Thursday, August 23, 2007
Catholic Tradition and Purgatory
"I have more than once commented on the incorrectness of that method of arguing, which demands that we prove every one of our doctrines individually from the Scriptures. I occupied myself, during my first course of lectures, in demonstrating the Catholic principle of faith, that the Church of Christ was constituted by Him the depositary of His truths, and that, although many were recorded in His Holy Word, still many were committed to traditional keeping, and that Christ himself has faithfully promised to teach in His Church, and has thus secured her from error. It is on this authority that the Catholic grounds his belief in the doctrine of Purgatory: yet, not so but that its principle is laid down, indirectly at least, in the word of God."
-Cardinal Nicholas Patrick Wiseman
"There is not much in Scripture on Purgatory except that in Second Maccabees 12:45, Judas sends a collection to the Temple for those fallen in battle, found with amulets on, "that they might be freed from this sin." Luther saw so clearly that this referred to Purgatory--which he rejected--that he rejected this book too, declaring it not part of Scripture. Some have tried to see an implication of Purgatory in Matthew 12:32. There Jesus speaks of the sin against the Holy Spirit that will be forgiven "neither in this world nor in the next." But the expression quoted is known in Rabbinic literature, where it means merely "never." Still less could we deduce purgatory from First Corinthians 3:11-15. Paul means if the work of some Christian worker has been of such low quality that it burns down, he himself will be saved "as through fire." But the fire seems to mean the apocalyptic fire of the last day, not a fire of purgatory.
But our belief in Purgatory rests on the tradition and definitions of the Church, at the Councils of Lyons II, Florence, and Trent.”
-The Basic Catholic Catechism