Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Purg

The Anastasis Dialogue has some great reflections on the vibrant discussion over at the Reformed Catholicism blog on Purgatory. Usually I steer clear of Purgatorial theology, mainly cuz it's a mystery that polemcists don't fear treading upon enough. But Hieromonk Maximos noted that Fr. Al Kimel, who I miss, has posted some good stuff in the comboxes so I had to check it out. HM sets up a common Catholic attitude for a good paddling:
"Of course we Catholics don't believe that our salvation is automatically assured just because we make a single act of faith in 'Jesus my personal Lord and Savior.' But that doesn't mean we are left in complete and utter anxiety about our future. Right now I am not conscious that I have committed any mortal sins since I went to Confession last week. That means I'm in a state of grace, which means I can be morally certain that if I died right now I'd go to heaven. Of course, I may have a few venial sins or some other imperfections that need to be purified. I can't rule out some time in Purgatory! But even that could be eliminated if God gives me the extra grace of receiving the Sacrament of Anointing before I die, or of receiving a Plenary Indulgence. So yes, I don't think my assurance of salvation is any less real than any Protestant's."

I hope I have been fair in reproducing this monologue. At any rate it contains nothing that is not strictly in accord with what I understand to be Roman Catholic teaching.

Yet it's horrifying.
If a large number of Catholics previously believed that the state of one's soul can be mapped out on an accountant's ledger, then Vatican II indeed was necessary and a true work of the Spirit. Read the rest of HM's careful critique.