Purgatory Remains Catholic Doctrine

This page is supposed to collect proofs that purgatory is still a doctrine of the Catholic Church. I wanted to make this page because I have heard several people confidently state that they saw a video or a news article claiming that the Catholic Church has come out and declared that purgatory isn’t real. I think that’s not true, so I’m documenting the fact that the Church still teaches purgatory using documents from the 1940s to the 2010s.

Purgatory Remains Catholic Doctrine

1943 A.D. - Pope Pius 12 - “Our united prayer should rise daily to heaven for all the members of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ… [L]et there be a special remembrance...for the suffering souls in Purgatory.” (Mystici Corporis Christi 101)

1947 A.D. - Pope Pius 12 - “[The Church] extends to the souls in purgatory, who implore her intercession and her prayers, the helping hand which may lead them happily at last to eternal blessedness in heaven.” (Mediator Dei 22)

1962 A.D. - St. John 23 - “May the souls in purgatory have prayers so that they may be hastened to the beatific vision.” (Il Tempio Massimo)

1964 A.D. - 21st Ecumenical Council - “Until the Lord shall come in His majesty...some of His disciples are exiles on earth, some having died are purified, and others are in glory beholding clearly God Himself triune and one, as He is.” (Lumen Gentium 49, internal quote marks removed)

Also: “This Sacred Council accepts…[that some of] our brethren...are in heavenly glory… [Others have] died [and] are still being purified; and it proposes again the decrees of the Second Council of Nicea, the Council of Florence and the Council of Trent.” (Lumen Gentium 51)

1968 A.D. - Bl. Pope Paul 6 - “We believe in the life eternal. We believe that the souls of all those who die in the grace of Christ...whether they must still be purified in purgatory, or whether...Jesus takes them [straight] to paradise as He did for the Good Thief...are the People of God in the eternity beyond death.” (Credo of the People of God 28)

1984 A.D. - St. John Paul 2 - “The church in heaven, the church on earth and the church in purgatory are mysteriously united...in reconciling the world to God. … The first means of this salvific action is that of prayer.” (Reconciliation and Penance 12)

And: “[V]enial sin is the sin that [deserves]...a partial punishment which can be expiated on earth or in purgatory.” (Reconciliation and Penance 17)

1994 A.D. - The Catechism - “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. … The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect.” (CCC 1030-1031)

1999 A.D. - St. John Paul 2 - “Purgatory [is a] process of purification for those who die in the love of God but who are not completely imbued with that love. … [B]efore we enter into God's Kingdom every trace of sin within us must be eliminated, every imperfection in our soul must be corrected. This is exactly what takes place in Purgatory. ... [We] can therefore offer up prayers and good works on behalf of our brothers and sisters in Purgatory.” (General Audience of Wednesday, 4 August 1999)

2007 A.D. - Pope Benedict 16 - “[A] notion [is] found...in early Judaism...of an intermediate state between death and resurrection… This early Jewish idea of an intermediate state...can involve purification and healing which mature the soul for communion with God. The early Church took up these concepts… ‘Purgatory’ is simply purification through fire in the [final] encounter with the Lord, Judge and Saviour...[and] my prayer for [another]...can play a small part in his purification.” (Spe Salvi 44-48)

2013 A.D. - Pope Francis - “There is a deep and indissoluble bond between those who are still pilgrims in this world—us—and those who have crossed the threshold of death and entered eternity. All baptized persons here on earth, the souls in Purgatory and all the blessed who are already in Paradise make one great Family. This communion between earth and heaven is realized especially in intercessory prayer.” (General Audience of Wednesday, 30 October 2013)

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