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The Profession of Faith

269

Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The

tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture,

speaks of a cleansing fire:

607

As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the

Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says

that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will

be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From

this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be

forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.

608

1032

This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the

dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: “Therefore [Judas

Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be

delivered from their sin.”

609

From the beginning the Church has

honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage

for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified,

they may attain the beatific vision of God.

610

The Church also

commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance under-

taken on behalf of the dead:

Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were

purified by their father’s sacrifice, why would we doubt that

our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let

us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our

prayers for them.

611

IV.

H

ell

1033

We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to

love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him,

against our neighbor or against ourselves: “He who does not love

remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and

you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”

612

Our

Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet

the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his

brethren.

613

To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting

God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever

by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from

communion with God and the blessed is called “hell.”

607 Cf.

1 Cor

3:15;

1 Pet

1:7.

608 St. Gregory the Great,

Dial.

4, 39: PL 77, 396; cf.

Mt

12:31.

609

2 Macc

12:46.

610 Cf. Council of Lyons II (1274): DS 856.

611 St. John Chrysostom,

Hom. in 1 Cor.

41, 5: PG 61, 361; cf.

Job

1:5.

612

1 Jn

3:14-15.

613 613 Cf.

Mt

25:31-46.

958

1371

1479

1861

393

633