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Pray for souls in Purgatory, Pope reminds audience

Catholic World News - January 12, 2011

The cleansing fire of Purgatory is “not an exterior fire, but an interior fire,” fueled by the soul’s hatred for its own sins, Pope Benedict XVI told his weekly public audience on January 12.

The Pope was citing the work of St. Catherine of Genoa, the 15th-century author of the Treatise on Purgatory. In Purgatory, she explained, the soul is fully aware of God’s love, and “suffers for not having responded to that love perfectly.” Only after having been purified of sin can the soul approach God, the Pope said.

St. Catherine of Genoa led a worldly life in her youth, the Pope told the audience in the Paul VI auditorium. But later she became fervent in her prayer and devoted herself to penance to atone for her earlier sins. The Pope observed that she did not have mystical visions of Purgatory, but had a clear understanding of the need for purification.

For today’s Christians, the Pope said, St. Catherine offers a reminder that we should pray for the deceased, so that those in Purgatory “may blessed vision of God in the communion of the saints.”

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  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Jan. 13, 2011 12:13 PM ET USA

    I agree with Justin3110, more priests must talk about this. It's also important to remember that souls in Purgatory cannot help themselves. They are there for as long as it takes for them to be cleansed. How long that will take we cannot know, but we do know that prayers for them by the living, and also by the Saints who are already in the presence of God, are helpful.

  • Posted by: Justin8110 - Jan. 12, 2011 5:57 PM ET USA

    Our current Holy Father surprises me sometimes but this time it is a good surprise: he actually mentioned Purgatory to a public audience. I wish more priests would mention it from the pulpit at Holy Mass.

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