What Saith the Scriptures?

"All ye, who would honor the saints and their Head,
 Remember, remember, to pray for the dead;
And they, in return, from their misery freed,
To you will be friends in the hour of need."
Holy Souls Book: Reflections on Purgatory,
 by Rev. F.X. Lasance, ed.
(Benziger Brothers, 1922), p. 6


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"The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent." Catechism of the Catholic Church, p 268-269, para 1031

"If any one claim that a penitent sinner when he receives the grace of
justification obtains the remission of the guilt and the eternal punishment, so that neither in this life nor in Purgatory has he any temporal punishment to undergo before he can enter heaven, let him be anathema! [cursed]!"
Council of Trent, Sess. 6th

"All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly
purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation, but after
death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness
necessary to enter the joy of heaven."
Catechism of the Catholic Church
, para 1030

"The truth has been divinely revealed that sins are followed by punishments. God’s holiness and justice inflict them. Sins must be expiated. This may be done on this earth through the sorrows,
miseries and trials of this life and, above all, through death. Otherwise
the expiation must be made in the next life through fire and torments
or purifying punishments."
The Second Vatican Council, p 63

"It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead." (2 Maccabees 12:46 - Old Testament Apocryphal text in Catholic bibles but never accepted into the Canon of Scripture)

"Purgatory is the state of suffering where the souls of those who die
in grace, but without having fully satisfied the justice of God, remain for a time, to pay the debt of temporal punishment due to their sins, and to be purified for heaven..."
Holy Souls Book: Reflections on Purgatory, by Rev. F.X. Lasance, ed.(Benziger Brothers, 1922), p. 24, Nihil Obstat: A.J. Scanlan, S.T.D.; Imprimatur, P.J. Hayes, D.D., Archbishop of NY

"But at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory..."
Catechism of the Catholic Church, p 249, para 95

"Purgatory forms part of the realm of Mary.... St. Vincent Ferrer, St. Bernardine of Sienna, Louis de Blois, as well as others, explicitly proclaim Mary to be Queen of Purgatory; and St. Louis-Marie de Montfort...--(Lhoumeau: LaVie Spirituelle a l'Ecole de St. Louis-Marie de Montfort), in The Official Handbook of the Legion of Mary, by Concilium Legionis Mariae (1959), p 128, Nihil Obstat: Michael L. Dempsey, S.T.D., Imprimi Potest: Joannes Carolus, Archbishop of Dublin, March 25, 1953 [Note: A letter, posted in the foreword, from Pius XI to the Legion of Mary 16th Sept., 1933, states his approval thus: "We give a very special blessing to this beautiful and holy work...The Blessed Virgin ... co-operates in our Redemption, for it was under the Cross that she became our mother."]  

. .The following studies contain no commentary,
but simply compare Catholic teaching with Scripture.


The Eucharist




The Mass


The Pope

Praying to the Dead




Salvation by Works






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Purgatory is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible; it is an invention of man.

         A.   Scripture teaches that there is, at death, an immediate transfer of the spirit of man to either heaven or hell.

               1.   Jesus spoke repeatedly of heaven, and even more often referred to hell; but He never once mentioned a middle state or place of spiritual purging after death.
                      Matthew 25:5-10
                      Luke 16:26-31
                      Revelation 3:15, 16

                     a.    Jesus told the repentant thief on the cross next to Him that "today thou shalt be with Me in Paradise."   Luke 23:43

                     b.    He told the story of Lazarus who "died and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom," and the rich man who died and suffered torment in Hades. A "great gulf," He said, separated the two and was "fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence."   Luke 16:19-31

                     c.   The apostle Paul said that to die is to be "with Christ." He never indicated or implied the existence or possibility of an intermediate state of any kind.   Romans 14:8, 9; 2 Corinthians 5:6-9; Philippians 1:21, 23, 24; 1 Thessalonians 4:13; 5:9, 10

               2.   There will be no "second chance" for anyone. We have the choice in this life to accept or reject Jesus Christ. Our status in the after-life will be based upon that decision.

                     a.    After death: judgment.   Hebrews 9:27

                     b.    Parable of the ten virgins: ".... and the door was shut." Matthew 25:1-10

      B.   The doctrine of praying for the dead is based not on scripture, but has its roots in the Old Testament Apocryphal books of the Bible. (See 2 Maccabees 12:46 "It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead.")

             1.    2 Timothy 1:16 (the scripture used by some to support this doctrine) does not say that Onesiphorus, for whom Paul prayed, was dead. In fact, the same man and his family are even mentioned later in the same epistle (chapter 4:19) in the form of a greeting.

             2.    No restitution can be made of the living for the dead. "None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him."   Psalms 49:6, 7

             3.    David fasted and wept while his son was sick; but when the child had died he recognized that there was no longer any place for doing so.   2 Samuel 12:21-23

             4.   Prayer to or contact with the dead (termed "necromancy" in scripture) is strictly forbidden and condemned by God. The punishment for consulting the spirits of dead persons is very severe.  Deuteronomy 18:10-12; 1 Samuel 28:3-20; 2 Chronicles 10:13, 14; Isaiah 8:19-22

             5.   We are individually accountable to God and can't "get to heaven" on someone else's  spiritual experience.  Matthew 26:1-10

     C.   There really is no need for a purgatory.

            1.   The doctrine of purgatory denies the completeness of our redemption and forgiveness through the work of Calvary, and it rejects the blood atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.

                  a.   Jesus declared on the cross, "It is finished!"  
                               John 19:30

                  b.   "Ye are complete in Him." Paul said.
                               Colossians 2:10

                  c.   The sacrifice was made for us "once for all ... forever ..."
                                Hebrews 9:11, 12, 25-28; 10:9-14
                                1 Peter 3:18

            2.   The only unforgivable sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
                         Mark 3:28, 29

            3.   We are saved not by "good works," but by grace (God's "unmerited favor").
                         Romans 4:2-6; 9:11, 16, 31-33; 11:6;
                         Galatians 2:16, 21;  Ephesians 2:8, 9; Titus 3:5

            4.   When we confess our sins, He cleanses us
                  "from all unrighteousness."
                         Colossians 2:13, 14
                         Titus 2:14
                         1 John 1:9

                   a.   He forgets our sin. He will not hold it against us at some future date.

                                 Isaiah 43:25, 26   "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Put me in remembrance; let us plead together; declare thou, that thou mayest be justified."

                                 Jeremiah 31:34   "... for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

                                 Hebrews 8:12; cp. 10:17   "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more."

                  b.   He casts our sins into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:18, 19) and blots them out as a thick cloud (Isaiah 44:21, 22).

                  c.   He removes our sins as far as the east is from the west (Psalms 103:11-14); he casts them behind His back (Isaiah 38:17).

                  d.   We are washed whiter than snow.
                              Psalms 51:7; Isaiah 1:18

           5.   We can know that we have eternal life.

                         John 3:36  "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life ..."
                         John 5:24  "... He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."
                         John 1:12  "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the pons of God, even to them that believe on his name."
                         John 6:37, 47  "... He that believeth on me hath everlasting life."
                         John 14:21
                         Romans 8:16, 17  "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ ..."
                         Galatians 4:6; 1 John 3:18, 19, 24
                         1 John 4:13  "Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit."
                         1 John 5:10-13  "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself ... God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life  ... that ye may know that ye have eternal life ..."

           6.   Jesus Christ is our "advocate with the Father ... And He is the propitiation for our sins."
                            Acts 10:43
                            Hebrews 1:3
                            1 John 2:2

Taken from "Fundamentals of the Faith--Studies in Basic Bible Doctrine" Copyright © 1977 by Diane S. Dew; "Essential Doctrines of the Christian Faith," Copyright © 1997 by Diane S. Dew