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1 hour ago, Five Solas said:

As always, I appreciate the thoughtful response, Rory.  It's an interesting interpretation of Colossians 1:24.  I quickly pulled my Catholic Study Bible (Oxford University Press) off the shelf to see if there was more to be had along these lines.  But it merely told me:

1, 24 What is lacking: although variously interpreted, this phrase does not imply that Christ's atoning death on the cross was defective.  It may refer to the apocalyptic concept of a quota of "messianic woes" to be endured before the end comes; cf Mk 13, 8.19-20.24 and the note on Mt 23, 29-32.  Others suggest that Paul's mystical unity with Christ allowed him to call his own sufferings the afflictions of Christ. 

The CSB's note on 1 Corinthians 3:15 was likewise interesting, The text of v 15 has sometimes been used to support the notion of purgatory, though it does not envisage this. 

And I looked up 1 John 5:16-17 as well.  And there the note read, deadly sin (literally "sin unto death") probably referring to apostasy or activities brought on under the antichrist; cf Mk 3, 29; Heb 6, 4-6; 10, 26-31. 

All that to say, you appear to have some well-developed ideas that aren't terribly common.  Indeed, I don't find much difference between my CSB's notes and Protestant interpretations for the passages you cited.  That in itself doesn't make you wrong, of course.  I am curious if there's a study bible or set of commentaries you like to use and would recommend. 


PS.  And yes, I did enjoy the scripture chase you gave me.  And I took a look at a couple of John Piper commentaries along with the wikipedia entry on Purgatory--but chose not to bore you with any of that.


Thanks Erik,

I am gratified to have given you some pause for thought. But I would be surprised to discover that anybody who I go to Mass with would be unfamiliar with "well-developed ideas" that are standard Catholic thought. The only possible novelty would have perhaps been my willingness to accept that in some sense, Christ's work was "somehow inadequate". Taking your ideas and words, I still feel good about using those words in the qualified sense that I explained. If my beliefs could be proven to be uncommon, that is to say, incompatible with the teaching of the Catholic Church, I repudiate them. 

"Lacking" and "wanting" are synonyms. Who would say that it means defective? Not me.

Paul's mystical unity? What about my mystical unity? What about my family?

Filling up that which is lacking/wanting is not for a select few, but for all of God's children. I can not be satisfied with the Catholic commentary you have cited. Heh. It isn't Christ's atonement, but the commentary that is defective! When Saul was met on the Damascus Road, Jesus asked him, Why persecutest thou me? It isn't just Paul/Saul who is to be so identified with Christ as to be able to "fill up that which is lacking/wanting in His sufferings". Clearly, from the Damascus Road experience we see that while the future Paul was persecuting Christians, the sufferings of all those he persecuted were identified by Jesus Christ with Himself...a mystical unity not just for Paul but for all. According to my understanding, any of those who belong to Christ can be identified as crucified with Him, according to their state of life, in a hundred ways every day, whether their sufferings are seemingly slight, or unto blood. Remember how St. Peter was so delighted, around Acts 4 or 5 to be accounted worthy to suffer for the name of Christ? Why? Because there is value, there is merit in it, which to a believing sinner, should boggle the imagination, making one bow down in grateful love, compunction, and adoration

Christmas left us last night. Septuagesima Eve. No more Alleluias, the song of heaven given to us in exile. It is a little melancholy to leave the manger, but we must grow up and suffer as did our Baby Jesus. We go forward remembering again how that the Son of God, He whom the world could not contain, who dwelt in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, providentially willed to be born in to the cold and damp and darkness of a winter stable. But what an encouragement this can be to the soul that recognizes its own misery and poverty. Our Little Jesus, who willed to be born in Bethlehem is also willing to be born in to our own cold and dark hearts and souls. As we say goodbye to the little Saviour in the crib, may we go forward with courage, as He makes our poor hearts a "little Bethlehem" that walks with Him from Nazareth to Calvary. I fear that the way Catholics understand the value of suffering and good works has been sadly misunderstood by our Protestant and LDS friends too. Only those works which are supernaturally united in "mystical unity" with the Babe in the manger and His work on the Cross can ever be efficacious to the salvation and sanctification of a single soul.

Not to be Mr. Semantics...but I have regrets about making non-Catholics think that there is no sense in which I could believe sola fide is true. I think Catholics can accept it in the abstract. Just not in the way that Luther or Calvin ever taught it at the time of the Council of Trent. Unfortunately, sola fide has been identified with a certain system which I have to agree is false.     

Reason is dazzled and staggers in the light of faith. Reason must be humbled before it is informed by Faith as to what our good and merciful Saviour and King, has done on our behalf, and continues to do. I do not know how or why, except that faith could never come from me. What a gift is faith. It must be nurtured as the tenderest and most precious plant. I am thankful that somehow, God has led me so far to believe somewhat. "Lord I believe, help thou mine unbelief".

Catholics have good catechisms, but not commentaries the way Protestants do. I really don't remember where I was taught this stuff. It isn't original (which is to say novel), I promise that.


Edited by 3DOP
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Today is the Feast of St Francis de Sales, my Confirmation saint. He actually uses I Cor 15:29, baptism for the dead, to teach the Catholic doctrine of purgatory. He argues that baptism for the dead is not a water baptism, but a baptism of suffering on behalf of the dead.

Another passage that is often used to argue for the concept of purgatory is Mt 12:32. I never caught this as a Protestant:


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.

Does this imply that under certain circumstances, there are sins which are forgiven after death, "in the world to come"?

Why would Jesus even mention forgiveness in the "world to come" if it is unambiguously revealed that no sins can be forgiven after death?

Additionally, Catholics have revelation that Protestants and Joseph Smith agree to reject. If a non-Catholic will consider that Catholics accept the book of 2 Maccabees as Scripture, it seems difficult to see how the the non-Catholic could doubt that Catholics need to believe in purgatory. As argued above, I think everybody, even those with only 66 books in their Bible, believes in some kind of purgatory. There is nothing unbiblical about purgatory for those with a shortened Bible. But purgatory is necessarily biblical to Catholics.

And making a gathering, he (Judas) sent twelve thousand drachms of silver for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection...And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from their sins." (II Macc. 12:43, 45, 46)



Edited by 3DOP
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On 1/28/2018 at 7:09 PM, 3DOP said:

Not to be Mr. Semantics...but I have regrets about making non-Catholics think that there is no sense in which I could believe sola fide is true. I think Catholics can accept it in the abstract. Just not in the way that Luther or Calvin ever taught it at the time of the Council of Trent. Unfortunately, sola fide has been identified with a certain system which I have to agree is false. 

I appreciate this.  The things we loath color us just as the things we love--which has implication on how we communicate & how we're understood.  And sometimes the result is confusion (as the previous "somehow inadequate" - but not "defective" exchange illustrates). 

But as I've read and re-read your posts and clarifications, there's very little I find myself wanting to argue with.  If you say Purgatory could be a momentary transition, then what is there for me to say?  It's not the way the word has traditionally been used and understood, but certainly a transition takes place--so we agree.  

The way you initially explained your attachment to the Brown Scapular was hard to distinguish from the baseball player with the well-worn lucky rabbit's foot.  But I suspect the comparison is unfair and it's just another illustration of the above. 

I do agree 2 Maccabees carries large implication for those who consider it in the canon of scripture.  Someone else tied it to 1 Corinthians 15:29 on the forum here.  I'm sure not everyone appreciated it, but I certainly found it intriguing. 

Lastly, I hope you enjoyed the commemoration of St. Francis de Sales.  I love how Catholicism encompasses the whole calendar with a history of Christian life.  And I love seeing what it's done for my uncle. 


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