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Ancient Church Fathers on the Catholic Doctrine of Purgatory.

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Xavier:
Taken in its most plain sense, 1 Cor 3:13-15 plainly declares that there is a Purgatorial fire, in which certain lesser sins are purged. "[13] Every man's work shall be manifest; for the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire; and the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is. [14] If any man's work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. [15] If any man's work burn, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire." This is that prison of which the Lord speaks into which the adversary, the devil, will try to cast us, and from which no man goes forth until he has paid the last farthing; thus St. Caesarius, St. Cyprian and several other Fathers. Then, the Lord Himself says one particular sin is forgiven neither in this world, nor even in the world to come; from which the holy Fathers, such as St. Augustine, St. Isidore and Pope St. Gregory the Great, deduce or infer that other lesser sins, that is not the mortal sin of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, are forgiven in the world to come, i.e. in Purgatory. These same Fathers apply those words of 1 Cor 3:13-15 to the lesser sins, or venial sins, needing to be burned up in the fire.

The CE explains: "There are several passages in the New Testament that point to a process of purification after death. Thus, Jesus Christ declares (Matthew 12:32): "And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come." According to St. Isidore of Seville (Deord. creatur., c. xiv, n. 6) these words prove that in the next life "some sins will be forgiven and purged away by a certain purifying fire." St. Augustine also argues "that some sinners are not forgiven either in this world or in the next would not be truly said unless there were other [sinners] who, though not forgiven in this world, are forgiven in the world to come" (City of God XXI.24). The same interpretation is given by Gregory the Great (Dial., IV, xxxix); St. Bede (commentary on this text); St. Bernard (Sermo lxvi in Cantic., n. 11) and other eminent theological writers.

A further argument is supplied by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15: ... it is regarded by many of the Fathers and theologians as evidence for the existence of an intermediate state in which the dross of lighter transgressions will be burnt away, and the soul thus purified will be saved. This, according to Bellarmine (De Purg., I, 5), is the interpretation commonly given by the Fathers and theologians; and he cites to this effect:

St. Ambrose (commentary on the text, and Sermo xx in Ps. cxvii),
St. Jerome, (Comm. in Amos, c. iv),
St. Augustine (Enarration on Psalm 37),
St. Gregory (Dial., IV, xxxix), and
Origen (Hom. vi in Exod.)." http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12575a.htm

Given all this, why do some Protestants, and some Orthodox, still deny the Apostolic, Biblical, Catholic and Patristic Doctrine of Purgatory? Some other Fathers: https://www.catholicbridge.com/catholic/purgatory-church-fathers.php

Origen: "If a man departs this life with lighter faults, he is condemned to fire which burns away the lighter materials, and prepares the soul for the kingdom of God, where nothing defiled may enter ... It is manifest that the fire destroys the wood of our transgressions and then returns to us the reward of our great works. (Patres Groeci. XIII, col. 445, 448 [A.D. 185-232]).

Tertullian: That allegory of the Lord [Matt. 5:25-26] . . . is extremely clear and simple in its meaning . . . [beware lest as] a transgressor of your agreement, before God the judge . . . and lest this judge deliver you over to the angel who is to execute the sentence, and he commit you to the prison of hell, out of which there will be no dismissal until the smallest even of your delinquencies be paid off in the period before the resurrection. What can be a more fitting sense than this? What a truer interpretation? (The Soul 35 [A.D. 210]).

Cyprian: It is one thing to stand for pardon, another thing to attain to glory; it is one thing, when cast into prison, not to go out thence until one has paid the uttermost farthing; another thing at once to receive the wages of faith and courage. It is one thing, tortured by long suffering for sins, to be cleansed and long purged by fire; another to have purged all sins by suffering. It is one thing, in fine, to be in suspense till the sentence of God at the Day of judgment; another to be at once crowned by the Lord (Letters 51[55]:20 [A.D. 253]).

Cyril of Jerusalem: Then we make mention also of those who have already fallen asleep: first, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, that through their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition, next, we make mention also of the holy fathers and bishops who have already fallen asleep, and, to put it simply, of all among us who have already fallen asleep. For We believe that it will be of very great benefit to the souls of those for whom the petition is carried up, while this holy and most solemn sacrifice is laid out (Catechetical Lectures 23:5:9 [A.D. 350]).

John Chrysostom: Not in vain was it decreed by the apostles that in the awesome mysteries remembrance should be made of the departed. They knew that here there was much gain for them, much benefit. When the entire people stands with hands uplifted, a priestly assembly, and that awesome sacrificial victim is laid out, how, when we are calling upon God, should we not succeed in their defense? But this is done for those who have departed in the faith, while even the catechumens are not reckoned .is worthy of this consolation, but are deprived of every means of assistance except one. And what is that? We may give alms to the poor on their behalf (Homilies on Philippians 3:9-10 [A.D. 402]).

St. Clement: "In the other life there will be two fires, a 'devouring and consuming' one for the incorrigible, and for the rest, a fire that 'sanctifies' and 'does not consume, like the fire of the forge,' a 'prudent, intelligent' fire which penetrates the soul that passes through it." (Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 8.6, c. before 215 A.D.)

St. Basil the Great: "...and if they [i.e., Christians who die] are found to have any wounds from their wrestling, any stains or effects of sin, they are detained.  If, however, they are found unwounded and without stain, they are, as unconquered, brought by Christ into their rest."  (Basil, Homilies and Psalms, 370 A.D.)

And St. Basil's own brother, St. Gregory of Nyssa declares: "...he [the departed soul] is not able to partake of divinity until he has been purged of the filthy contagion in his soul by purifying fire."  (Sermon on the Dead)

TheReturnofLive:

--- Quote ---Origen: "If a man departs this life with lighter faults, he is condemned to fire which burns away the lighter materials, and prepares the soul for the kingdom of God, where nothing defiled may enter ... It is manifest that the fire destroys the wood of our transgressions and then returns to us the reward of our great works. (Patres Groeci. XIII, col. 445, 448 [A.D. 185-232]).
--- End quote ---

You do know that Origen was condemned for his doctrine on soteriological fire by at least two Ecumenical Councils (Fifth and Sixth), right?


--- Quote ---And St. Basil's own brother, St. Gregory of Nyssa declares: "...he [the departed soul] is not able to partake of divinity until he has been purged of the filthy contagion in his soul by purifying fire."  (Sermon on the Dead)

--- End quote ---

Saint Gregory of Nyssa had universalist views before they were condemned as heresy, and was a disciple of Origen; he's referring to universal salvation, not Purgatory.



Aside from those, these quick-quotes do not imply purgation of sins via a fire in of itself, which can be expedited through indulgences. Nor does it imply that the fire is a creation of God. Nor does it imply that this "detainment" is something separate than Hades (that is, Pre-Last Judgment Hell).

Mark of Ephesus exegeted similar passages and came to a much different result.


--- Quote ---To this we answer the following: Of the fact that those reposed in faith are without doubt helped by the Liturgies and prayers and almsgiving performed for them, and that this custom has been in force from antiquity, there is the testimony of many and various utterances of the Teachers, both Latin and Greek, spoken and written at various times and in various places. But that souls are delivered thanks to a certain purgatorial suffering and temporal fire which possess such (a purgatorial) power and has the character of an help–this we do not find either in the Scriptures or in the prayers and hymns for the dead, or in the words of the Teachers. But we have received that even the souls which are held in hell are already given over to eternal torments, whether in actual fact and experience or in hopeless expectation of such, as can be aided and given a certain small help, although in the sense of completely loosing them from torment or giving hope for a final deliverance. And this is shown from the words of the great Macarius the Egyptian ascetic who, finding a skull in the desert, was instructed by it concerning this by the action of Diving Power. And Basil the Great, in the prayers read at Pentecost, writes literally the following: “Who also, on this all-perfect and saving feast, art graciously pleased to accept propitiatory prayers for those who are imprisoned in hell [ literally in Greek”Hade”], granting us a great hope of improvement for those who are imprisoned from the defilements which have imprisoned them, and that Thou wilt send down Thy consolation” (Third Kneeling Prayer at Vespers).

But if souls have departed this life in faith and love, while nevertheless carrying away with themselves certain faults, whether small ones over which they have not repented at all, or great ones for which — even though they have repented over them — they did not undertake to show fruits of repentance: such souls, we believe, must be cleansed from this kind of sins, but not by means of some purgatorial fire or a definite punishment in some place (for this, as we have aid, has not at all been handed down to us). But some must be cleansed in the very departure from the body, thanks only to fear, as St. Gregory the Dialogist literally shows; while others must be cleansed after the departure from the body, either while remaining in the same earthly place, before they come to worship God and are honored with the lot of the blessed, or — if their sins were more serious and bind them for a longer duration — they are kept in hell, but not in order to remain forever in fire and torment, but as it were in prison and confinement under guard.

All such ones, we affirm, are helped by the prayers and Liturgies performed for them, with the cooperation of the Divine Goodness and Love for mankind. This Divine cooperation immediately disdains and remits some sins, those committed out of human weakness, as Dionysius the Great (the Areopagite) says in the “Reflections of the Mystery of those Reposed in Faith” (in The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, VII, 7); while other sins, after a certain time, by righteous judgments it either likewise releases and forgives — and that completely — or lightens the responsibility for them until that final Judgment. And therefore we see no necessity whatever for any other punishment or for a cleansing fire; for some are cleansed by fear, while others are devoured by the gnawing of conscience with more torment than any fire, and still others are cleansed only the very terror before the Divine Glory and the uncertainty as to what the future will be. And that this is much more tormenting and punishing than anything else, experience itself shows, and St. John Chrysostom testifies to us in almost all or at least most of his moral homilies, which affirm this, as likewise does the divine ascetic Dorotheus in hsi homily “On the Conscience…”

2. And so, we entreat God and believe to deliver the departed from (eternal torment), and not from any other torment or fire apart from those torments and that fire which have been proclaimed to be forever. And that, moreover, the souls of the departed are delivered by prayer from confinement in hell, as if from a certain prison, is testified, among many others, by Theophanes the Confessor, called the Branded (for the words of his testimony for the Icon of Christ, words written on his forehead, he sealed by blood). In one of the canons for the reposed he thus prays for them: “Deliver, O Saviour, Thy slaves who are in the hell of tears and sighing” (Octoechos, Saturday canon for the reposed, Tone 8, Canticle 6, Glory).

--- End quote ---

All of these things are what is vital in an Orthodox or Protestant critique of the afterlife, for the Scriptures do not imply any of these things (without reading into certain passages contexts which the passages themselves do not supply), and much doctrinal development for Purgatory started in the Pre-Schism West (especially found in Saint Gregory the Great's Dialogues) and continued onward with the Scholasticism of the Roman Catholic Church.

Xavier:
Another clear Biblical example of prayers for the departed are found in 2 Maccabees, centuries before the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

"2 Macc 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, 44 (For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead,) 45 And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. 46 It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins."

Luther knew this book was opposed to his relentless war on the holy Doctrine of Purgatory: "Martin Luther said: "I am so great an enemy to the second book of the Maccabees, and to Esther, that I wish they had not come to us at all" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2_Maccabees#Canonicity Most modern Protestants reject prayers for the faithful departed thoroughly. Thta is the logical consequence of declaring war on Purgatory. The question is why Orthodox and Protestants who do pray for the departed agree with it.


--- Quote from: ReturnOL ---You do know that Origen was condemned for his doctrine on soteriological fire by at least two Ecumenical Councils (Fifth and Sixth), right?
--- End quote ---

Rather, teaching universalism was condemned by those Councils. But the Catholic Church doesn't teach universalism. She teaches Purgatory, which is the only way to harmonize St. Paul's statement that some souls are saved by fire with the falsehood of universalism. Consider this syllogism: Major - Either some souls are saved by fire, or all souls are saved by fire. Minor - But all souls are not saved by fire. Conclusion - Therefore, only some are so saved.


--- Quote ---Saint Gregory of Nyssa had universalist views ...
--- End quote ---

Well, some dispute that. But at any rate, St. Augustine and another Saint Gregory, St. Gregory the Great, as you yourself noted, Live, seamlessly adopted this (and St. Gregory the Great was writing after EC V) purgatorial fire and applied it not to all sins but only lesser ones.

"Gregory the Great also argued for the existence, before Judgment, of a purgatorius ignis (a cleansing fire) to purge away minor faults (wood, hay, stubble) not mortal sins (iron, bronze, lead).[62]" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purgatory You would have read this, but you can read it again here if you want: http://www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu/01p/0590-0604,_SS_Gregorius_I_Magnus,_Dialogorum_Libri_IV-De_Vita_et_Miraculis_...,_LT.pdf


--- Quote ---via a fire in of itself
--- End quote ---

(1) St. Cyprian, (2) St. Augustine, (3) ST. Caesurius, (4) St. Gregory the Great, (5) St. Isidore of Seville certainly taught precisely that. That's 5 Patristic Saint Witnesses. How many do you want? Sacred Scripture says, "in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall stand." (Deut 19:15) We admit all the Greek witnesses, do you admit the Latin?


--- Quote ---And Basil the Great, in the prayers read at Pentecost, writes literally the following: “Who also, on this all-perfect and saving feast, art graciously pleased to accept propitiatory prayers for those who are imprisoned in hell [ literally in Greek”Hade”], granting us a great hope of improvement for those who are imprisoned from the defilements which have imprisoned them, and that Thou wilt send down Thy consolation” (Third Kneeling Prayer at Vespers).
--- End quote ---

This also we can agree. Some in the East especially considered hell itself to be divided into two "compartments" or "divisions", of which the upper part of Hades is Purgatory, and the lower is the hell of the damned from which no release will take place. If release is possible, then it is not this lower part of hell proper. In other words, you are merely calling as Hades what we call Purgatory. Either that, or you are teaching the release of all from hell proper itself, which is Universalism. That's why I said you need Purgatory to avoid Universalism.

The Council of Jerusalem, 1672: "And the souls of those involved in mortal sins, who have not departed in despair but while still living in the body, though without bringing forth any fruits of repentance, have repented — by pouring forth tears, by kneeling while watching in prayers, by afflicting themselves, by relieving the poor, and finally by showing forth by their works their love towards God and their neighbor, and which the Catholic Church has from the beginning rightly called satisfaction — [their souls] 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.crivoice.org/creeddositheus.html

TheReturnofLive:

--- Quote from: Xavier on April 16, 2020, 06:56:53 AM ---
--- Quote from: ReturnOL ---You do know that Origen was condemned for his doctrine on soteriological fire by at least two Ecumenical Councils (Fifth and Sixth), right?
--- End quote ---

Rather, teaching universalism was condemned by those Councils. But the Catholic Church doesn't teach universalism. She teaches Purgatory, which is the only way to harmonize St. Paul's statement that some souls are saved by fire with the falsehood of universalism. Consider this syllogism: Major - Either some souls are saved by fire, or all souls are saved by fire. Minor - But all souls are not saved by fire. Conclusion - Therefore, only some are so saved.

--- End quote ---

In your "major" "minor" syllogistic argument, you are assuming that the "fire" discussed is your own system of purgatory. Exactly what I'm trying to dispute.

The Orthodox, for example, interpret the fire of Hell and the light of Paradise as identical, and interpret Saint Paul as such "with a fire that burns wood but refines gold." Hence also why the Saints have halos and the Holy Spirit brought fire on Pentecost. It's the Glory of God.


--- Quote ---
--- Quote ---Saint Gregory of Nyssa had universalist views ...
--- End quote ---

Well, some dispute that. But at any rate, St. Augustine and another Saint Gregory, St. Gregory the Great, as you yourself noted, Live, seamlessly adopted this (and St. Gregory the Great was writing after EC V) purgatorial fire and applied it not to all sins but only lesser ones.

"Gregory the Great also argued for the existence, before Judgment, of a purgatorius ignis (a cleansing fire) to purge away minor faults (wood, hay, stubble) not mortal sins (iron, bronze, lead).[62]" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purgatory You would have read this, but you can read it again here if you want: http://www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu/01p/0590-0604,_SS_Gregorius_I_Magnus,_Dialogorum_Libri_IV-De_Vita_et_Miraculis_...,_LT.pdf


--- End quote ---

The only thing of dispute for Saint Gregory of Nyssa is the question of whether his own writings were his own.

Also, I have yet to see Saint Augustine defend Purgatory, and again, your quote from Saint Gregory the Great is extremely misleading. I have read the Dialogues entirely. I can tell you that Saint Gregory the Great does not use the Scholastic distinction of "Mortal Sin" and "Venial Sin." Yes, he does use the terms "lesser sins" and "more grievous sins", but to use such terminology with Scholastic connotations is to imply a theology which wasn't fully developed at that point.


--- Quote ---via a fire in of itself
--- End quote ---


--- Quote ---(1) St. Cyprian, (2) St. Augustine, (3) ST. Caesurius, (4) St. Gregory the Great, (5) St. Isidore of Seville certainly taught precisely that. That's 5 Patristic Saint Witnesses. How many do you want? Sacred Scripture says, "in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall stand." (Deut 19:15) We admit all the Greek witnesses, do you admit the Latin?

--- End quote ---

I can name 3 Church Fathers who taught that angels had relations with humans which caused the Flood. Does that mean it's dogma?

But anyways, the idea of accepting Greek witnesses - that's a lie. Good luck reading Absolute Divine Simplicity into the Cappadocians or Saint John Damascus; St. Thomas Aquinas actually uses Mamoimedes as a greater authority for that doctrine in the Summa and says that Saint John Damascus, along with much of the Cappadocian Fathers, is wrong.

Despite the fact that I will argue anyways that, with the exception of Saint Gregory the Great and maybe Irenaeus (that's debatable), all your other citations do not suggest that.

Nor have you found in the Church Fathers the idea of Indulgences which expediate the pains and sufferings of this vague and undefined "fire."


--- Quote ---And Basil the Great, in the prayers read at Pentecost, writes literally the following: “Who also, on this all-perfect and saving feast, art graciously pleased to accept propitiatory prayers for those who are imprisoned in hell [ literally in Greek”Hade”], granting us a great hope of improvement for those who are imprisoned from the defilements which have imprisoned them, and that Thou wilt send down Thy consolation” (Third Kneeling Prayer at Vespers).

This also we can agree. Some in the East especially considered hell itself to be divided into two "compartments" or "divisions", of which the upper part of Hades is Purgatory, and the lower is the hell of the damned from which no release will take place. If release is possible, then it is not this lower part of hell proper. In other words, you are merely calling as Hades what we call Purgatory. Either that, or you are teaching the release of all from hell proper itself, which is Universalism. That's why I said you need Purgatory to avoid Universalism.

The Council of Jerusalem, 1672: "And the souls of those involved in mortal sins, who have not departed in despair but while still living in the body, though without bringing forth any fruits of repentance, have repented — by pouring forth tears, by kneeling while watching in prayers, by afflicting themselves, by relieving the poor, and finally by showing forth by their works their love towards God and their neighbor, and which the Catholic Church has from the beginning rightly called satisfaction — [their souls] 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.crivoice.org/creeddositheus.html

--- End quote ---

Nope.

That's simply Thomas Aquinas's theory.

In the New Testament Greek, you will find two different words for "Hell." The Easterners understand the difference between the two as the Pre-Judgment State of Hell (Hades) and the Post-Judgment State of Hell (Gehenna), the two being distinguishable by one involving purely the soul, the other involving both the soul and the body. They are both are associated with the punishment of the damned, and the Easterners understand the unlikely potentiality for people in the former state to escape and repent; for the latter, however, there is none.


Also, there is nothing contested with the Council of Jerusalem's decrees. That doesn't dogmatize purgatorial fire.

TheReturnofLive:
I can fully agree that, in both East and West, there was universal common ground which understood that those with lesser faults could be purified in some way via torments, presumably of those in Hades. However, both the East and West have developed that in different ways in what exactly that means, much like both Churches did in so many other areas when you have more than a thousand years of theological development.

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