Sign Up for Our Newsletter!

Sign-Up to receive updated stories from OC Catholic.

EPISODE #268
EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT: EVANGELIZATION WITH FR. AL BACA

Deacon Steve Greco is thrilled to welcome a very special guest to the studio for our show today. It’s none other than Fr. Al Baca, the Director of Evangelization and Faith Formation for the Diocese of Orange.

Tune in for this lively and timely discussion on evangelization!

 

 

Originally broadcast on 1/10/21

WHAT IS 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. The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church 

 

It seems we rarely discuss Purgatory. Yet the Catholic Church tells us it is the place where departed souls go to prepare to fully enter the presence of God. 

Father William Saunders, professor of catechetics and theology at Notre Dame Graduate School, notes that our belief in Purgatory was affirmed by Vatican II’s “Dogmatic Constitution on the Church,” which confirms Catholicism’s long-held belief in “the living communion which exists between us and our brothers who are in the glory of Heaven or who are yet being purified after their death.” 

Writing on the website catholiceducation.org, Fr. Saunders says the purification of Purgatory is important because Scripture teaches us that nothing unclean will enter the presence of God in Heaven. Most of us die with venial sins or other transgressions lingering on our souls. 

While fundamentalist Christians argue that the Catholic Church invented Purgatory, graffiti in the catacombs where Christians hid during persecution in the early centuries record prayers for the dead. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine, asked her son in the fourth century to remember her soul in his Masses. Why would people need prayers after death, if not for their purification prior to entering Heaven? 

The same fundamentalists claim that because Jesus died for our sins on the cross, He accomplished our salvation – and that Purgatory, then, is unnecessary. Yet Scripture says the process of sanctification through which Christians are made holy occurs over time; Purgatory, thus, is the final phase of Christ’s redemption, Fr. Saunders writes in a November 2005 article in the Arlington Catholic Herald. 

“Indeed, the necessity of the purging is taught in other passages of Scripture, such as 2 Thessalonians 2:13, which declares that God chose us ‘to be saved through sanctification by the Spirit,’” he writes. 

“Sanctification is thus not an option,” he writes, “something that may or may not happen before one gets into Heaven. It is an absolute requirement, as Hebrews 12:14 states that we must strive ‘for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.’” 

But what is Purgatory like? Fr. Saunders reminds us that sanctification through fire is what we usually picture when we consider Purgatory. He says a more modern version might involve something akin to the radiation, or burning out, of the impurity in our souls. 

“While such therapy is very painful, one has the hope of returning to good health,” he writes. Quoting St. Francis de Sales, who wrote of the sufferings of Purgatory, Fr. Saunders adds: “We may draw from the thought of Purgatory more consolation than apprehension. The greater part of those who dread Purgatory so much think more of their own interests than of the interests of God’s glory; this proceeds from the fact that they think only of the sufferings, without considering the peace and happiness which are there enjoyed by the holy souls.”

EPISODE #155
EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT: BEST OF – HEAVEN, HELL & PURGATORY

Host Deacon Steve Greco interviews guests on a variety of topics. On this week’s program, we bring you the second of three-part “best of” series from our program. This show features an interview with our good friend and scholar, Fr. Felix Just.

With reference to the program title, it’s safe to say that this is one of the most requested shows we’ve ever produced.

Listen in.. and may your faith be strengthened!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 7/15/18

EPISODE #120
EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT: HEAVEN, HELL & PURGATORY

On today’s much anticipated episode, Deacon Steve Greco welcomes Fr. Felix Just back to the studio. Fr. Felix is, among other things, a renowned biblical scholar. We have no doubt that today’s topic is sure to bring about a great deal of discussion.. the teaching of the Catholic Church in regards to heaven, hell and purgatory.

Listen in, and encourage others to do the same!

 

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 11/05/17

NEITHER HEAVEN, EARTH, NOR HELL

Purgatory, the idea of a place or process by which the souls of the dead make final atonement for and are purified of their sins, is one of the most closely held tenets of the Roman Catholic faith. Yet the concept can be puzzling. If not the eternal joy of Heaven or the never-ending torment of Hell, what is it? To what Bible verse can we turn to learn about it? For non-Catholic Christians, purgatory is one of the great stumbling blocks in the teachings of the Church.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 1030) teaches that “All who die in God’s grace, 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 Catechism further notes (CCC 1031) that “this final purification of the elect… is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.”

To many Protestants this seems to imply that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross to redeem us from our sins was somehow incomplete. They further object that no explicit mention of purgatory is made in the Bible.

Lawrence Cunningham, professor of theology emeritus, University of Notre Dame, explains that modern society remains deeply influenced by the images portrayed by Durante degli Alighieri, best known as Dante, of purgatory as a place between heaven and hell with compartments where people suffer in various ways.

He notes that the Catholic teaching on purgatory has a long history of development from the early Church through the Reformation to the present. “In many ways, the basic idea of purgatory is based on common sense,” Dr. Cunningham explains. “A person’s sins must be purged before he sees God.”

So unless we repair the damage of our sins by cooperating with God’s grace through the sacraments, by acts of charity and penance, we must make reparation in purgatory; thus being purged. It is a state in which we are offered cleansing before we see the face of God.

The existence and necessity of purgatory can be gleaned from Scripture verses as well. In the Gospels of Matthew (5:26) and Luke (12:59), Jesus condemns sin and speaks of liberation only after expiation. “Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.” As there is no need to pay “the last penny” in Heaven and there is no hope of liberation from Hell, this reference must apply to a third place. Jesus also indicates in the Gospel of Matthew (12:32) that some sins can be forgiven in the world to come when He says “And whoever speaks 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 or in the age to come.”

As to the subject of Jesus’ sacrifice and its relation to the subject of purgatory, we cannot lose sight of the fact that His death on the cross makes us worthy to stand before God the Father. However, we have not been abdicated from our own personal responsibility. If we accept Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and confess Him as Lord, yet continue to commit sins, God will judge us accordingly. As Scripture tells us (James 2:26), “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.”

So what should we as Catholics see when we look at the possibility of purgatory? Do we see a punishment to be feared or a saving grace to be welcomed?

Fr. Damien Giap, chaplain at JSerra High School in San Juan Capistrano, explains. “At the moment of death, the soul is separated from the body,” Father Damien says. “The soul is immortal and never ceases to exist. Immediately upon death, the soul of each person is judged by God, either to eternal life or the damnation of Hell. For those damned to Hell, such a soul immediately experiences Hell thereafter. For a soul judged to Heaven, then it may immediately experience the fullness of Heaven. We call such souls the saints.

“For those who are judged to eternal life yet still have some attachment to sin or there is some temporal punishment due for sin, such a soul experiences purgatory in the manner that God determines,” he adds. “This is a grace to be welcomed. Purgatory is really a blessing, for not only does the soul know that it is destined for Heaven, but purgatory purges anything from the soul which would limit the vision and enjoyment of God in Heaven.”