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So true is this position that prayers for the dead and the existence of a place of purgation are mentioned in conjunction in the oldest passages of the Fathers, who allege reasons for succouring departed souls. i, a.1) that besides the separation of the soul from the sight of God, there is the other punishment from fire. XXV, "De Purgatorio") in virtue of this tradition not only asserts the existence of purgatory, but adds "that the souls therein detained are aided by the suffrages of the faithful and principally by the acceptable sacrifice of the altar." That those on earth are still in communion with the souls in purgatory is the earliest Christian teaching, and that the living aid the dead by their prayers and works of satisfaction is clear from the tradition above alleged. 2) says that the " prayers and alms of the faithful, the Holy Sacrifice of the altar aid the faithful departed and move the Lord to deal with them in mercy and kindness, and," he adds, "this is the practice of the universal Church handed down by the Fathers." Whether our works of satisfaction performed on behalf of the dead avail purely out of God's benevolence and mercy, or whether God obliges himself in justice to accept our vicarious atonement, is not a settled question. It is the common teaching of Catholic theologians that (1) Augustine (De Civ. It is the traditional faith of Catholics that the souls in purgatory are not separated from the Church, and that the love which is the bond of union between the Church's members should embrace those who have departed this life in God's grace.
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The whole penitential system of the Church testifies that the voluntary assumption of penitential works has always been part of true repentance and the Council of Trent (Sess. xi) reminds the faithful that God does not always remit the whole punishment due to sin together with the guilt.
God requires satisfaction, and will punish sin, and this doctrine involves as its necessary consequence a belief that the sinner failing to do penance in this life may be punished in another world, and so not be cast off eternally from God. Episcopos Dardaniae) in support of their contention (Gratian ibid.), and they also insist that the Roman Pontiffs, when they grant indulgences that are applicable to the dead, add the restriction "per modum suffragii et deprecationis". 5 and 6) puts this categorically when he says: "Status gratiae solum requiritur ad tollendum obicem indulgentiae" (the state of grace is required only to remove some hindrance to the indulgence ), and in the case of the holy souls there can be no hindrance.
Venial Sins All sins are not equal before God, nor dare anyone assert that the daily faults of human frailty will be punished with the same severity that is meted out to serious violation of God's law. 1098) states that the so-called "Apostolici" denied purgatory and the utility of prayers for the departed . Thomas, but adds that such "relaxation cannot be after the manner of absolution as in the case of the living but only as suffrage (Haec non tenet modum judicii, sed potius suffragii). Bonaventure , that the Church through its Supreme Pastor does not absolve juridically the souls in purgatory from the punishment due their sins, is the teaching of the Doctors. ii, 2, can.1) that in case of those who have departed this life, judgment is reserved to God ; they allege the authority of Gelasius (Ep. This phrase is found in the Bull of Sixtus IV "Romani Pontificis provida diligentia", 27 Nov. The phrase "per modum suffragi et deprecationis" has been variously interpreted by theologians ( Bellarmine, "De indulgentiis", p.137). This teaching is bound up with the doctrine of the Communion of Saints, and the monuments of the catacombs represent the saints and martyrs as interceding with God for the dead. 9) goes farther and asserts "that the souls in purgatory are holy, are dear to God, love us with a true love and are mindful of our wants; that they know in a general way our necessities and our dangers, and how great is our need of divine help and divine grace".
On the other hand whosoever comes into God's presence must be perfectly pure for in the strictest sense His "eyes are too pure, to behold evil " ( Habakkuk ). Much discussion has arisen over the position of the Greeks on the question of purgatory. Modern Protestants, while they avoid the name purgatory , frequently teach the doctrine of "the middle state," and Martensen ("Christian Dogmatics," Edinburgh, 1890, p. Bellarmine himself says: "The true opinion is that indulgences avail as suffrage, because they avail not after the fashion of a juridical absolution 'quia non prosunt per modum juridicae absolutionis'." But according to the same author the suffrages of the faithful avail at times "per modum meriti congrui" (by way of merit ), at times "per modum impetrationis" (by way of supplication) at times "per modum satisfactionis" (by way of satisfaction); but when there is question of applying an indulgence to one in purgatory it is only "per modum suffragii satisfactorii" and for this reason "the pope does not absolve the soul in purgatory from the punishment due his sin, but offers to God from the treasure of the Church whatever may be necessary for the cancelling of this punishment". The prayers too of the early liturgies speak of Mary and of the saints interceding for those who have passed from this life. There is no decision of the Church on this subject, nor have the theologians pronounced with definiteness concerning the invocation of the souls in purgatory and their intercession for the living. When there is question of invoking the prayers of those in purgatory, Bellarmine (loc.
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