Franklin T. Puckett
Of all false doctrines originated by men, devils, or fallen angels, none has proved more lucrative financially to its originators than the Catholic doctrine of purgatory.
The Christian’s attitude toward the doctrines of men is set forth by the Apostle John when he exhorts Christians to “prove the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). He also said, “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John 10-11). We are going to have enough sins of our own to answer for, without having to answer for somebody else’s. The Christian cannot flirt with error, nor fraternize with those denominationalists who espouse error. He must take a definite stand for the truth and must wage aggressive warfare against all those who “do not the truth.”
Development of Apostasy
In apostolic times there were false teachers, even as there are today. New Testament writers prophesied of a departure from the doctrine of God. Paul said,
Take heed unto yourselves…for I know that after my departing grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them (Acts 20:28-30).
It was also Paul who warned, “But the Spirit saith expressly that in latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1-3).
This “mystery of iniquity” (2 Thess. 2:3-8) was already at work when Paul wrote. In the early history of the church we see a radical change taking place in church government during the first five or six centuries. The autonomy of the local congregation was being destroyed; and hierarchy was arising, which would finally reach fruition when Boniface III was crowned as the “vicar of Christ” on earth about the year 607 A. D.
Dating of False Doctrines
As early as the year 120 A.D. we find the doctrine of “holy water” being referred to. In the year 157 A.D. came the first mention of “penance” or the infliction of bodily punishment for the expiation of guilt. Then about 394 A.D. came the doctrine of the observance of “mass” with all its weird mummery and mystical ritualism. The doctrine of “extreme unction” or the special anointing of the dying came into being about 588 A.D.
It should hardly be necessary to add that the Bible has not one hint of any of these practices. They are utterly unknown to its pages.
The doctrine of purgatory (gradually developing during the 4th to the 6th centuries) teaches that all who die go immediately into an intermediate state called purgatory that they may have the sins and uncleanness of their earthly lives “burned out” to enable them to enter heaven.
The length of one’s stay in purgatory is determined by the number of unforgiven sins he had when he died, and by the number of masses said for him by priests on the earth. The manual of the Purgatorian Society declares: “The practice of recommending to God the souls in purgatory that he may mitigate the great pains they suffer…is most pleasing to the Lord and most profitable to us.”
It is, indeed, most profitable to the Roman Catholic Church to have such a doctrine! During World War Two, the Catholic bishop of a Canadian diocese announced to the women in his congregation that if they would pay him the sum of $40.00 he’d guarantee that their boys who might die on fields of battle would be spared the pains of purgatory, and would be taken immediately to heaven.
The Purgatorian Society manual further states, “For these blessed souls are his eternal spouses.” That means that these souls in purgatory—unfit for heaven because of their sins—are nevertheless the eternal spouses of God. And according to the manual, “they are most grateful to those who obtain their deliverance from prison or even a mitigation of their sufferings.” There is the added promise that when these souls in purgatory have finally expiated their sins and arrive in heaven, “they will be sure to remember all those who have prayed for them.” Thus the vicious scheme of Catholicism begins to be apparent: Let those on earth pay money to the priest to have masses said for their dead loved ones in purgatory; then once the Purgatorian punishment has been accomplished these souls will be taken to heaven and they, in turn, will intercede for their loved ones on the earth!
Saint Catherine of Bologna, a Catholic “saint” declared that she obtained many blessings by recourse to the souls in purgatory, blessings which the saints in heaven were not able to secure for her.
That this whole monstrous doctrine is designed solely to enrich the pockets of the priests is evident from this quotation from the Purgatorian Society manual: “High masses are offered daily for the living and the deceased members of the Society.” Fee for membership is only $10.00 and the manual assures its readers that this fee will cover them completely with insurance for the perpetuation of masses for themselves and their beloved dead. “Many worry whether any masses will be said for them after death. Now is the time to settle this important affair yourself on very easy terms.”
Thus you have it in stark, grim outline. Go to heaven the easy way; escape hell for $10.00; join the Purgatorian Society today. According to Catholic teaching this is undoubtedly the most lucrative and most profitable doctrine ever invented by men. It has helped Catholicism to become the richest and greatest single land-holder in all of Europe. It is sending millions of dollars into her treasuries each year from the gullible and has deceived people from every corner of the earth.