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Questions and Answers

Many people have questions on the catholic faith and issues related to our faith. This section will attempt to answer those questions.

Q. What happens to the poor souls in purgatory who have no one to pray for them? I was told as a child that they were lost, never to see God's face. Is that true?

A. No. The souls in purgatory are already saved, but they are undergoing a period of purification that will enable them to see God face-to-face.

The Catholic Church prays for all those in purgatory at every Mass. In Canon II, for example, the priest says, "Remember our brothers and sisters who have gone to their rest in the hope of rising again." And, of course, on All Soul's Day, November 2, the Church especially remembers and prays for the souls in purgatory.

Purgatory is defined this way: "The state or condition in which those who have died in the state of grace, but with some attachment to sin, suffer for a time before they are admitted to the glory and happiness of heaven. In this state and period of passive suffering, they are purified of unrepented venial sins, satisfy the demands of divine justice for temporal punishment due for sins, and are thus converted to a state of worthiness of the beatific vision."

Catholics see purgatory as one more sign of God's love and mercy. Because God is all holy and nothing unclean or sinful can stand before him, he would be justified in condemning even those who had lived good lives if they died unrepentant for venial sins. Instead, in his mercy, he provides for the purification of these souls, so that they may be able to see him face to face.

This month's answer was provided by Rev. John Patrick Bertolucci.

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