Fr. Mark Bentz discusses the existence of Purgatory and the scriptural proof. If you do a word search in the Bible, purgatory will not be in it. However, that does not discount its validity to the Christian Church, because the words trinity and incarnation do not make an appearance either—both fundamental doctrine of Christianity. So where does this idea come from? Mainly, it comes from the oral tradition of the early apostles. It is a place of purification after death, which was unanimously believed in by all of the early Christians.

There is also scriptural support for the existence of Purgatory. In the Jewish tradition, mourner’s offer the Kaddish prayer for months after the death of a loved one. This is seen in scripture, when a man makes offerings as “atonement for the dead” (2 Maccabees 12:43-45). Then in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus says, “Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matthew 12:32). This implies that we can be purified for other kinds of sins in Heaven. If there were not a place for this purification, then all people that were not fully reconciled with God would be in Hell. Thanks be to God that this is not the case.

The mercy of Purgatory is an extension of Christ’s mercy beyond the grave. It is not a second chance for people to accept Christ, but is instead a place for those that loved God, but did not completely cooperate with his grace. At the end of time, Purgatory will cease to exist when everyone there has been purified.

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