Apocryphal Foundation for Purgatory

RESEARCH: Apocryphal Foundation for Purgatory

The Apocryphal books, among them II Machabees, were never considered as in spired works by the Jews, were never quoted, as was the Old Testament in the New, by Jesus or the disciples, and were rejected even by the early Roman Catholic Church fathers. It was Roman Catholic St. Jerome who first called certain books apocryphal and did not even list the books of Machabees in his Latin Vulgate. The book of II Machabees was only added to the Roman Catholic list of sacred scripture in the 16th century by the Council of Trent.

The Roman Church admits that there is no direct or indirect reference to the word Purgatory or such a suggested state of being in the Bible. However, it holds that the term Purgatory and its conception may be deduced indirectly from the Bible. Their classical text is II Machabees 12:

It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead; that they may be loosed from sins.

Tanquerey holds that "the testimony taken from the II Machabees clearly shows 1) that both Judas and the Jewish people and the sacred author were convinced that the dead could be helped by prayers and sacrifices; 2) that these (dead) were not guilty of grave sin since it (II Machabees) refers to those who sleep cum prelate (with piety or in peace)." *

But Tanquerey by this deduction runs into trouble because he is taking the verse out of its context. He even contradicts other spurious Roman Catholic doctrine. From the approved Roman Catholic Douay Version, we quote the passage involved, II Machabees 12:38-46:

"So Judas having gathered together his army, came into the city Odollam: and when the seventh day came, they purified themselves according to the custom, and kept the Sabbath in the same place.

"And the day following Judas came with his company, to take away the bodies of them that were slain, and to bury them with their kinsmen, in the sepulchres of their fathers.

"And they found under the coats of the slain some of the donaries of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbiddeth to the Jews: so that all plainly saw, that for this cause they were slain.

"Then they all blessed the just judgment of the Lord, who had discovered the things that were hidden.

"And so betaking themselves to prayers, they be sought him, that the sin which had been committed might be forgotten. But the most valiant Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves from sin, for as much as they saw before their eyes what had happened, because of the sins of those that were slain.

"And making a gathering, he sent twelve thou sand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously, concerning the resurrection,

" (For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead,)

"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 sins." . . .

But Purgatory is essential to the whole work of the Roman Catholic priesthood. For if it were taught that by Christ's one sacrifice on Calvary sinners are saved "to the uttermost," it would be impossible to get the people to accept a mere half-measure of forgiveness by a priest in a confession box. For the source of Catholic power is in the graveyard.

----The Converted Catholic Magazine, November, 1951.



* Brevior Synopsis Theologiae Dogmaticae, by A. D. Tan querey, published by Desclee and Co., 1931, Imprimatur: John Cardinal Verdier, p. 782.

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