123 Years in “Purgatory”?

an artist's portrayal of the fictional place called "purgatory"

an artist’s portrayal of the fictional place called “purgatory”

After writing my last post concerning the AntiChrist I remembered reading in a book years ago about a Roman Catholic priest who tried to calculate the amount of time that would have to be spent by good Roman Catholics in the unbiblical place (or “state” as some would prefer to call it) called “purgatory”. I found the book and I thought I would share some quotes :

“More recently [1880] a French admirer of Father Faber has made a systematic treatise on Purgatory, based on modern revelations. The book is called ‘Purgatory, according to the Revelations of the Saints,’ by the Abbe Louvet.”

“[Father] Louvet makes a calculation, by the help of his revelations, how long an ordinary Christian [read “Roman Catholic”] may expect to have to stay in Purgatory. I cannot trouble you with the details of his proof, but his result is, that a Christian [read “Roman Catholic”] of more than usual sanctity, who has never committed a mortal sin, who has carefully avoided all the graver venial sins, and has satisfied by penance for three-fourths of the lighter sins into which frailty has led him, must expect to spend in Purgatory 123 years, 3 months, and 15 days. ‘A truly terrifying result,’ says Louvet; ‘ for if it is so with righteous souls, what will become of poor sinners like me ?’ “

“But these 123 years are only years of earthly measurement ; they would be more than centuries if measured by the sensations of the suffering souls. This Louvet proves by several authentic histories. One is of two priests who loved each other like brethren. It was revealed to one on his death-bed that he should be released from Purgatory the first Mass that was offered for him. He sent for his friend, and made him promise that he would lose no time after his death in fulfilling the conditions of his release. The friend promised, and the moment the sick man expired, flew to the altar, and celebrated the Mass with all the devotion he was capable of. Immediately afterwards, his friend appeared to him radiant with glory, but with an air of reproach on his countenance. ‘O faithless friend,’ he cried, ‘you would deserve to be treated with the same cruelty you have exercised towards me ! Here I have been years in the avenging flames, and to think that neither you nor one of my brethren should have had the charity to offer a single Mass for me! ‘ ‘ Nay,’ returned his friend, ‘ you had no sooner closed your eyes than I fulfilled my promise ; and you may satisfy yourself by examining your body, which you will find is not yet cold.’ ‘ Is that so? ‘ returned the deceased. ‘ How frightful are the torments of Purgatory when one hour seems more than a year ! ‘ “

“To the question ‘Are there few that be saved? ‘ Louvet would return a most gloomy answer. His arguments and calculations are very interesting, but would take me too long to repeat. But (p. 26) he clinches his opinions by a revelation. St. Bernard, it appears, was privileged on two successive days to standby the judgment-seat of God, and hear the sentences pronounced on all the souls that died on these two days. He was horrified to find that of 80,000 souls only three souls of adults were saved the first day, and only two on the second; and that of these five not one went direct to heaven : all must visit Purgatory.”

(source : George Salmon, “The Infallibility of the Church”)

R. P. Blakeney in his book “A Manual of Romish Controversy” (which can be read here) has a chapter dealing with the false and financially profitable teaching of purgatory.

Instead of the Roman Catholic fable of purgatory (whether called a place or state) I prefer the Gospel (Good News) of “It is finished.” (John 19:30)  Good news indeed!

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