RE:QUESTA space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith
We are delighted to share with you our library of resources. You can use the filter feature below to find topics most relevant to your curriculum.
The Afterlife: Purgatory
A Roman Catholic view of life after death
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that people go to Heaven and Hell, however, it also teaches that when someone dies, they go to a place called Purgatory first. They are not allowed to enter Heaven until they've spent time in Purgatory, which is a place where people are sent to prepare them for Heaven.
Roman Catholics believe that, when a person dies, they may still have sins or be too attached to their earthly life. Just like you wouldn’t go for a Christmas dinner unwashed and in filthy clothes, Catholics believe that you shouldn’t go to meet God in Heaven with any sin or attachments to earth. This is where Purgatory comes in; it is a place where people are cleansed.of all sins.
There is no explicit reference to purgatory in the Bible, however, The Apocrypha contains passages that support this belief. You can find out more about The Apocrypha by clicking here.
2 Maccabees 12:41-45 states:
Based on passages such as this, the Catholic Church has released statements in support of purgatory:
'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 Roman Catholic Church para 1030, 1992
All Souls Day is an annual day of prayer and remembrance for the souls of those who have died. Catholics have dedicated this day to praying for the souls in Purgatory.