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For those who may not fully understand the Church teaching on Purgatory, I have set out below the definition that can be found in the "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Dates and references have been added in brackets where necessary and are taken from the footnotes and the Scripture references have been fully written out.

III The Final Purification, or Purgatory

1030 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.

1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence (1439 ) and Trent (1563). The tradition of the Church, by refererence to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:

"But if someone's work is burned up, that one will suffer loss; the person will be saved, but only as through fire." (I Cor 3:15)

"... so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." (1 Pet 1:7)

As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgement, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come. (St. Gregory the Great)

"Therefore, I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven." (Mat 12:31)

1032 This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture:

"Therefore, (Judas Maccabeus) made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin." (2 Macc 12:46)

From the beginning the Church has honoured the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. (Council of Lyons II, 1274) The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:

Let us help and commemorate them. If Job's sons were purified by their father's sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them. (St. John Chrysostom)

"And when each feast has run its course, Job would send for them and sanctify them, rising early and offering holocausts for every one of them. For Job said, "It may be that my sons have sinned and blasphemed God in their hearts." This Job did habitually." (Job 1:5)

I hope that this information has helped your understanding of Purgatory. God bless you.

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