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Who Goes to Purgatory? Will I Go to Purgatory? Do Indulgences Help Us?



The Catholic Blog - Helping people find answers to the most common questions about Catholicism with answers from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Bible. ( )

“Will I go to purgatory?” - Important Passages of The Catechism of the Catholic Church to Consider:

  • “Woe on those who will die in mortal sin!” (CCC 1014)
  • “Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life” (CCC 1472)
  • “every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified here on earth, or after death in a state called Purgatory” (CCC 1472)
  • “this purification frees one from what is called the ‘temporal punishment’ of sin” (CCC 1472)
  • “A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain” (CCC 1472)
  • “Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven - through purification or immediately, or immediate and everlasting damnation. ‘At the evening of life we shall be judged on our love.” (CCC 1022)  
  • “the souls of all the saints…and other faithful who died after receiving Christ’s holy Baptism (provided they were not in need of purification when they died, … or, if they then did need or will need some purification, when they have been purified after death, …)…will be in heaven” (CCC 1023)
  • “All who died in God’s grace and friendship, but  are still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven” (CCC 1030)
  • “The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned” (CCC 1031)
  • The Church formulated their doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence [1439] and Trent [1563].  The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire.” (CCC 1031)
  • “for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire” (CCC 1031)
  • “we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come” (CCC 1031)
  • “From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God” (CCC 1032) 
  • “The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead” (CCC 1032)
  • “Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them” (CCC 1032)


“Do indulgences help us?” - Important Passages of The Catechism of the Catholic Church to Consider:

  • “An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions throughout the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints” (CCC 1471)
  • “relatives who must see to it that the sick receive at the proper time the sacraments that prepare them to meet the living God” (CCC 2299)
  • “An indulgence…removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin.  The faithful can gain indulgences for themselves or apply them to the dead.” (CCC 1471)
  • “every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creates, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death, in the state called Purgatory” (CCC 1472)
  • “a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory, and those who are still pilgrims on earth.  Between theme there is, too, and abundant exchange of good things.’  In this wonderful exchange the holiness of one profits others, well beyond the harm that the sin of one could cause others.  Thus recourse to the communion of saints lets the contrite sinner be more promptly and efficaciously purified for the punishments for sin” (CCC 1475)
  • “This treasury includes as well the prayers and good works of the Blessed Virgin Mary” (CCC 1477)
  • “In this treasury too, are the prayers and good works of all the saints” (CCC 1477)
  • “In this way they attained their own salvation and at the same time cooperated in saving their brothers” (CCC 1477)
  • “Since the faithful departed now being purified are also members of the same communion of saints, one way we can help them is to obtain indulgences for them so that the temporal punishments for their sins may be remitted” (CCC 1479)
  • “Through indulgences the faithful can obtain the remission of temporal punishment resulting from sin for themselves and also for the souls in Purgatory” (CCC 1498)
  • 2 Maccabbees 12:43, "And making a gathering, he sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection.”

“Will I go to purgatory? Do indulgences help us?” - Important Scriptures to Consider:

  • 1 John 2:2 “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (ESV)
  • Romans 5:8 “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
  • 1 Corinthians 13:15 “If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” (ESV)
  • 1 Peter 1:7 “so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (ESV)
  • Hebrews 7:27 “He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.” (ESV)
  • 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 “So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” (ESV)
  • Philippians 1:21 “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (ESV)
  • Philippians 1:23 “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.”
  • Job 1:5 "And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, ‘It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.’” (ESV)
  • Luke 23:43 “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (ESV)
  • Deuteronomy 4:2 “You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you.” (ESV)
  • Romans 8:1–2 "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. [2] For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” (ESV)
  • 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (ESV)
  • Colossians 2:13–14 "And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, [14] by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” (ESV)

“Will I go to purgatory? Do indulgences help us?” - Important Questions to consider:

  • Were Job’s sons alive or dead when made offerings for them (Job 1:5)?
  • Does 1 Corinthians 13:14-15 speak about people being burned up or their works being burned up to evidence their quality/genuineness?  Does it talk about the person being burned or escaping from the fire or being cleansed by the fire?
  • If the Bible speaks so much about Heaven and Hell, why did it take the Catholic Church 1400+ years to approve a statement on Purgatory?
    • “The Church formulated their doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence [1439 A.D.] and Trent [1563 A.D.].” (CCC 1031)
  • What were the motives of the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory?  How were they connected with indulgences and money/fundraising?  Why were Martin Luther and other reformers so much against this abuse of power and manipulative tactics?
  • Why does the Bible have so many warnings about adding to it?  What is the danger? What is the offense?  How has the Catholic Church offended God in the invention of purgatory?
  • Where is the concept of indulgences in the Bible?
  • What does Romans 8:1-2 mean?  What does 1 John 1:9 mean?
  • If our debt has been fully paid (Colossians 2:13–14), why is there a need for Purgatory or Indulgences?
  • SEE: “What Does the Bible Say About Heaven?” 
  • SEE: “What Does the Bible Say About Hell?”

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