By Amelia Martens

Reviewed by Christopher Zoukis

According the dictionary, purgatory is defined as:  “in Roman Catholic theology, a state or place in which those who have died in the grace of God expiate their sins by suffering; any state or place of temporary punishment, expiation, or remorse.” 

The operative word in the definition, the one everyone pounces on like a starving lion on a piece of meat, is ‘temporary.’  None of that forever jazz so often associated with God and eternity and Heaven and Hell.

The doctrine of Purgatory dates back to a papal letter written in 1253, and was confirmed at the Council of Trent.  Purgatory was adopted by the Church as a response to the wave of heresy crashing through history at the time.  The popular heresy of the day was dualism, sometimes called Manichaeism, which really upset the powers that be.  So the guys at the top decided on a two-pronged attack:  punishment and reward.  The punishment was initially called the Abigensian Crusade.  Later, they came up with a concentrated version of the same thing and called it the Inquisition.  The reward was Purgatory.

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