Upon learning of my Catholic aunt’s unexpected passing, I can only hope that she called on Jesus on her last dying breath. The bible tells us whoever calls on the name of Jesus shall be saved. Also, it is too late for me to pray for where she is going because the bible clearly states, “And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment,” in Hebrews 9:27. Once a person dies, their fate is sealed and no more intercession for the dead can be made. Catholics happen to believe they can pray for dead loved ones so that their stay in purgatory may be shortened.
Some “catechetically informed” Catholics assert that purgatory has Old Testament Apocryphal origins, but there is a reason why the Apocrypha has been omitted in the Evangelical bibles and that is because some books in it, specifically the book of Maccabees contain passages that supposedly allude to the existence of Purgatory, which does not line up to Jesus’ own teachings that there are only 2 eternal destinations. The illustration Jesus gave about Lazarus and the rich man found in Luke 16:19-31 clearly depicts the plight of a person once they die. The rich man went straight to hades and Lazarus to heaven. There was no mention of a place called purgatory.
No one goes to a holding place because if you believe that, you would have called Jesus a liar when He himself told the criminal who was crucified next to him who repented that when he died, he will be with Him in paradise. Jesus did not tell that repentant criminal that he would first need to go to purgatory to get purged, since Jesus’ death on the cross would already cleanse the repentant man from his impurities. So that means after a person dies, they go to their ultimate destination, above or below. Either you believe what Jesus- God in the flesh said, or you believe someone else who made up the idea of purgatory. You weigh in your heart whom you choose to believe.
As Post Jesus era believers, our sins are already atoned and dealt with when He died once and for all. What a person has to do though is realize their depravity and acknowledge that no amount of good work he/she does will ever be enough to wipe the stain of sin. This is the very reason He came. It sounds simple but actually very hard to swallow.
As “unconstructive” and critical as I sound to any Catholic out there (sadly, 99% of my family), being that I was under this deceptive system for some time, I feel passionate to “snatch others from the fire” as referenced in the book of Jude. I do feel for some who accept their faith blindly without even questioning or without being able to explain in detail the basis of their faith but simply because that was what they were born into. I’m not just talking about Catholicism here, but ultimately, a person will have to come to a pivotal point where he/she has to deliberately choose what to believe apart from what their parents brought them up in, or to even decide to stay in it.
Lined up with Scripture, Catholicism is full of heresy. Only the Holy Spirit can remove the scales and the grip of false doctrine since even after I gave my life to Christ in 2001, I still lingered in the Catholic Church until I cut ties in 2004 when I started attending a church that adhered to Sola Scriptura.
[Image Credits: Thanks to the OP @ hitwallpaper.com]