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Purgatory is an intermediate place for the souls of dead people who were too sinful to go straight to Heaven but do not deserve Hell either.

Roman Catholics[edit]

Roman Catholics believe that those guilty of minor sins need purification before they become fit to be with God in Heaven and this purification involves severe torture for a finite period. The Bible does not mention Purgatory but Roman Catholics interpret some passages as referring to it.

If the work which any man has built on the foundation [which is Christ] survives, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire" (1 Cor 3: 14-15). [1]

There is a similar problem as with the Problem of Hell as to why a loving God cannot purify sinners without inflicting extreme suffering. Roman Catholics pray for the souls of departed loved-ones, they also pay priests to say mass and ease the souls of deceased loved ones through Purgatory.


Most Protestants do not believe in Purgatory and some have no clear idea what happens to those guilty of small sins, see small sins and hell.