Purgatory, in the original sense, is the condition or process of purification or temporary punishment in which the souls of those who die in a state of grace are made ready for heaven, an idea that has ancient roots and is well-attested in early Christian literature, while the conception of purgatory as a geographically situated place is largely the achievement of medieval Christian piety and imagination. [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9061946/purgatory Encyclopaedia Britannica] ]

The notion of purgatory is associated particularly with the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church, but some other Christian groups also assert the possibility of an improvement in the soul's spiritual situation following death. Anglo-Catholic Anglicans generally hold to the belief. The Eastern Orthodox Church believes in the possibility of a change of situation for the souls of the dead through the prayers of the living and the offering of the Divine Liturgy, [" [http://esoptron.umd.edu/ugc/ocf1c.html Orthodox Confession of Faith] ", questions 64-66.] and many Orthodox, especially among ascetics, hope and pray for a general apocatastasis [Olivier Clément, L'Église orthodoxe. Presses Universitaries de France, 2006, Section 3, IV] A similar belief in at least the possibility of a final salvation for all is held by Mormonism. [See, for instance, [http://www.mormon.org/mormonorg/eng/basic-beliefs/heavenly-father-s-plan-of-salvation/life-after-death LDS Life After Death] ] Judaism also believes in the possibility of after-death purification [ [http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=115&letter=G Jewish Encyclopedia: Gehenna] ] and may even use the word "purgatory" to present its understanding of the meaning of Gehenna. [ [http://www.chabad.org/search/keyword_cdo/kid/10797/jewish/Gehinnom.htm Gehinnom] ] However, the concept of soul "purification" may be explicitly denied in these other faith traditions.

The word "purgatory" has come to refer also to a wide range of historical and modern conceptions of postmortem suffering short of everlasting damnation, and is used, in a non-specific sense, to mean any place or condition of suffering or torment, especially one that is temporary. [ [http://dictionary.reverso.net/english-definitions/purgatory Collins English Dictionary] ]

Purgatory in Roman Catholicism

Roman Catholicism gives the name purgatory to the final purification of all who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified. [http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P2N.HTM Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1030-1031] ] Though purgatory is often pictured as a place rather than a process of purification, this idea is not part of the Church's doctrine. [ [http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/audiences/1999/documents/hf_jp-ii_aud_04081999_en.html Audience of 4 August 1999] ]

Heaven and Hell

According to Catholic belief, immediately after death, a person undergoes judgment in which the soul's eternal destiny is specified. Some are eternally united with God in Heaven, often envisioned as a paradise of eternal joy. Conversely, others are destined for Hell, a state of eternal separation from God often envisioned as a fiery place of punishment. ["Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, 'eternal fire'" ( [http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p123a12.htm# IV Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1035).] ]

Purgatory's role

In addition to accepting the states of heaven and hell, Roman Catholicism envisages a third state before being admitted to heaven. According to Roman Catholic doctrine, some souls are not sufficiently free from sin and its consequences to enter the state of heaven immediately, nor are they so sinful as to be destined for hell either. [Cf. [http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p123a12.htm#III CCC 1030-1032] ] Such souls, ultimately destined to be united with God in heaven, must first endure purgatory—a state of purification. [ [http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p123a12.htm#III CCC 1030-1032] ] In purgatory, souls "achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven." [ [http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p123a12.htm CCC 1054] ]


Roman Catholics make a distinction between two types of sin. [ [http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P6C.HTM CCC 1854] ] Mortal sin is a "grave violation of God's law" that "turns man away from God", [ [http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P6C.HTM CCC 1855] ] and if it is not redeemed by repentance and God's forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell. [ [http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P6C.HTM CCC 1861] ]

In contrast, venial sin (meaning "forgivable" sin) "does not set us in direct opposition to the will and friendship of God" [ [http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P6C.HTM CCC 1863] ] and, although still "constituting a moral disorder", [ [http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p3s1c1a8.htm#IV CCC 1875] ] does not deprive the sinner of friendship with God, and consequently the eternal happiness of heaven. [ [http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P6C.HTM CCC 1863] ]

According to Roman Catholicism, pardon of sins and purification can occur during life—for example, in the Sacrament of Baptism [ [http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P3N.HTM CCC 1263] ] and the Sacrament of Penance. [ [http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P4F.HTM CCC 1468] ] However, if this purification is not achieved in life, venial sins can still be purified after death. [ [http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p123a12.htm#III CCC 1030] ] The specific name given to this purification of sin after death is "purgatory". [ [http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p123a12.htm#III CCC 1031] ]

Pain and Fire

Purgatory is a cleansing that involves painful punishment, associated with the idea of fire such as is associated with the idea of hell. [ [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12575a.htm Catholic Encyclopedia on Purgatory] ] Several Church Fathers wrote about the purgatorial fire. St. Augustine described the fires of cleansing as more painful than anything a man can suffer in this life, [ [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12575a.htm Catholic Encyclopedia on Purgatory] ] and Pope Gregory I wrote that there must be a cleansing fire for some minor faults that may remain to be purged away. ["Each one will be presented to the Judge exactly as he was when he departed this life. Yet, there must be a cleansing fire before judgment, because of some minor faults that may remain to be purged away. Does not Christ, the Truth, say that if anyone blasphemes against the Holy Spirit he shall not be forgiven 'either in this world or in the world to come'(Mt. 12:32)? From this statement we learn that some sins can be forgiven in this world and some in the world to come. For, if forgiveness is refused for a particular sin, we conclude logically that it is granted for others. This must apply, as I said, to slight transgressions." Gregory the Great [regn. A.D. 590-604] , Dialogues, 4:39 (A.D. 594).] Origen wrote about the fire that needs to purify the soul ["For if on the foundation of Christ you have built not only gold and silver and precious stones (1 Cor.,3); but also wood and hay and stubble, what do you expect when the soul shall be separated from the body? Would you enter into heaven with your wood and hay and stubble and thus defile the kingdom of God; or on account of these hindrances would you remain without and receive no reward for your gold and silver and precious stones; neither is this just. It remains then that you be committed to the fire which will burn the light materials; for our God to those who can comprehend heavenly things is called a cleansing fire. But this fire consumes not the creature, but what the creature has himself built, wood, and hay and stubble. It is manifest that the fire destroys the wood of our transgressions and then returns to us the reward of our great works." Origen, Homilies on Jeremias, PG 13:445, 448 ( A.D. 244).] St. Gregory of Nyssa also wrote about the purging fire. ["When he has quitted his body and the difference between virtue and vice is known he cannot approach God till the purging fire shall have cleansed the stains with which his soul was infested. That same fire in others will cancel the corruption of matter, and the propensity to evil." Gregory of Nyssa, Sermon on the Dead, PG 13:445,448 (ante A.D. 394).]

Most theologians of the past have held that the fire is in some sense a material fire, though of a nature different from ordinary fire, but the opinion of other theologians who interpret the Scriptural term "fire" metaphorically has not been condemned by the Church [ [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07207a.htm#VI Catholic Encyclopedia on "poena sensus"] ] and may now be the more common view. The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of a "cleansing fire". [ [http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p123a12.htm#III CCC 1031] ] and quotes the expression "purgatorius ignis" (purifying fire) used by Pope Gregory the Great. It speaks of the temporal punishment for sin, even in this life, as a matter of "sufferings and trials of all kinds". [ [http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p2s2c2a4.htm CCC 1473] . In his 2007 encyclical "Spe salvi", Pope Benedict XVI applies to the purgation of souls after death the words of Paul the Apostle in bibleverse|1|Corinthians|3:12-15 about some being "saved, but only as through fire"; in the encounter with Christ after death, Christ's "gaze, the touch of his heart heals us through an undeniably painful transformation 'as through fire'. But it is a blessed pain, in which the holy power of his love sears through us like a flame, enabling us to become totally ourselves and thus totally of God" ( [http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20071130_spe-salvi_en.html "Spe salvi",] 46-47).] It describes purgatory as a necessary purification from "an unhealthy attachment to creatures", a purification that "frees one from what is called the 'temporal punishment' of sin", a punishment that "must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin." [ [http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p2s2c2a4.htm CCC 1472] ]

Prayer for the dead and Indulgences

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the fate of those in purgatory can be affected by the actions of the living. [ [http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P2N.HTM CCC 1032] ]

In the same context there is mention of the practice of indulgences. An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven. [ [http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P4G.HTM CCC 1471] ] Indulgences may be obtained for oneself, or on behalf of Christians who have died. [ [http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P4G.HTM CCC 1479] ]

Prayers for the dead and indulgences have been envisioned as decreasing the "duration" of time the dead would spend in purgatory. Traditionally, most indulgences were measured in term of days, "quarantines" (i.e. 40-day periods as for Lent), or years, meaning that they were equivalent to that length of canonical penance on the part of a living Christian. [ [http://www.catholic-pages.com/penance/indulgences.asp Indulgences in the Catholic Church | Catholic-Pages.com ] ] When the imposition of such canonical penances of a determinate duration fell out of custom these expressions were sometimes popularly misinterpreted as reduction of that much time of a soul's stay in purgatory. [ [http://www.catholic-pages.com/penance/indulgences.asp Indulgences in the Catholic Church | Catholic-Pages.com ] ] In Pope Paul VI's revision of the rules concerning indulgences, these expressions were dropped, and replaced by the expression "partial indulgence", indicating that the person who gained such an indulgence for a pious action is granted, "in addition to the remission of temporal punishment acquired by the action itself, an equal remission of punishment through the intervention of the Church" [ [http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/P6INDULG.HTM Pope Paul VI, Apostolic Constitution on Indulgences,] norm 5]

Historically, the practice of granting indulgences, and the widespread [Section "Abuses" in [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07783a.htm Catholic Encyclopedia: Purgatory] ] associated abuses, which led to them being seen as increasingly bound up with money, with criticisms being directed against the "sale" of indulgences, were a source of controversy that was the immediate occasion of the Protestant Reformation in Germany and Switzerland. [ [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12700b.htm Catholic Encyclopedia: Reformation] ]

Purgatory as a physical place

In antiquity and medieval times, heaven and hell were regarded as places existing within the physical universe: heaven "above", in the sky; hell "below", in or beneath the earth. Similarly, purgatory has at times been thought of as a physical location. In Dante's fourteenth century work The Divine Comedy, shows this with Earth as the center of the universe (and hell at the "center of the center" of the universe), the planets and stars revolving around Earth and Heaven (or the Seven Heavens) encircling Creation in Celestial spheres.

As for purgatory, it is depicted as a mountain in the southern hemisphere. When, according to Dante's work, Satan rebelled against God and was defeated, he was cast out from Heaven and fell to Earth. The impact crater from the fall was so great that it reached to the Earth's core. Satan being held at the center of the center of the universe (Earth) was seen as reflecting his selfishness. As for the crater, it was filled over becoming a dark and fiery cavern, Hell, with Jerusalem directly over Satan.

Yet the force of the Satan's impact created such an uplift, that it produced a mountain "beneath" Satan. Souls given a second chance find themselves at Mt. Purgatory and should they reach the top they will find themselves at Jerusalem's antipode, the Garden of Eden itself. Thus cleansed of all sin and made perfect, they wait in Earthly paradise before ascending to Heaven. Thus, ironically, all Satan's attempts to destroy and damn humanity did was ensure humanity's salvation.

This is no longer the mainstream religious concept of purgatory. In 1999 Pope John Paul II declared that the term ('purgatory') did not indicate a place, but "a condition of existence". [ [http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/audiences/1999/documents/hf_jp-ii_aud_04081999_en.html Audience of 4 August 1999] ]

Roman Catholic statements

The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, first published in 2005, is a summary in dialog form of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It deals with purgatory in the following exchange: ["Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church", [http://www.vatican.va/archive/compendium_ccc/documents/archive_2005_compendium-ccc_en.html#I%20Believe%20in%20the%20Holy%20Spirit 210-211] ] quotation|210. What is purgatory?: "Purgatory is the state of those who die in God’s friendship, assured of their eternal salvation, but who still have need of purification to enter into the happiness of heaven."

211. How can we help the souls being purified in purgatory?:"Because of the communion of saints, the faithful who are still pilgrims on earth are able to help the souls in purgatory by offering prayers in suffrage for them, especially the Eucharistic sacrifice. They also help them by almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance."

These two questions and answers summarize information in sections 1020–1032 [ [http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P2N.HTM Catechism of the Catholic Church, sections 1020-1032] ] and 1054 [ [http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P2R.HTM Catechism of the Catholic Church, section 1054] ] of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, published in 1992, which also speaks of purgatory in sections 1472 and 1473 [ [http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P4G.HTM Catechism of the Catholic Church, sections 1472-1473] ]

More authoritative statements are those of the Council of Trent in 1563 [ [http://www.ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/TRENT25.HTM#1 Decree concerning Purgatory] ] and the Council of Florence in 1439. [ [http://www.catecheticsonline.com/SourcesofDogma7.php Denzinger 1304 - old numbering 693] ]

Eastern Catholic Churches

The Eastern Catholic Churches are Catholic Churches "sui iuris" of Eastern (i.e. non-Roman) tradition, in full communion with the Pope. There are however some differences between the Latin Church and some of the Eastern Catholic Churches on aspects of purgatory. The Eastern Catholic Churches of Greek tradition do not generally use the word "purgatory", but agree that there is a "final purification" for souls destined for heaven, and that prayers can help the dead who are in that state of "final purification". In general, neither the members of the Latin Church nor the members of these Eastern Catholic Churches regard these differences as major points of dispute, but see them as minor nuances and differences of tradition. A treaty that formalized the admission of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church into the full communion of the Roman Catholic Church stated: "We shall not debate about purgatory, but we entrust ourselves to the teaching of the Holy Church", [ [http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1595brest.html Treaty of Brest, Article 5] ] implying, in the opinion of a theologian of that Church, that both sides can agree to disagree on the specifics of what the West calls "purgatory", while there is full agreement on the essentials. [ [http://www.east2west.org/doctrine.htm#Purgatory Doctrine] ] Between the Latin Church and some other Eastern Catholic Churches, such as the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, there is no disagreement about any aspect of the doctrine of purgatory.

Eastern Orthodox Church

The Eastern Church came to admit of an intermediate state after death, but refrained from defining it so as not to blur the distinction between the alternative fates of Heaven and Hell; it combined with this doctrine a firm belief in the efficacy of prayer for the dead, which was a constant feature of both East and West liturgies. Such prayer is held to be unintelligible without belief in some interim state in which the dead might benefit.Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005, article "Purgatory"]

Eastern Orthodox teaching is that, while all undergo a Particular Judgment immediately after death, neither the just nor the wicked attain the final state of bliss or punishment before the last day, [John Meyondorff, "Byzantine Theology" (London: Mowbrays, 1974) pp. 220-221. "At death man's body goes to the earth from which it was taken, and the soul, being immortal, goes to God, who gave it. The souls of men, being conscious and exercising all their faculties immediately after death, are judged by God. This judgment following man's death we call the Particular Judgment. The final reward of men, however, we believe will take place at the time of the General Judgment. During the time between the Particular and the General Judgment, which is called the Intermediate State, the souls of men have foretaste of their blessing or punishment" ( [http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article8029.asp The Orthodox Faith] ).] with some exceptions for righteous souls like the Theotokos (Blessed Virgin Mary), "who was borne by the angels directly to heaven". [ Michael Azkoul, [http://www.ocf.org/OrthodoxPage/reading/ortho_cath.html "What Are the Differences Between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism?"] ]

Eastern Orthodox theology does not generally describe the situation of the dead as involving suffering or fire, although it nevertheless describes it as a "direful condition". [" [http://www.cresourcei.org/creeddositheus.html Confession of Dositheus] ", Decree 18] The souls of the righteous dead are in light and rest, with a foretaste of eternal happiness; but the souls of the wicked are in a state the reverse of this. Among the latter, such souls as have departed with faith, but "without having had time to bring forth fruits worthy of repentance..., may be aided towards the attainment of a blessed resurrection [at the end of time] by prayers offered in their behalf, especially those offered in union with the oblation of the bloodless sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ, and by works of mercy done in faith for their memory." [" [http://www.pravoslavieto.com/docs/eng/Orthodox_Catechism_of_Philaret.htm#gen0 Catechism of St. Philaret of Moscow,] " 372 and 376; Constas H. Demetry, [http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/catechis.html "Catechism of the Eastern Orthodox Church"] p. 37; John Meyondorff, "Byzantine Theology" (London: Mowbrays, 1974) p. 96; cf. "The Orthodox party ... remarked that the words quoted from the book of Maccabees, and our Saviour's words, can only prove that some sins will be forgiven after death" (OrthodoxInfo.com, [http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/death/stmark_purg.aspx "The Orthodox Response to the Latin Doctrine of Purgatory"] )]

The state in which souls undergo this experience is often referred to as "Hades". [ [http://www.ocf.org/OrthodoxPage/reading/ortho_cath.html "What Are the Differences Between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism?"] ; Constas H. Demetry, [http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/catechis.html "Catechism of the Eastern Orthodox Church"] p. 37]

The "Orthodox Confession" of Peter Mogila (1596-1646), adopted, in a Greek translation by Meletius Syrigos, by the 1642 Council of Jassy, in Romania, professes that "many are freed from the prison of hell ... through the good works of the living and the Church's prayers for them, most of all through the unbloody sacrifice, which is offered on certain days for all the living and the dead" (question 64); and (under the heading "How must one consider the purgatorial fire?") "the Church rightly performs for them the unbloody sacrifice and prayers, but they do not cleanse themselves by suffering something. But, the Church never maintained that which pertains to the fanciful stories of some concerning the souls of their dead, who have not done penance and are punished, as it were, in streams, springs and swamps" (question 66).". [" [http://esoptron.umd.edu/ugc/ocf1c.html Orthodox Confession of Faith] ", questions 64-66.]

The Eastern Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem, held in 1672, declared that "the souls of those that have fallen asleep are either at rest or in torment, according to what each hath wrought" (an enjoyment or condemnation that will be complete only after the resurrection of the dead); but the souls of some "depart into Hades, and there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed. But they are aware of their future release from there, and are delivered by the Supreme Goodness, through the prayers of the Priests, and the good works which the relatives of each do for their Departed; especially the unbloody Sacrifice benefiting the most; which each offers particularly for his relatives that have fallen asleep, and which the Catholic and Apostolic Church offers daily for all alike. Of course, it is understood that we do not know the time of their release. We know and believe that there is deliverance for such from their direful condition, and that before the common resurrection and judgment, but when we know not." [" [http://www.cresourcei.org/creeddositheus.html Confession of Dositheus] ", Decree 18]

Some Orthodox believe in a controversial theory of "Aerial Toll-Houses" for the souls of the dead. According to this theory, which is rejected by other Orthodox, "following a person's death the soul leaves the body and is escorted to God by angels. During this journey the soul passes through an aerial realm which is ruled by demons. The soul encounters these demons at various points referred to as 'toll-houses' where the demons then attempt to accuse it of sin and, if possible, drag the soul into hell." [ [http://www.stlukeorthodox.com/html/evangelist/2000/deathtoll.htm Death and the Toll House Controversy] ]


As Anglo-catholic Anglicans often identify strongly with Roman Catholic and Orthodox liturgy and theology, it is generally accepted among them that purgatory exists.


In general, Protestant churches do not accept the doctrine of purgatory. One of Protestantism's central tenets is "sola scriptura" ("scripture alone"). The general Protestant view is that the Bible contains no overt, explicit discussion of purgatory and therefore it should be rejected as an unbiblical belief. [The same argument has been used by, for instance, Nontrinitarianism]

Another tenet of Protestantism is "sola fide" ("by faith alone"). While Catholicism regards both good works and faith as being essential to salvation, Protestants believe faith alone is sufficient to achieve salvation and that good works are merely "evidence" of that faith. Salvation is generally seen as a discrete event which takes place during one's lifetime. Instead of distinguishing between mortal and venial sins, Protestants believe that one's faith or state of salvation dictates one's place in the afterlife. Those who have been saved by God are destined for heaven, while those have not been saved will be excluded from heaven. Accordingly, they reject the notion of any provisional or temporary state or place, such as purgatory.

Accordingly, Martin Luther believed that it was of no avail to pray for the dead. [Question 201 of Luther's Small Catechism with Explanation (Concordia Publishing House, 1991 edition) answers the question "For whom should we pray?" as follows: "We should pray for ourselves and for all other people, even for our enemies, but not for the souls of the dead" ( [http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=2687 The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod] ] Nonetheless, a core statement of Lutheran doctrine, albeit not by Luther, states: "Epiphanius testifies that Aerius held that prayers for the dead are useless. With this he finds fault. "Neither do we favor Aerius" (Philipp Melanchthon, "Apology of the Augsburg Confession" - emphasis added). [ [http://www.bookofconcord.org/augsburgdefense/23_mass.html Apology XXIV, 96] ]

Some Protestants hold that a person enters into the fullness of its bliss or torment only after the resurrection of the body, and that the soul in that intermediate state is conscious and aware of the fate in store for it. [John Calvin wrote: "As long as (our spirit) is in the body it exerts its own powers; but when it quits this prison-house it returns to God, whose presence it meanwhile enjoys, while it rests in the hope of a blessed Resurrection. This rest is its paradise. On the other hand, the spirit of the reprobate, while it waits for the dreadful judgment, is tortured by that anticipation" ( [http://ude.net/bible/psychopannychia__by_john_calvin.htm Psychopannychia by John Calvin)] ] Others have held that souls in the intermediate state between death and resurrection are without consciousness, a state known as soul sleep. [Martin Luther, contending against the doctrine of purgatory, spoke of the souls of the dead as quite asleep, but this notion of unconscious soul sleep is not included in the Lutheran Confessions and Lutheran theologians generally reject it. (See [http://www.wels.net/cgi-bin/site.pl?1518&cuTopic_topicID=78&cuItem_itemID=5245 Soul Sleep – Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.)] ]


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds that, in the spirit world, where the human spirit goes after death, those who chose to follow Jesus Christ during earthly life will be at peace and those who chose not to follow him and did not repent will be unhappy, and all will have the opportunity to learn about Jesus Christ and to repent. [ [http://www.mormon.org/mormonorg/eng/basic-beliefs/heavenly-father-s-plan-of-salvation/life-after-death LDS Life After Death] ] After the resurrection, even those who knowingly sinned will be admitted to heaven, though only to the lowest of the three kingdoms or degrees of glory. [ [http://www.mormon.org/mormonorg/eng/basic-beliefs/heavenly-father-s-plan-of-salvation/heaven-and-eternal-reward#d Heaven and Eternal Reward] ] They receive this glory only after they have themselves paid for their sins and suffered for their transgressions. [ [http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/76 Mormon Degrees of Glory, lines 81-86] . Any of the degrees of glory comes at a price. Either Christ pays this price or the individual pays. Those who did not repent while alive must pay the price for themselves. The glory they receive depends on whether they had the opportunity to accept Christ and repent while alive: those who did not have this chance while alive but lived honorable lives will receive greater glory than honorable men who knowingly rejected Christ while alive ( [http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/76 Mormon Degrees of Glory] ).] . Mormon belief in the possibility of repenting after death is radically opposed to the belief that a person's attitude to God is fixed at death (see Particular judgment), resulting either in a definitive lack of communion with God and consequent incapacity for eternal life, or in an equally definitive communion with God that, if not purified of attachment to creatures before death, must undergo that purification or purgatory afterwards. ["Every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the 'temporal punishment' of sin" ( [http://www.usccb.org/catechism/text/pt2sect2chpt2.htm CCC 1472).] ) Purification or cleansing from "sin" gives the capacity of eternal life, privation of which is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church calls the "eternal punishment" of sin. In the Catholic view, that cleansing from sin must be obtained before death. The other cleansing, that from "attachment to creatures", is what the Catholic Church calls the "temporal punishment" of sin.]

Judaism and Islam

In Judaism, Gehenna is a place of purification where, according to some traditions, most sinners spend up to a year before release. ["There are three categories of men; the wholly pious and the arch-sinners are not purified, but only those between these two classes" ( [http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=115&letter=G Jewish Encyclopedia: Gehenna] )]

In Islam also, some Muslims consider hell may be a temporary place of punishment for some, eternal for others. [Gardet, L. "Jahannam," "Encyclopedia of Islam."]

ee also

*History of Purgatory
*Spirit world (Latter Day Saints)
*Spirit prison


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  • Purgatory — Pur ga*to*ry, n. [Cf. F. purgatoire.] A state or place of purification after death; according to the Roman Catholic creed, a place, or a state believed to exist after death, in which the souls of persons are purified by expiating such offenses… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Purgatory — Allgemeine Informationen Genre(s) Death Metal Gründung 1993 Website www.purgatory666.de …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • purgatory — (n.) early 13c., from M.L. purgatorium (St. Bernard, early 12c.), from L.L., means of cleansing, noun use of neuter of purgatorius (adj.) purging, cleansing, from L. purgare (see PURGE (Cf. purge)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • purgatory — [n] hell Abaddon*, abyss, bottomless pit*, everlasting fire*, fire and brimstone*, Gehenna, Hades, infernal regions, limbo, lower world, nether world, perdition, pit, place of torment, suffering, underworld; concepts 370,435,674 …   New thesaurus

  • purgatory — ► NOUN (pl. purgatories) 1) (in Catholic doctrine) a place or state of suffering inhabited by the souls of sinners who are atoning for their sins before going to heaven. 2) mental anguish. DERIVATIVES purgatorial adjective. ORIGIN Latin… …   English terms dictionary

  • purgatory — [pʉr′gə tôr΄ē] n. pl. purgatories [ME purgatorie < OFr & ML(Ec): OFr purgatoire < ML(Ec) purgatorium < LL purgatorius, cleansing < L purgare: see PURGE] 1. [often P ] Theol. a state or place in which, in Rom. Catholicism and other… …   English World dictionary

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