Saturday, April 25, 2009

Purgatory Part II - The Early Church Fathers

From my earlier post last night on purgatory, I wanted to write somemore on the subject as far as what the early Church Fathers believed regarding purgatory. The early church fathers were the men who followed in the footsteps of the apostles and many of them knew the first apostles and then trained other people according to their teachings and sermons.

Let us take a look at what these Church fathers actually believed and taught on the existence of purgatory - I would also like to remind people that the bible was not even a book until the year 367-404AD when it was finished by St. Jerome. If you have a bible today - thank a Catholic. =)

Clement of Alexandria

The believer through discipline divests himself of his passions and passes to the mansion which is better than the former one, passes to the greatest torment, taking with him the characteristic of repentance for the faults he may have committed after baptism. He is tortured then still more, not yet attaining what he sees others have acquired. The greatest torments are assigned to the believer, for God's righteousness is good, and His goodness righteous, and though these punishments cease in the course of the expiation and purification of each one, "yet" etc. (Patres Groeci. IX, col. 332 [A.D. 150-215])

The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity

"[T]hat very night, this was shown to me in a vision: I [Perpetua] saw Dinocrates going out from a gloomy place, where also there were several others, and he was parched and very thirsty, with a filthy countenance and pallid color, and the wound on his face which he had when he died. This Dinocrates had been my brother after the flesh, seven years of age, who died miserably with disease. . . . For him I had made my prayer, and between him and me there was a large interval, so that neither of us could approach to the other . . . and [I] knew that my brother was in suffering. But I trusted that my prayer would bring help to his suffering; and I prayed for him every day until we passed over into the prison of the camp, for we were to fight in the camp-show. Then . . . I made my prayer for my brother day and night, groaning and weeping that he might be granted to me. Then, on the day on which we remained in fetters, this was shown to me: I saw that the place which I had formerly observed to be in gloom was now bright; and Dinocrates, with a clean body well clad, was finding refreshment. . . . [And] he went away from the water to play joyously, after the manner of children, and I awoke. Then I understood that he was translated from the place of punishment" (The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity 2:3–4 [A.D. 202]).


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]).

What is also interesting to note: In In 2 Timothy 1:18, St. Paul prays for Onesiphorus, who has died. Why would St. Paul pray for the dead if Purgatory did not exist?

Did Purgatory End When Christ was Resurrected?

I believe this is a question that many people ask themselves. Using the idea of the good thief on the cross and how Jesus said to him "Amen, I say to you, today you will be in paradise with me". Many non-Catholics use this verse to say that Purgatory does not exist and that Jesus took the thief immediately to heaven. My question to this theory is this, how could Jesus take the man to heaven that day when in fact Christ didn't open the gates of heaven until he was resurrected. In fact, when he died he didn't go up to a party in heaven, instead he went down into the "Prisons" to preach the good news to those that were waiting for him. Jesus also said that a day to him is like a thousands years to us, therefore saying "Today" could have meant that the thief wouldn't have been in heaven for a very long time or it could have been a very short time before he made it. However the fact still remains that Christ waited 3 days before the gates were opened by him.. and it was those 3 days that the theif had to wait for in the least bit.

I have heard a few people say that when Christ died his sacrifice finished everything and that there was no longer any need for purgatory and so Christ ended it. How can this be when the New Testament points to many different verses at the teaching of purgatory:

In (Matthew 12:23-36) Jesus speaks of sins to be forgiven in the life to come. If we are in heaven then there is no need to have forgivess and if we are in hell, we cannot be forgiven.. therefore what did Jesus mean by this? Only one answer; Purgatory.

Take a look at (Corinthians 3:13-15), St. Paul speaks about those that are saved through the next life through fire. Heaven will not have fire.. Hell you cannot be saved in.. so what is left? Purgatory.

Again in (Peter 3:18-20), St. Peter speakes upon Jesus speaking to the spirits in prison and of the gospel preached to the dead in (1 Peter 4:6).

The bible also affirms it again that we are to pray for the dead in (2 Maccabees 12:44-46) which is only in the Catholic bible since Luthers teaching would not have worked if he hadn't removed the 7 books of the bible to take out those books that would have challenged his new ideology.

Did Purgatory End When Christ was Resurrected?

No, I think not. How could it be when the bible has so many numerous verses that continually point to its very existence. The bible says we must be cleanes through fire before we can be pure enough for heaven, therefore.. how many of us die pure like God? None. How many people make it straight to heaven after they die? Very few.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

USCCB - Over 150K New Catholics 2009

I read a report this week from the USCCB that over 150,000 new Catholics came into the church during the easter vigil in the United States. Last year, there was around 87K new converts which means that it nearly doubled for this years total! That is indeed great news, amid the anti-Catholic media we still have a decent number of converts coming into the church.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Rite: Makings of a Modern Exorcist

I recently bought the book called 'The Rite' which is about Fr. Gary who is a Priest from California and was chosen by his Bishop to go to Rome to train as an exorcist. The book starts out with a prologue of a woman who is being exorcised and apparently has a very powerful demon within her that the Priest is struggling to release her from. The story then goes on to tell about the Fr. Gary's background and how it came that he was chosen to go take the exorcism course in Italy. I am now about two thirds of the way through the book and I have read some pretty fantastic stuff thus far regarding exorcism and the ways that people have been infested, oppressed, and possessed. Most if not all of the people who truly are experiencing some time of demonic influence in their lives have dabbled in the occult and thereby opened themselves up to the devil. There are a few cases however of people that were cursed by their parents or other family members and they are the ones that really suffer the most terrible pains and aggrevations through this demonic force that is presenting itself through them.

I know that not many people believe in Exorcism today or really even believe in demons. However, that being said, I know for a fact that there is a devil and that this type of stuff happens all the time. I remember watching a movie called Constatine a few years ago about a man who once served evil and then began to fight evil and he had a friend who didn't believe that the things he had told her was real, until one day he introduced her to it and it was as if a veil was lifted and she saw another world open up before her very eyes. I think that this is how the spirit would is derived. It is right in front of our faces, many people just brush by it and have no idea that it is there or that it even exists. And then there are those people that find themselves delving into this spirit world and they are then infected as though they caught a virus and they are not able to be freed of it until they visit someone just like Fr. Gary - an exorcist.

This world is real people, it is out there, and we need to guard ourselves against it. This is not a fantasy playground, it is not for jokes or playing around it, this is a very serious place and it seems that more and more people are getting caught up in the new age worldliness and are slowly being sucked into this ethereal battlefield designed to seal their doom.

To anyone who is interested in learning more about spiritual warfare, how to protect and guard yourself, or if you are an unbeliever and think that your living in a safe haven.. I recommend that you take a moment and buy this book - it is well worth the 15 bucks on ebay or

God Bless,


Easter Vigil

How good it is of us to be here!

Those were the first words that came into my head as I walked into Church on Saturday night at 7:45pm for the Easter Vigil Mass. All night I had been looking forward to this mass, it is by far my favorite out of all the easter services since this is the mass where you get to watch the converts being recieved into the Church. I was certain that the church was going to be packed and that I wouldn't be able to find a seat. However, much to my dismay and shock, the church was practically empty. There was around 200 people including all the converts and their families and besides us, the church was about 2/3 empty. Since this is the Mass where the converts come in, the service itself usually lasts about 2.5-3hrs and I bet you a pretty penny that is why most of the Catholics didn't show up. We Catholics are notorious for 2 things.. our drinking and leaving church as fast as we can.

I have to say this though, I was quite happy to see 3 young men in their late teens and early 20's that were being baptized and then confirmed. I saw an old man that I thought was a sponsor, but then it turned out to be a convert himself! Later on after mass when we were at the reception for the converts my mom spoke to the older man and learnt that he had been coming to our church for 35 years with his wife who has always been a Catholic and it was just now after all that time that he was given the gift of faith and he wanted to become a Catholic! In all we had around 10-15 new converts this year. I heard a statistic from a local parish priest that in the United States, over 150,000 new converts entered the Catholic Church!!! It is so good to see Christ still working in peoples lives.

I am going to see if I can help out with the RCIA this year, I have been wanting to participate in it for the past 2 years, however things just haven't panned out thus far in my attempts to assist the new converts or those seeking the truth.

God Bless and happy easter!


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Answer from God

Last night during Easter Vigil Mass I prayed that my Grandfather who died last Sept. 07' would be released from purgatory (where I feel he is) and would enter heaven as Christ rose from the dead. I offered up my communion for this intention as well as my other intentions for the souls in Purgatory. Unbeknownst to me, my Mom asked God for a sign last night to let her know where her Father was and if he was saved.

I didn't go to bed until well after 1:30am this morning - I just felt so alive from the evening mass that I wasn't sleepy. I climbed into bed and went to sleep before saying my night prayers (laziness). During the night I had a dream. I was back down on my Grandfathers old property and as I looked around at the mountain landscape I saw my grandfather sitting in his old recliner chair in the middle of an old overgrown logging road. He was doubled over in pain and he looked just as I last saw him, suffering with his emphysema. In my dream I immediately ran over to him and knelt down in front of him, I looked up at him and said "Pops, your going to feel some bad pain in the next few minutes, and then it will be over". He looked at me and grabbed my hand and said "Thanks Mike". He then passed out and fell out of the chair onto the ground. I grabbed him as he fell and laid him down on his back and at this point he was gone, his heart was beating so fast, I remember laying my hand on his chest and telling him that I loved him and that it was soon going to be over. As I sat there and cried I then heard his voice and I turned around and there he was. He looked the same age as when he died (in his 80's), however he seemed to have an aura about him and he told me that he was doing much better, that he was feeling better and was ok. When I awoke this morning, I think I had just finished the dream, it was so fresh on my mind and I had this feeling, this urging that I must go up and tell mom what I dreamt of. I ran up the stairs as fast as I could, it was as if a whip was lashing and driving me to do so. As soon as I told mom, she broke down and cried. I didn't want to cause her any pain, however she then told me that last night she had asked God for a sign that Pops was ok, that he had been saved. We both also took it was a sign that he was not yet in heaven and that he will need many more prayers before he reaches eternity. But the good thing is that he was saved and that I hope he is not suffering much and will soon be released.