Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Volume 23, number 242

Purgatory - God's Justice and Mercy
    Part Three
        from St. Paul's Epistle to the Corinthians

    In verses 16 through 23 we see the warning St. Paul issued to those who would deceive and lead astray anyone from the Faith established by Jesus Christ - His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Those who lead or are led away may think they are wise to the world in its ways, but in truth are fools. St. Paul urges these fools to become wise for otherwise they will be trapped in their own craftiness as we can clearly see what is happening today in the counterfeit church of conciliarism after fifty years of folly thanks to Vatican II in which man replaced God through Roncalli's aggiornamento agenda that opened a huge fizzure in the Church, allowing satan to rule the roost and making Purgatory for those compromising with the world all that much harder to attain, let alone making it to Heaven. Most importantly we see that if any man violates the temple of God, God will destroy him. Here Paul refers to both the Church and the body and soul, both of which have been violated grievously through apostasy and abortion, not to mention a disregard for God's Laws and Love.

    With this third part I complete my series on the subject of Purgatory asSt. Paul addresses in chapter three of 1 Corinthians with the theme as stated in the Douay Rheims Bible that "they must not contend about their teachers, who are but God's ministers, and accountable to Him. Their works shall be tried by fire." In part three I provide the brief Haydock commentary in green for these verses as well as the renowned Saint Thomas Aquinas in blue and taken from the Aquinas commentary. As I have noted before, the Scripture used there appears to be a mishmash of true versions and new versions of the Bible. Perhaps the one who compiled the commentaries used an old translation and then added some modern words as he saw fit. I lay out the discernment of the Church on the words of St. Paul and the necessity of purification by fire before one can worthily enter the immaculate realm of Heaven.

    Again, the whole purpose of bringing this three-part series to readers is to provide purgatorial proofs to Protestants so they can see it is not some Catholic pipedream but a natural reality that makes total sense to assure one is purified before entering Heaven. Another purpose is to motivate Catholics to avoid venial sin to the best of their ability for if we let our guard down and fall for the world's wiles, we'll not only be foils to the devil but fools in God's eyes and it's not nice to make God mad.

9 For we are God's coadjutors: you are God's husbandry; you are God's building.
    Verse 9. We are God's coadjutors, laboring in His service, as He hath employed us. --- You are God's husbandry, the soil, where virtues are to be planted. You are God's building, the edifice, the house, or even the temple of God; we are employed as builders under God. (Witham)

16 Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you?

17 But if any man violate the temple of God: him shall God destroy. For the temple of God is holy, which you are.

    Ver. 16-17. Know you not. After the apostle had described the builders who are employed in the spiritual edifice, he then proceeds to speak of the duties of those who are the living temples of Christ. As for you, my brethren, who are the temples of God, preserve yourselves in purity of faith, and innocence of morals. Fly from those false apostles who seek your ruin, and remain steadfast in that faith which you have received from us; (Calmet) that is, the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic faith. What a happiness for the faithful minister to assist in erecting and ornamenting the living temples of God; but what punishment must await the unfaithful minister, who by his own neglect and bad example, helps to ruin and destroy the temples God himself had entrusted to his care! (Haydock) --- The Spirit of God dwelleth in you, having received the grace of God at your conversion: you are the holy temple of God: But if any one violate, or profane the temple of God, either by false doctrine, or by any grievous offence, he destroys the spiritual edifice, that was built in his soul upon the faith and grace of God. He cannot be said to be built any longer upon the same foundation: and therefore God will destroy such persons: they shall not be saved even by fire, or temporal punishments, but shall be excluded for ever from Heaven, and condemned to eternal punishments. (Witham)

18 Let no man deceive himself: if any man among you seem to be wise in this world, let him become a fool that he may be wise.

19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written: I will catch the wise in their own craftiness.

20 And again: The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

21 Let no man, therefore, glory in men.

    Ver. 18-21. Let no man deceive himself. He next precautions them against themselves, and admonishes them to be upon their guard against curiosity, presumption, and self-love, and tells them to undervalue all other sciences, when put in competition with the science of salvation, the knowledge of the gospel. It hence appears, that some of the Corinthians were renowned for that human eloquence which the world so much esteems, and accordingly the apostle discovers to them the danger to which they are exposing themselves, by pursuing their present line of conduct. (Calmet) --- If any man among you seem to be wise in this world. He hints at some new teachers among them, (not at Apollo) who to gain the esteem of men, had introduced errors from profane philosophy, or the false principles of human wisdom, which, as he had told them before, was folly in the sight of God. He therefore tells such persons, that to become truly wise, they must become fools, by returning to the simplicity of the gospel-doctrine. (Witham) --- Let no man. That is, let no man say, I am for Paul, I am for Apollo. This language will introduce into the Church of God those various sects that existed amongst the philosophers, who were distinguished by the title of Platonics, Stoics, Peripatetic, and so on. (Grotius)

22 For all things are yours, whether it be Paul, or Apollo, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come: for all are yours:

23 And you are Christ's; and Christ is God's.

    Ver. 22-23. All things are yours. Are ordained for your good. For this end, I, Apollo, and Cephas have been sent to promote your salvation. The world and all things in it are allowed you, are yours, that by making good use of them, you may save your souls: that death may be to you a passage to a happy eternity, that the things to come may be your eternal reward. --- You are Christ's, you belong to Him Who hath redeemed you, and sanctified you by His grace: and Christ is God's, Christ as man, who being the Son of God, was made also man, and sent to make known the glory of God, His divine perfections of mercy, justice, &c.

    From St. Thomas Aquinas:

    Having indicated the reward in store for those who labor well, the Apostle now deals with the punishment in store for those who do evil or destructive works. In regard to this he does two things: first, he indicates the punishment; secondly, he dismisses a contrary error (v. 18). He indicates the punishment in store for those who work unto destruction by continuing with the metaphor of the spiritual building. In regard to his he does three things: first, he shows the dignity of the spiritual edifice; secondly, he mentions the punishment in store for those who destroy it (v. 17a); thirdly, he assigns the reason for the punishment (v. 17b). He says, therefore: I have said that everyone who builds on the foundation will receive the reward of salvation without a loss or with a loss. But if you are to understand the punishment in store for those who labor evilly among you, you must recognize your dignity, which he indicates when he says: Do you not know that you, Christ's faithful, are the temple of God? "In whom all the building framed together, groweth up into a holy temple in the Lord; In whom you also are built together into a habitation of God in the Spirit." (Ephesians 2: 21-22).

    Secondly, he proves that the faithful are God's temple. For it is the mark of a temple to be God's dwelling place: "The Lord is in his holy temple" (Psalm 10: 5); hence everything in which God dwells can be called a temple. Now God dwells chiefly in Himself, because He alone comprehends Himself; hence God Himself is called a temple: "For the Lord God Almighty is the temple thereof" (Apocalypse 21: 22). God also dwells in a building consecrated by the special worship offered Him in it; therefore, a holy building is called a temple: "I will worship towards thy holy temple, in thy fear" (Psalm 5: 8). Furthermore, he dwells in men by faith, which works through love: "That Christ may dwell by faith in your hearts" (Ephesians 3: 17). Hence to prove that the faithful are God's temple, he adds that they are dwelt in by God when he says: and the Spirit of God dwells in you, as in Romans (8: 11) when he said: "And if the Spirit of him, who raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in you"; "I will put my spirit in the midst of you" (Ezechiel 36: 27). This shows that the Spirit is God, by Whose indwelling the faithful are called God's temple, for only God's indwelling makes a thing God's dwelling, as has been said.

    But it should be noted that God exists in all creatures. He exists in them by His essence, power and presence, filling all things with His goodness: "do not I fill heaven and earth" (Jeremias 23: 24). But God is said to dwell spiritually as in a family in the saints, whose mind is capable of God by knowledge and love, even though they may not be actually thinking of Him or loving Him, provided that by grace they possess the habit of faith and charity, as is the case with baptized infants. However, knowledge without love does not suffice for God's indwelling, for 1 John (4: 16) says: "he that abideth in charity, abideth in God, and God in him." That is why many persons know God either by natural knowledge or by unformed faith, yet God's Spirit does not dwell in them.

    Then when he says, But if any man, he mentions the punishment in store for those who do evil works, saying: But if any man destroy the temple of God, him will God destroy. Now the temple of God is violated in two ways: in one way by false teaching, which does not build on the foundation but rather uproots it and destroys the edifice; hence, (Ezechiel 13: 19) says of false prophets: "And they violated Me among My people, for a handful of barley, and a piece of bread," In another way a person violates the temple of God by mortal sin, through which he destroys himself or someone else by his works or example; hence it says in Malachias (2: 11): "Juda hath profaned the holiness of the Lord, which he loved" Therefore, any person who violates a spiritual temple of God or profanes it in any way deserves to be destroyed by God through eternal damnation; hence Mal (2: 12) continues: "The Lord will cut off the man that hath done this, both the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob" and in Psalm 11 (v. 4): "May the Lord destroy all deceitful lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things".

    Then when he says, For the temple, he gives the reason for what he had said about the holiness of the temple. For a person who profanes a sacred thing commits a sacrilege; hence he deserves to be destroyed. For the temple of God is holy, and that temple you are, as he stated earlier and as stated in Psalm 65 (v. 4) [?] "Holy is your temple, wonderful in justice," and again in Psalm 92 (v. 5) [?]: "Holiness becometh thy house, O Lord" In a material temple, however, is a certain sacramental holiness, inasmuch as the temple is dedicated to divine worship; but in Christ's faithful is the holiness of grace, which they acquired by baptism: "but you are washed, but you are sanctified" 1 Corinthians (6: 11).

    Then when he says, Let no man, he excludes an opposite error. First, he warns the faithful to be careful not to be deceived by error; secondly, he teaches now to be careful (v. 18); thirdly, he assigns the reason (v. 19).

    In regard to the first it should be noted that some people say that God neither rewards nor punishes men's deeds: "that say in their hearts: The Lord will not do good, nor will He do evil" (Sophonias 1:12); "Who is he that hath commanded a thing to be done, when the Lord commandeth it not?" (Lamentations 3:37). To exclude this error he says, let no man deceive himself with the assertion that a person who violates the temple of God will not be destroyed: "Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the anger of God upon the children of unbelief." (Ephesians 5: 6).

    Then when he says, if any man, he shows how to avoid being deceived in this way. Here it should be noted that some, appealing to the reasons of human wisdom, have declared that God does not punish men's sins on the ground that God does not know the particular things that happen here: "The clouds are his covert, and he doth not consider our things," (Job 22: 14). Therefore, to avoid this he says: If any man among you thinks he is wise in this world, i.e., has worldly wisdom, which in those points that are contrary to the faith is not wisdom, even though it appears to be, let him become a fool by eschewing that seeming wisdom, that he may become wise, namely, according to divine wisdom, which is the true wisdom. And this must be observed not only in those matters in which worldly wisdom is contrary to the truth of faith, but also in all matters in which it is contrary to genuine morality; hence: "he is a buckler (shield - J.G.) to them that hope in him" (Proverbs 30: 5).

    Then when he says, For the wisdom, he assigns the reason for what he had said. For it seems to be inept to advise a person to become foolish, as, indeed, it would be if the foolishness were the denial of true wisdom. But that is not the case, for the wisdom of this world is folly with God, because it rests mainly on this world, whereas the wisdom which attains to God through the things of this world is not the wisdom of the world but the wisdom of God, as Romans (1: 19) says: "Because that which is known of God is manifest in them. For God hath manifested it to them." Therefore, the wisdom of this world, which considers the things of this world in such a way that it does not reach divine truth is folly with God, i.e., in God's judgment it is folly: "The princes of Tanis are become fools; the wise counsellors of Pharaoh have given foolish counsel:" (Isaias 19: 11).

    Secondly, he proves what he had said by citing two authorities: the first of these is from Job (5: 13); "hence he says: He catches the wise in their craftiness." Now the Lord catches the wise in their own craftiness, because when they lay crafty plans contrary to God, He frustrates them and fulfills His own plan. Thus, by the malice of Joseph's brothers attempting to prevent his ascendancy, it came to pass by divine providence that Joseph, after being sold, became a ruler in Egypt. Hence just before the words quoted, Job says: "He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success"; because, as it says in Proverbs (21: 30): "There is no wisdom, there is no prudence, there is no counsel against the Lord." The second authority is taken from Psalm 94 (v. 11); hence he says: and again it is written: The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise, i.e., according to the wisdom of the world, are futile, namely, because they do not reach unto the goal of human knowledge, which is the knowledge of divine truth. Hence Wisdom (13: 1) says: "Put not your trust in princes: in the children of men, in whom there is no salvation."

    Then when he says, let no man, he draws his main conclusion, namely, that they should not glory in God's ministers. First, he draws the conclusion, saying: Therefore, since ministers are nothing but persons laboring for a reward, let no man boast of men, as it says in Psalm 146 (v. 3): "Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help"; and Jeremias (17:5 ): "Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his arm."

    Secondly, he assigns a reason based on the dignity of Christ's faithful. First, he mentions the relationship between things and Christ's faithful, saying: For all things are yours. As if to say: just as a man does not glory in things subject to himself, so neither should you glory in the things of the world, all of which have been given to you by God: "Thou hast subjected all things under his feet," (Psalm 8: 8). Then he specifies what he means by all things; and first he mentions Christ's ministers, who are appointed by God in minister to the faithful: "For we preach not ourselves, but Jesus Christ, our Lord: and ourselves, your servants, through Jesus." (2 Corinthians 4: 5), which is what he says: whether Paul, who planted, or Apollos, who watered, or Cephas, (i.e., Peter, who is the universal shepherd of Christ's sheep) as stated in John (c. 21). After these he mentions external things when he says: or the world, which contains all creatures and belongs to Christ's faithful, inasmuch as a person is helped by the things of this world to fulfill his bodily needs and to attain to a knowledge of God: "For by the greatness of the beauty, and of the creature, the creator of them may be seen, so as to be known thereby." (Wisdom 13: 5).

    Then he lists things which pertain to the very disposition of man, saying: or life or death, because life is useful to Christ's faithful as the time for meriting; and so is death, by which they reach their reward: "For whether we live, we live to the Lord: or whether we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live, or whether we die, we are the Lord's." (Romans 14: 8); and "for me to live is Christ and to die is gain" (Philipians 1: 21). Indeed, all good and evil in this world are reduced to these two, because by good things life is preserved and by evil things death is reached. Finally, he lists the things which pertain to man's present or future state, saying: or the present, i.e., things of this life by which we are aided in meriting, or the future, i.e., things reserved for us as a reward: "For we have not here a permanent city, but we seek one to come." (Hebrews 13: 14). All are yours, i.e., serve your advantage: "And we know that to them that love God, all things work together unto good," (Romans 8: 28).

    Thus, the first relationship is that of Christ to the faithful, but the second is that of Christ's faithful to Christ. He mentions this when he says: and you are Christ's, because He redeemed us by His death: "For whether we live, we live to the Lord: or whether we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live, or whether we die, we are the Lord's." (Romans 14: 8). The third relationship is that of Christ as man to God; hence he adds: and Christ as man is God's. Hence He is called God and Lord in Psalm 7 (v. 1): "O Lord, my God, in thee have I put my trust;" where the whole Trinity is understood by the name, God. Therefore, because no one should glory in anything below him but in what is above him, the faithful of Christ should not glory in His ministers, but rather the ministers in them: "Great is my confidence with you, great is my glorying for you. I am filled with comfort, I exceedingly abound with joy in all our tribulation." (2 Corinthians 7: 4). But Christ's faithful should glory in Christ: "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ:" (Galatians 6: 14), as Christ glories in the Father: "We are esteemed by him as triflers, and he abstaineth from our ways as from filthiness, and he preferreth the latter end of the just, and glorieth that he hath God for his father." (Wisdom 2: 16).

    In completing this third chapter of 1 Corinthians, we have from the 1859 edition of the Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary the following note on the doctrine of Purgatory, which has been the focus of Chapter 3 of St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians.

    [1] Ver. 15. In the Council of Florence, which began at Ferrara an. [in the year] 1438. The Greeks at the very first declared they admitted a third place, where souls were punished for a time, which they called a place of darkness and sorrow. See Labb. tom. xiii. Con. p. 20. Græci fatentur pænam temporaneam, quod peccatis obnoxiorum animæ in locum abeunt tenebricosum, in locum mæroris, in quo, ad tempus, versantur in moerore & pænis, eis topon skoteinon, kai topon lupes, kai lupountai merikos. --- Again, Hæc est inter eos differentia: Græci poenam, mærorem, & poenæ locum asserunt, Itali pænam, purgationemque per ignem. See again p. 491. Sess. 25. where the Greeks say of such souls, that they are in a middle state, medias autem esse in loco tormentorum, sed sive ignis sit, sive caligo, sive turbo, sive quid aliud, non contendimus. See also the definition of the Council, p. 515., where it is only defined, eorum animas poenis purgatoriis post mortem purgari, & ut a poenis hujusmodi releventur, prodesse vivorum suffragia, which was the doctrine both of the Greek and Latin Church. See on this place of St. Paul, Bellarmine, lib. i. de Purgatorio, chap. 5; Salmeron disp. 6. in lib. ad Corint.; Estius; a Lapide; etc.

    This concludes Chapter Three as we now have scriptural proof to provide Protestants of the existence of Purgatory and its purpose and why one must be fully purified before one can enter into the presence of the Beatific Vision. In order to accomplish this we need to heed the teachings of Christ and His holy Church and if we hear a gospel other than what has been handed down as Paul emphasizes in 1 Galatians 8: "let him be anathema." So also we see today as we approach the 50th anniversary of the opening of that wretched venue known as Vatican II, that if we are foolish and choose the world - as John XXIII did with his aggiornamento direction - we can be assured we will be lucifer's fools, for the true "fool" for Christ chooses to follow Christ without compromise. For when we compromise with Christ and the true Faith we compromise with our eternity.

John Gregory

For the first two parts of this series, see

For the past completed series on "The Sermon on the Mount" see:

        "Catholics who remain faithful to Tradition, even if they are reduced to but a handful, they are THE TRUE CHURCH"
        Saint Athanasius, "Apostle of Tradition" AD 373

Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Volume 23, number 242