Suffering and Purgatory

Q. I have heard that Purgatory was a late invention by Roman Catholicism to make money to build Catholic Churches.
i.e. TETZEL the Dominican friar who sold Indulgences in 1517 in Germany.

I do believe as a Catholic that there will be some form of Purification after death in order to prepare us for heaven.

I am not just keen on the SUFFERING BIT of purgatory as nobody likes to suffer!

A. Yes, Tetzel’s selling of indulgences in Germany lit the fire under Martin Luther. And Luther was correct, Tetzel was abusing the the teachings of the Church in order to raise money. But Purgatory was NOT invented as a fundraising scheme in the 1500’s. As you may have seen the Jews long before Christianity believed in a purification after death. The Name PURGATORY was given to conceptualize this purification, just like Trinity and Incarnation which we have already said are not in the Bible. This name may have come into use later but I don’t know at what date.

Try not to worry about the suffering in Purgatory. We also suffer here in this life and if offered up in union with Christ it will enable to remove some of the suffering we are due in Purgatory. Just as the suffering in this life is not unbearable so our suffering in Purgatory will be bearable. But our Catholic doctrine of suffering is so very beautiful. If we can recollect ourselves and rejoice in our suffering as Peter says in his epistle and offer it up for our own purification or the Holy Souls in Purgatory we can begin our Purgatory in this life. It changes every suffering great and small and brings us so much peace in the midst of our suffering; unlike those who just grit their teeth and bear it, and believe there is no purpose or reason for their suffering. We can also avoid time in Purgatory by giving alms and of course diligently AVOIDING SIN.


5 Responses to Suffering and Purgatory

  1. Joel says:

    The sale of indulgences actually goes back much further than the 16th Century. The Papal Bull Unigenitus issued by Clement VI in 1343 was the document that made the sale of indulgences possible. Subsequently, Albert of Mainz issued further instructions on the sale of indulgences while bishop (early 16th Century). He even went so far as to spell out how much a person should pay based on his social status. Inerestingly enough he was motivated to pay off a debt accrued in the aquisition of the bishicratic office and Pope Leo agreed to the sale of indulgences so long as Rome would get a piece of the pie. Fun stuff!

    The earliest Church Fathers did speak about a an intermediate state of the dead, such as Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Cyprain of Carthage and Cyril of Jerusalem. I have been trying to find the earliest date by which it was refered to as Purgatory and will call again as soon as I find it.

  2. bfhu says:

    It has been my impression that the sale of indulgences has always been an abuse.

  3. Joel says:

    Well, I never said it wasn’t an abuse, just that Pope Leo condoned it for some of the action with the express purpose of building St. Peter’s. In fact it was so scandalous it split the Church! That is, IMHO, more scandalous than our modern sex abuse scandal. The shepards were robbing the flock blind. A sad point in RC history.

  4. Certainly the “sale” of indulgences is an abuse… But questions arise about almsgiving, and what it used to mean in a time when disposable income was something utterly unknown.

    When you worked for a pittance, giving money represented a true, true sacrifice.

  5. Joel says:

    SS, absolutely right. The benifits of almsgiving is beyond enumeration.

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