Divine Mercy Q&A

Part 2: The Mystery of Purgatory

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is part 2 of Dr. Robert Stackpole's response to a Protestant student in one of his theology classes who recently asked him to defend the Catholic doctrine of purgatory. Read part one.

By Dr. Robert Stackpole, STD (Oct 27, 2009)

All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve that holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

Part 1: Proof of Purgatory? Look No Further.

This four-part series was prompted not so much by a question as by a challenge. A Protestant student in one of my theology classes recently asked me to defend the Catholic doctrine of purgatory, since his Biblical Studies professor once told him that there was "no way" that this doctrine could be found in the Scripture.

First of all, we who are Divine Mercy devotees probably have been moved by the powerful vision of purgatory that St. Faustina recorded in her Diary (see entry 20), and her subsequent concern for the souls there who are in need of our prayers.

Is There a Doctor in the House?

A woman named Angela recently wrote to me asking a question I have received several times before, but always hesitated to try to answer. She asks:

How Are We 'Saved' by God's Merciful Love?

Many of our readers will know that one of the main issues that divided Catholics from Protestants at the time of the Protestant Reformation was the doctrine of salvation. How do we make it to heaven? How are we saved? Can we know for sure if we are among the saved?

A simplistic answer would be that for Evangelical Protestants, we are saved by God's grace alone, through faith alone, whereas the Catholic Church teaches that we are saved by faith and good works. But, in reality, the whole matter was much more complex than that back then, and it still is today.

How to Serve Our Lord in Tough Financial Times

Given the world economic downturn that we are all facing this year, the question I received a few weeks ago from a lady named "Rosalind" is likely to be on a lot of people's minds these days:

How Can We Practice the Corporal Works of Mercy Today?

For many centuries, our Holy Mother the Church has encouraged her children to practice the "corporal" and "spiritual" works of mercy. These merciful "works" were summarized in two traditional lists.

'Special Graces' and 'Plenary Indulgence': Are They the Same Thing?

The following column was first posted on Jan. 17, 2007:

This week, a Mr. Dwyer asked: What is the difference between the special graces promised by Jesus for devout communicants on Divine Mercy Sunday, and the plenary indulgence for Divine Mercy Sunday devotions that was instituted several years ago by Pope John Paul II? Are they the same thing? Or are they different?

Simply put: They are NOT the same thing!

How Should We Celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday?

As we draw nearer to Divine Mercy Sunday on April 19, we often receive questions in Stockbridge, Mass., about the proper way to celebrate the feast day.

This is something that St. Faustina does not reflect upon in much detail in her Diary, and local customs have been established that people sometimes confuse with the liturgical requirements of the day.

So You Want to Change the World?

The Marians of the Immaculate Conception have introduced a 14-part series to help inspire parish cenacle or study groups this coming Lent who are looking for ways to make a difference in this troubled world. By means of introduction to this parish renewal program, its author, Robert Stackpole, STD, sat down to share his thoughts on the series. Robert, a columnist for this website, is the director of the John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy, a lay apostolate of the Marians.

How Can We Learn to Forgive Ourselves?

This column was originally posted on July 25, 2007.

I received a letter recently that was very short, but also expressed profound sadness: