Purgatory is, according to Roman Catholic teaching, the state or place of purification or temporary punishment by which those who die in a state of grace are believed to be made ready for the Beatific Vision in Heaven. Only one who dies in a state of grace can be in Purgatory, and therefore no one who is in Purgatory will remain there forever or go to Hell. This theological notion has ancient roots and is well-attested in early Christian literature, but the poetic conception of Purgatory as a geographically existing place is largely the creation of medieval Christian piety and imagination.
The notion of Purgatory is associated particularly with the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church (in the Eastern sui juris churches or rites it is a doctrine, though it is not often called "Purgatory", but the "final purification" or the "final theosis"); Anglicans of the Anglo-Catholic tradition generally also hold to the belief, along with many Lutherans of High Church Lutheranism. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, believed in an intermediate state between death and the final judgment and in the possibility of "continuing to grow in holiness there." The Eastern Orthodox Churches believe 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, and many Orthodox, especially among ascetics, hope and pray for a general apocatastasis. A similar belief in at least the possibility of a final salvation for all is held by Mormonism. Judaism also believes in the possibility of after-death purification and may even use the word "purgatory" to present its understanding of the meaning of Gehenna. However, the concept of soul "purification" may be explicitly denied in these other faith traditions.
The word "Purgatory", derived through Anglo-Norman and Old French from the Latin word purgatorium, 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.
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... Purgatory is, according to Roman Catholic teaching, the state or place of purification or temporary punishment by which those who die in a state of grace are believed to be made ready ... Only one who dies in a state of grace can be in Purgatory, and therefore no one who is in Purgatory will remain there forever or go to Hell ... ancient roots and is well-attested in early Christian literature, but the poetic conception of Purgatory as a geographically existing place is largely the creation of medieval Christian piety and imagination ...
Famous quotes containing the word purgatory:
“And the frigid burnings of purgatory will not be touched
By any emollient.”
—Henry Reed (19141986)
“All know that all the dead in the world about that place are stuck
And that should mother seek her son shed have but little luck
Because the fires of Purgatory have ate their shapes away;
I swear to God I questioned them and all they had to say
Was fol de rol de rolly O.”
—William Butler Yeats (18651939)