prayers.”

The existence of Purgatory and the need for souls to be perfectly pure before seeing God in the Beatific Vision is a dogma of the Catholic faith. A dogma is something we are expected to believe as Catholics. Unfortunately, many Catholics no longer believe this dogma, or do not take it seriously. At many funerals the faithful departed are unofficially “canonized”. It is comforting for the bereaved to believe their loved ones are already enjoying heavenly bliss, but the truth is we do not know if that is the case. The Catholic Church takes very seriously the process of canonization. It is a long, exacting process. St. Pio said, “…we must always pray. If they no longer need prayers, they are applied to other souls."

The souls of the just which, in the moment of death, are burdened with venial sins or temporal punishment due to sins, enter Purgatory. (De fide.)

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