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Common fallacies about Purgatory are cleared up in a book that liberated many a struggling Catholic half a century ago. In 1949, this English translation of Fr. Martin Jugie’s acclaimed book -- which had gone through seven editions in France -- was greeted as a much-needed corrective to popular fallacies about Purgatory, many of which continue to cloud the faith of good Catholics. Chief among those fallacies, writes Fr. Jugie, is that Purgatory is kind of “temporary” Hell, its pains differing only in duration. From this follows many other errors that can lead us seriously astray in our conduct and in our prayer lives.


Some of the vitally important truths Fr. Jugie imparts:


  • Why a balanced view of Purgatory must consider the joy -- not just the suffering -- of the Holy Souls
  • Too often neglected: Why Purgatory is a consoling doctrine
  • The radical difference between suffering in Purgatory and the torments of Hell
  • Three chief characteristics of Purgatory. The three reasons a soul may go there
  • Key distinction: the place vs. the state of Purgatory
  • The two kinds of purgatorial pain, and their three functions. The “great pain” that is the source of all the others
  • How best to understand the “fire” of Purgatory? One interpretation, favored by St. Catherine of Genoa, founded on sure dogma
  • The duration of Purgatory. What is the measure of time for the separated soul?
  • Two things that can shorten the pains of Purgatory
  • Why it is not presumption to strive to avoid Purgatory
  • Eight ways of avoiding Purgatory that draw their efficacy from the Sacraments. The surest one of all
  • Eighteen other means of avoiding Purgatory, consisting of virtuous dispositions or practices, and acts of charity
  • Five practices to cultivate the necessary “spirit of penance”
  • The “new mode of knowledge” with which separated souls are endowed -- far more rapid and powerful than ordinary thinking
  • The “special way” that souls in Purgatory know those who have been their relations, friends and contemporaries on earth
  • How the holy souls can communicate with angels and saints. Can angels and saints pay visits of consolation to the holy souls?
  • How the intercession of the saints can directly help the souls in Purgatory
  • May we pray to the souls in Purgatory? Can they intercede for us? St. Thomas’s view
  • Relations of the suffering souls with God
  • How the life of the virtues continues in Purgatory, transformed
  • How many go to Purgatory? Does it include souls born before the Incarnation?
  • Is there a hierarchy in Purgatory, as in Heaven?
  • How we know that the souls in Purgatory are not isolated from one another, but form a kind of society
  • The standard by which the pains of Purgatory are proportioned to each sinner
  • The “relics of sin,” and how Purgatory cleanses them
  • What Trent and other councils taught about Purgatory
  • Why the best way to avoid Hell is to try to avoid Purgatory
  • Why some saints feared the tendency of their friends to anticipate their canonization
  • Why -- and how -- to ask God for one’s Purgatory on earth. Four important precautions before you do
  • Typical Protestant objections to the doctrine of Purgatory, answered. How Luther and others misrepresented it. How heretics who denied it drifted into accepting it under the name of Hell

Fr. Jugie devotes the first half of his book to expounding traditional Catholic teaching about Purgatory and exposing errors, in chapters devoted to: Catholic Doctrine of Purgatory * The Sweet Reasonableness of Purgatory * Place, Population and Society of Purgatory * Pains of Purgatory * Life in Purgatory * The Church Triumphant and Purgatory * The Church Militant and Purgatory

“A healthy approach, based on sane theology, to a subject ... somewhat disfigured by popular writers endowed with a fertile imagination and insufficiently guided by authentic theological sources.” -- Orate Fratres

“Greatly differs from many treatises on Purgatory. ... Let one who is 52 years a priest recommend the reading of the present volume fervently.” -- Fr. J.M. Lelen in Books on Trial