Growing up in a Christian background and eventually studying theology exposed me to many doctrines. One of them that I seemed to never get enough of is purgatory. I was so fascinated with this doctrine that I befriended a group of Catholic priests just to learn everything about it. We would hold weekly discussions on this topic until I learned everything there is about Purgatory. Recently, I was privileged to be a speaker at a Catholic vs. Protestants zoom Forum and the topic of Purgatory stood out. All Protestants wanted to know what goes on in purgatory and the kind of people who go to this place. With my vast knowledge on the subject, I was able to answer this question with ease. So, who goes to purgatory?
According to the doctrine and teachings of purgatory, those who, at the point of death, were saved, but are still attached to some sin, are the ones who will go to purgatory to be cleansed before they enter heaven. Not everyone will go there. Some people will go straight to heaven if they have no blemish on their souls, and other souls will go to hell (those who are not saved and have not repented).
So, join me as I dig deeper into the types of people that go to purgatory. I will also discuss the point of purgatory, how souls can avoid purgatory, and if all souls that go to purgatory will go to heaven. Keep reading to learn more.
What types of people go to purgatory?
It is key to note that not everyone who dies goes to purgatory. As mentioned above, only those who are in a state of friendship with God and carry God’s grace, but have some stain of sin on them, go to purgatory. These kinds of people are still referred to as children of God, but they failed to pay for the sins that were already forgiven before their death. Purgatory is a place where the souls of these people are refined and made ready to enter heaven. It is key to note that the Catholic Church teaches that purgatory is not a place where the unrepentant is given another chance to make things right with God. Repentance happens on Earth.
What sends souls to purgatory?
According to Catholic teachings, it is sin or being attached to sin that sends someone to purgatory. If you have repented of your sins, but have not yet been fully forgiven and have a stain of sin on you, then your soul will go to purgatory to be purified and cleansed before entering the Kingdom of God. It is important to reinforce that according to the Catholic teachings of purgatory, only those who are predestined to go to heaven and have some sought of sin on them will head to purgatory to be purified first.
Do all souls go to purgatory?
No, not all souls go to purgatory. According to the doctrine of purgatory, only those who are in a state of friendship with God at the time of death and have some “stain” on them will go to purgatory. The souls with no blemish, who have walked with God and faithfully kept the faith, will go to heaven. This doctrine also teaches that those who have not confessed and repented of their sins will head to hell. Mostly, after death, most of us do not fit in the two extremes (without blemish or have not repented), so the in-between space is where most people land, purgatory. Furthermore, purgatory teachings posit that a soul can reduce the time they spend in this in-between place through indulgence.
Do all souls in purgatory go to heaven?
Yes, those who go into purgatory are destined to enter heaven. They have God’s grace and have been accepted by God but are not pure enough to enter God’s kingdom. As mentioned above, if you do not have a good relationship with God at the point of your death, then you will not go to purgatory but to hell. The Catholic Church reinforces the teaching that purgatory is not a second chance for repentance; it is just a place of refinement for those who already repented and confessed their sins. Once they have been cleansed and made pure, they then head to heaven.
How can souls avoid purgatory?
According to the Catholic teachings about purgatory, one can avoid this in-between places by leading a holy life. By confessing your sins regularly and striving to live a life that is free from sin, then you can avoid purgatory, and your soul will go to heaven after death. Furthermore, the Catholic Church teaches that if one practices works of mercy and receives the Holy Eucharist, then one can avoid going to purgatory after death.
What is the point of purgatory?
Those who believe in the doctrine of purgatory believe that it is an act of God’s mercy, grace, and justice toward us. This is because purgatory expresses the extent of God’s mercy after death. As the Bible states in Revelation 21:27, nothing unclean will see heaven. Therefore, according to the doctrine of purgatory, this in-between place between hell and heaven allows us to be purified and cleansed and capable of entering God’s kingdom.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.