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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fr Richards on Purgatory

Fr Richard's homily today was inspired! He was on fire!! He defended the Church's teaching on purgatory, praying for the dead, asking saints for intercession and faith and works. But he also was not afraid to explicitly say that Protestants who attack the Church's stance on these matters of faith are wrong, that their reasoning is illogical and that they use scripture out of context.

We need more apologists like him.

I've been thinking the Catholics today are too often on the defensive - putting out fires caused by critics but not faulting them for being wrong and misleading. We need more people like St Augustine and St Dominic, not afraid to tell people that they're illogical and wrong.

Sola Fidei?
"What shall it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but hath not works? Shall faith be able to save him? And if a brother or sister be naked, and want daily food:

And one of you say to them: Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled; yet give them not those things that are necessary for the body, what shall it profit? So faith also, if it have not works, is dead in itself. But some man will say: Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without works; and I will show thee, by works, my faith. Thou believest that there is one God. Thou dost well: the devils also believe and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

Was not Abraham our father justified by works, offering up Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou, that faith did co-operate with his works; and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the scripture was fulfilled, saying: Abraham believed God, and it was reputed to him to justice, and he was called the friend of God. Do you see that by works a man is justified; and not by faith only? And in like manner also Rahab the harlot, was not she justified by works, receiving the messengers, and sending them out another way?

For even as the body without the spirit is dead; so also faith without works is dead."

James 2:14-26

No intercession from the saints?
Protestants use St Paul's words that there is one mediator between God and man: Jesus Christ. As usual they take it out of context.

I desire therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men: For kings, and for all that are in high station: that we may lead a quiet and a peaceable life in all piety and chastity. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus
1 Timothy 2:1-5

So St Paul is encouraging us to offer supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving for all men. We all do that. We ask our friends to pray for our exams, for our sick loved ones, protestants asks their pastors to pray for them - sending piles and piles of prayer intentions to some of them.
Well, they ask people (who, according to Father might be "idiots or part-time crooks" :p) to pray. Why can't we ask our friends in Heaven? There is still only one mediator - Christ. All graces are bestowed through Him...

One of his explanations on why we believe in purgatory.
"Therefore I say to you: Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but the blasphemy of the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come."
Matthew 12:31-32

In the world to come? Hell? No. People in hell aren't forgiven their sins. Heaven? No. There is nothing unclean in Heaven. There is no sin in Heaven to be forgotten. Then? Purgatory.

"And that servant who knew the will of his lord, and prepared not himself, and did not according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes."
Luke 12:47-48

Many and few stripes. Different levels of punishment - implies purgatory...
Also it occurred to me it seems like a Biblical basis for explaining why even people who aren't baptized may attait Heaven - through the goodness and mercy of God. For indeed, they "knew not"...

Both Protestants and Catholicism when they talk about someone's death, say "may his soul rest in peace." Graves are inscribed with this.
But, Fr Richards says, only Catholics mean what they say...

Purgatory is not named in the Bible. Well, neither is the doctrine of the Trinity. Protestants believe in that don't they? Catholics arrived at BOTH the doctrine of the Trinity AND the doctrine of purgatory through a similar process, using the Word of God, the teaching authority given to the Church and through logic .

Thanks Fr Richards for reminding us that to reason and to know history is to cease to be protestant.

Don't forget to pray for those in purgatory. Especially those who do not have anyone to pray for them.

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