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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

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Matthew 12:32: “And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age [world] or in the age [world] to come.” (Some sins can therefore be forgiven after death.)

1 Corinthians 3:13-15: . . . each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

2 Maccabees 12:45-46: (This is one of the Old Testament books omitted from the Protestant Bible). But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.

Revelation 21:27: Nothing defiled can enter Heaven.

While many Protestant critics reject Purgatory because the word does not appear in the Bible, the actual reason is that such a teaching would make their view of justification by faith alone untenable. This Catholic teaching sustains our understanding of intercessory prayer for the dead, meritorious works done in Christ in reparation for sin, the temporal punishment due to sin, and transformation over imputation in Christ. Our justification is not a mere juridical rendering from God, but the elect are made into a new creation. They are changed. Purgatory allows this transformation to come to completion. The Scriptures uphold such a teaching, despite the protestations of so-called bible-Christians. The Bible teaches that some sins are forgiven in the world to come, on the other side of death. We are not talking here about mortal sin that damns the soul. The Scriptures indicate that some, although not all, are saved in the next world by fire. Literally the fire of God’s love purifies his own and makes them ready for heaven. In addition, the value of intercessory prayer for the dead is advocated by the Bible. Like a bride who wants to look her best before meeting her bridegroom, Purgatory allows us to undergo a cleansing or purgation of any residual stain— venial sin, the temporal punishment due to sin, and the tendency (habit) to sin.

For more such reading, contact me about getting my book, DEFENDING THE CATHOLIC FAITH.